“Vitamin C blunts the effects of cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands,” says Blum. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C is 75 mg (much lower than the amounts used in most stress-related research!) so it’s still a good idea to speak to your doctor or nutritionist before starting a supplement.
FYI Humans can’t store vitamin C in the body (it’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means that any excess your body doesn’t use is excreted), so we have to get it orally through supplements and vitamin C-rich fruits (like oranges and strawberries) and vegetables (such as broccoli) on a daily basis, says Blum.
One to try NatureMade Vitamin C Liquid Softgel 500 mg, $10
For Crystal Vision
Try B-Complex Vitamins.
Why To keep your eyesight strong, B vitamins might be the answer. A study from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital randomly assigned over 5,000 women with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or at least three risk factors to take either a combination of folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 or a placebo. After seven years, those who took the B combo significantly reduced their risk of macular degeneration (a retina disease that causes blurred vision and can lead to blindness).
FYI If you’re already low in these water-soluble vitamins (found in food sources like dark green leafy vegetables and animal protein), more energy might be an added bonus of supplements. “The B vitamins are very important for energy production and a deficiency can result in fatigue and less stamina,” says Rakel.
For Clear Thinking
Try Vitamin D
Why Low levels might affect your brain functioning; another reason to take your D. A study of over 5,500 French women found that inadequate weekly intakes (less than 35 mcg or 1400 IU) were associated with cognitive impairment, and lower scores on mental tests. Although researchers didn't prove a cause and effect relationship between vitamin D intake and increased cognition, it's something to keep in mind (no pun intended!).
FYI You can get your D levels checked with a quick blood test at your doc's office, and then discuss with your health care professional how much you should supplement. “Vitamin D is, across the board, the most common vitamin people are lacking,” says Kirkpatrick.
One to try NatureMade Vitamin D 1000 I.U, $11
If you find the supplement aisle completely overwhelming (so many different brands, labels and claims!), you’re not alone. Although the supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar business, it's not held up to the same rigorous clinical study testing required for pharmaceutical meds to hit the market. This means that sometimes a supplement might not actually contain what it says or live up to the claims on the label.
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