Many of us turn to health supplements or vitamins in hopes that they’ll provide us with the adequate nutritional value that we require daily. It’s easy, really. Pop a pill and you’ll get all the vitamins A-Z in your body.

But are health supplements and vitamins really as effective as they claim to be? Are there any side effects or will you become reliant on them for time to come?


Yes, and No.

Health supplements are effective and there’s no doubt in that. But they are only effective if taken in adequate amounts and for the vitamins and minerals that you can’t sufficiently get from food. A lack of adequate nutrition can also ripple in effects such as fatigue and allergies, and depression in serious cases.

Hence, supplements should be filling in the insufficient nutritional intake that food is not able to provide, instead of a replacement. It is also important to know that stacking on multivitamins are essentially ineffective and can actually be counter-effective if you over-consume.

woman cutting vegetables for a healthy lunch after exercising
Image credit: Nathan Cowley | Pexels

Before you start on supplements, ensure that you are on a balanced and nutritious diet that doesn’t include excessive intake of calories, sugars, fats and sodium. Cheat days are still a thing but just make sure to do them adequately!

TL;DR: take the essential supplements in sufficient amount

Vitamin D

Most of us would know that this particular vitamin comes from exposure to sunlight. But getting sunburned is not the best thing to happen to your skin. Besides, if you’re like me and spend your time tied to a desk that sees daylight for less than an hour a day, then you’ll want to stock up on Vitamin Ds.

Benefits

  • Protect against Type 1 Diabetes by regulating insulin levels
  • Promote healthy bones
  • Support the health of the immune, brain and nervous systems
  • Support lung and cardiovascular health
  • Influence genes expression in cancer development

Best Vitamin D supplement: Blackmores Vitamin D3 1000 IU – RM59.50 (U.P. RM70.00)

Effective at boosting calcium and phosphate absorption, the Blackmores Vitamin D3 helps in the development of bone and muscle strength – especially for the elderly.

 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting which is important when you suffer from cuts and injuries. There are some of us out there with a vitamin K deficiency which makes blood clotting tough. Hence, the Vitamin K supples are here to help reduce the clotting time and help your wound heal faster.

However, if you’re on blood-thinning medication or if you’re intending to start on vitamin K supplements, you should consult a doctor first as complications may arise when you intake antibiotics and other drugs together with vitamin K. Hence, it is always wise to consult with a professional first before you start on anything new!

Benefits

  • Improve bone and cardiovascular health
  • Improve memory abilities
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduces the risk of stroke

Best Vitamin K supplement: Life Extension Vitamin D and K with Sea-Iodine – RM76.89

Image credit: iHerb

The Life Extension supplement essentially packs it all you need into one. With vitamins D and K, and coupled with sea-iodine, this will help to support your body’s cognitive function and also inhibit calcium buildup in the arteries. Furthermore, it also counteracts possible iodine-deficiency that you might not be aware of.

 

Omega-3 EPA + DHA

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in fighting cardiovascular heart diseases – especially heart attacks. Typically found in fishes, this kind of vitamin is suitable for those who do not have fish in their diet intake regularly. The EPA refers to eicosapentaenoic acid and can be converted to DHA, which is docosahexaenoic acid – the most important omega-3 to have. Both are found in fatty fish and fish oil which makes regular intake key to obtaining the benefits listed below.

Benefits

  • Improve brain and retina health.
  • Relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Prevent depression and anxiety
  • Reduce severity of chronic inflammation diseases
  • Reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome such as obesity, high blood pressure and more

To avoid:

  • Taking together with medicine that affects blood clotting
  • If you are allergic to fish or shellfish

Best Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplement: Aspen Nutrition Omega-3 – RM76.98 for 3 (U.P. RM102.64)

Image credit: Watsons

A concentrated capsule of Omega-3 fatty acids, the Aspen Nutrition Omega-3 capsules are jam-packed with EPA and DHA to keep blood triglyceride levels in check.

 

Zinc 

While zinc can help to improve bone health which vitamin D can also do, it instead plays a stronger role in keeping your immune system going. Technically, zinc is present in nuts, whole grains, chocolate (chocolate-lovers rejoice!) and many other food sources. But if you’d just like to ensure that you have the right amount of zinc in your system, then head for a bottle of this zinc supplement from Watsons!

Benefits

  • Regulating function of immune system
  • Improve learning ability and memory
  • Treat common cold
  • Improve body’s ability for wound healing
  • Reduce risk of age-related chronic diseases

Best Zinc supplement: Surbex Zinc 60’s – RM71.98

Image credit: Watsons

The Surbex Zinc supplement is said to have the zinc contents of 8 oysters in a single tablet. If you’re like me and don’t eat oysters and shellfish in general, the Surbex Zinc supplement will be the best way to build on the necessary zinc intake you need.


That rounds up just about all that you need about health supplements and the benefits or side effects that they bring. Essentially, the key to a healthy body is still a healthy lifestyle – which includes regular exercise and a balanced and nutritious diet. There’s really no point in piling up on supplements if you’re not starting out on the right foot.

On that note, here are some other meaningful reads for you to get started on a healthier lifestyle: