Searching for the right vitamin supplements to give your health a boost? We asked Healthista’s team of experts to tell us which one’s they take and why
When it comes to your health, a balanced nutritious diet filled with a variety of wholesome foods is the best way by far to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
Sometimes though, life gets in the way of eating the perfectly balanced diet – and that’s where supplements might help.
But when scanning the endless rows of what’s available, how do you know which is the right supplement to take?
To help give you a steer (and because we were curious) we asked Healthista’s ‘Collective’ team of health experts to give us an insight into their daily supplement line-up. Here’s exactly what they take and why.
‘I’m a firm believer that a nutritious diet full of wholesome food should cover most of our bases when it comes to getting enough vitamins and minerals’, says Dr Corda.
‘However, that isn’t always possible, and the soil we grow fruit and vegetables from is becoming increasingly depleted in minerals, as well as the fact that there are some vitamins and minerals we practically can’t get enough of in our food, sometimes supplements are necessary. And even more so if you are looking to get pregnant or are pregnant’, says Dr Corda.
Dr Corda further advises, ‘with supplements, it’s important to ensure they don’t contain artificial colours, meat, gluten, dairy, added sugar and artificial flavours’.
‘The below are all vegan and free from the above, therefore minimising toxin exposure in the body, one of the main principles of health I advocate and which also helps with maximum absorption of supplements, leading them to have the optimal effect they are designed to have’, says Dr Corda.
#1 Vitamin C
‘The main supplement I use is the Altrient Vitamin C (1000mg) that comes in a liquid form within a sachet’. It’s the most powerful and absorbable version of the Vitamin’, says Dr Corda. The reason for this is because ‘it comes encapsulated in a phospholipid bubble that means it can be absorbed into cells without being destroyed by the digestive system’, explains Dr Corda.
‘All of us are Vitamin C deficient and this is the main antioxidant our bodies have to neutralise oxidative stress, that leads to inflammation and disease’, Dr Corda continues.
‘It’s also important for the immune system, as well as collagen formation, improves concentration and energy and leads to better skin elasticity’, asserts Dr Corda.
‘I also take Altrient Gluthathione (450mg) (Available at Amazon £79.99), which is a detoxifier and helps to recycle Vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants that help to prevent free radical damage’, say Dr Corda.
‘It also helps the liver to detox, especially when it comes to excess hormones such as oestrogen, that when in dominance, can have negative effects on our bodies, leading to gynaecological disease and subfertility (a delay in conceiving)’, explains Dr Corda.
#3 Methylfolate (most active form of Folate)
Dr Corda continues, ‘Vitamin B is important in energy production as well as reducing the risk of neural tube defects in the baby’. ‘Most supplements have folic acid, but not everyone can absorb this effectively, which is why I prefer methylfolate for myself and all my patients, and this is something that the Altrient version (Available at Amazon) contains, as well as zinc and selenium which are important for fertility’, states Dr Corda.
‘Mitochondria are the main sources of energy in our cells. They are also gaining an increasingly important role in understanding ageing and possibly also fertility’, says Dr Corda.
‘Carnitine is an amino acid that helps in improving mitochondrial function and works even more effectively when combined with Vitamin C. I take the 1000mg Altrient (Available at Amazon £59.97), elicits Dr Corda.
‘Magnesium is something most of us are deficient in. It helps to stabilise the nervous system and is great for premenstrual tension and reducing our response to stress. It also regulates calcium transport as well’, states Dr Corda.
‘I take the Altrient version 1000mg (Available at Evolution Organics £71.99), again because of it’s bioavailability and superior absorption’, claims Dr Corda.
#6 Vitamin D
‘This brings me on to Vitamin D. Not only important for our bone health, but increasing studies are finding that Vitamin D has a role in fertility and pregnancy’. ‘ Most of us don’t get enough of it, especially in the Winter months, so taking a supplement in a high dose, 1000 units a day, such as the one from BetterYou Vitamin D spray (Available at Boots £8.50), suggests Dr Corda.
