The expansive world of dietary supplements can be…overwhelming, to say the least. Broadly speaking, as humans we all have similar general needs for nutrition, sleep, and exercise, but an individual's supplement regimen is 100% tailored to their unique health concerns and needs.
The personalized nature of supplementation is what makes it such an incredible tool for optimizing well-being! And with the right guidance and science-backed information, it doesn't have to be so complicated and confusing.
At mindbodygreen, we're committed to not only offering high-quality, innovative supplements that meet specific health needs but breaking down the complexity of this notoriously complex industry as well.
In this article, we hope to provide you with a little more insight into how you might benefit from a new supplement yourself. (Plus, a quiz to help you narrow down what vitamins you should take to meet your personal health goals!)
Do you need supplements?
There are a lot of supplement haters out there, many of whom have a preconceived notion that people who take supplements have been "tricked" into thinking they're taking a magic pill that will solve all their health problems.
Take nootropics, for example: This category of supplements includes botanicals, neuronutrients, and bioactives that specifically enhance different aspects of your cognitive health. Naysayers believe nootropics are marketed as "smart pills" that will help you ace a test or magically become the smartest person in the room.
But lots of nutrients that are a regular part of our diet (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins) qualify as nootropics because they support specific actions that promote healthy cognitive function.* Others (like the botanical kanna, for example), aren't a part of our normal diet but can help support comprehensive brain function.
Case in point: Nootropics (or any supplements, for that matter) aren't a magic pill, but they certainly can promote a vibrant and healthy life in targeted and evidence-based ways.
Beyond setting the standard for thriving in your health and well-being (rather than just surviving), there are a few specific groups that may need extra nutritional support in the form of supplements, including:
- Plant-based individuals
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Individuals with specific food sensitivities
- Individuals with health concerns that make it challenging to absorb certain nutrients
- Older adults (because certain nutrients—such as vitamin C and vitamin D—become more difficult to absorb as we age)
Common nutrient insufficiencies in the U.S.
While the specific demographics listed above may struggle to get enough nutrients from their diet alone, they're certainly not the only individuals that fail to reach nutrient sufficiency on a daily basis. Diet, age, and pregnancy status aside, when it comes to getting adequate essential nutrients, many Americans miss the mark.
Almost one-third of Americans1 are at risk of being deficient in at least one nutrient (and dealing with significant health implications associated with that deficiency), and more than 30% of U.S. adults2 come in below the EAR (estimated average requirement) on eight key nutrients when relying on diet alone:
According to mbg's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, a variety of structures and functions (e.g., bone health, immune system function, vision, etc.) rely on these micronutrients, so missing out on them affects us down to the very cellular level.
Which supplement is ideal for your unique health needs?
Addressing nutrient gaps is important, but the goal is to thrive (not just survive). Depending on your unique health circumstance, there's likely an equally unique supplement that can help address your need.
The point is the supplement market is as specialized and diverse as each human seeking holistic health support. That's why we created this quiz to see what type of supplement might be best to help bolster your whole-body health and enhance your well-being (plus, which mindbodygreen supplement can address your personal health need and help you reach your wellness goals).
Supplements won't solve all of your health problems, but they are a pivotal part of the holistic health equation to optimize your well-being, so that you feel your absolute best each day. With so many nutrient insufficiencies prevalent in the U.S., taking a daily comprehensive multivitamin can be a good place to start.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.