In my last column, I listed what I thought were the Top 5 supplements, based on my experience working for a vitamin company. And here's the list to round out the Top 10.
6—Calcium—The research is all over the place—women over 40 should think about taking daily calcium supplements to help keep our bones healthy. Since I’m in that category I take calcium every morning. Although I’m a big fan of dairy products (probably more than I should be—has anyone seen my Haagen Dazs?) I like the bone insurance that a tablet or two a day of calcium provides me.
7—Magnesium—Calcium works along with magnesium on a bunch of functions in our body. For years I’ve taken calcium on its own, but just recently I added in magnesium and I can really tell a difference. An important mineral with its own list of jobs to do, I take a 400 mg capsule in the mornings along with everything else.
8—Vitamin E—Also an antioxidant, I believe vitamin E to be one of the most important vitamins we can take. I take the 400 IU form of it, usually once a day or every other day. It is fat soluble so we don’t excrete it is readily as water-soluble vitamins like the Bs or C, so I don’t worry if I skip a day.
9—Echinacea—Years ago I was babysitting a little girl whose Mom was from Holland. I felt a cold coming on, and so the Mom suggested I try some of her Echinacea. She put some yellowish liquid drops in some water and gave it to me, and wouldn’t you know it, after a few hours I started to feel better. Echinacea contains a substance that naturally stimulates our immune systems, but from what I’ve read you aren’t supposed to take it all of the time but rather for a couple of weeks at a time. Instead of drops, I like the convenience of capsules or tablets so for about half of the month I’ll take it daily, and then I’ll give myself a break.
10—Chromium Picolinate—This mineral might not be as popular as the biggies like calcium or magnesium, but everything I’ve read about chromium has really impressed me. For example, it may help with sugar cravings as well as enhancing the way insulin works in our bodies. As someone who enjoys her desserts as much as anyone (seriously now, who took my Haagen-Dazs?) I like that this mineral may help keep sugar cravings at bay and help my body process sweets even better.
So there you have it—my own Top 10 list of supplements. If you are considering taking vitamins, in addition to checking with your doctor first I would also suggest reading up on what you want to try. Although anecdotal stories from your friends are interesting and encouraging, I’m also a huge fan of old-fashioned research, which will help you decide for yourself which natural remedies might be helpful for you.