First of all, ‘My go-to brand for all supplements is Solgar- great quality and not too horribly expensive’, says Meggeson.
‘Besides my main vitamins (listed below) I also take Vitamin D (Available from Amazon £8.39) and We Support Monthly Cycle (Available from Amazon £8.35)‘.
‘For an extra health boost I sprinkle Linwoods Milled Flaxseed With Bio Cultures & Vitamin D onto my porridge!’, adds Meggeson.
With the current outbreak of coronavirus ‘I’m not worried about it, as I feel I’m healthy already. Not in small part due to my diet and all those supplements I already take!’ says Meggeson.
#1 Solgar Evening Primrose Oil
‘I take two capsules of Solgar 1300mg Evening Primrose Oil (Available from Amazon £9.99) every day (and have been doing so for about three months)’, says Meggeson. ‘It’s super-hydrating for skin and also has a balancing effect on hormones, which is useful when you’re in your forties!’, advises Meggeson.
#2 Biotin, B12 and Silica
Meggeson has also been recommended 5HTP by a friend which gently improves mood and sleep. ‘So I’ve got a bottle of that lined up too’, says Meggeson. Her friend advised that ‘400mg/day helped her shake off low-level anxiety’.
Besides the list of supplements below, Rick also takes ‘A Floradix Herbal Iron Formula (Available at Boots £11.50), and on occasion take mushroom blends (available from Revital £50) as well to help boost immunity’, adds Hay.
‘Also a Sunwarrior Vegan Protein (Available at Amazon £36.27)‘, says Hay.
Rick has also topped up on his immune health especially with the current outbreak of coronavirus.
‘I have increased my intake of Vitamin C and I also like to have some extra herbal support so I’m taking some Olive Leaf Extract (Available from Amazon £10.53) for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral activity- I’m taking two of these per day’, says Hay.
Notice a difference in your health? ‘I’ve been on the regime for years and yes I notice that they give me energy, help with sleep and mood and also help with skin health and digestive function’, says Hay.
#1 Multivitamins & Vitamin C
‘I’m a vegan so I make sure I take a multivitamin that contains B12’, says Hay. ‘I also take Vitamin C to help with collagen production and immune function’, Hay continues.
Rick has a couple of multivitamin supplements which he rotates around each month. This is what he recommends:
Vitamin C supplements Rick recommends: Garden of Life Organic Vitamin C Spray (Available at Amazon £13.79) and Pure Radiance Vitamin C Capsules (Available at Nutrimarket £34.89).
‘I’m a big fan of Spirulina and I take this as it’s like a natural multivitamin mineral formula as nature intended’, asserts Hay.
#3 Algal Oil & Magnesium
‘I take algal oil to get my good fatty acids to help with skin etc’, says Hay. ‘Herbally, I take ashwagandha to help with mood as well as St John’s Wort’. ‘I’m also a big fan of magnesium for this reason too’, adds Hay.
‘I also take probiotics and Solgar Vegan Digestive Enzymes (Available at Amazon £8.99) to help with all important gut function’. ‘Other than that I take various plant based proteins to help with lean muscle development as I exercise quite regularly’, says Hay.
Beside the supplements below, Dr McKee has also topped up on her immune health.
With the current outbreak of coronavirus, ‘I take a homeopathic blend and Viridian Vitamin Ester-C 950mg (Available from Amazon £35.99)‘, says McKee.
#1 Vitamin D
Dr McKee has been taking a Better You Vegan Vitamin D spray (Available in Boots £15) for five years.
‘Vitamin D because we are all deficient as we don’t get near enough sunlight here in the UK’. 100% agree with that one doctor.
She explains that ‘studies show you need need to be in the sun daily (around 11-3pm) with your forearms, hands and/or legs uncovered without suncream from late March to end of September to get enough through light exposure!’
Dr McKee has been taking Renew Life Probiotics 50 billion (Available at Amazon £27.99) for 5 years.
She also takes probiotics ‘to help with digestive health and immunity’. And magnesium ‘as I suffer from a joint condition and experience joint pain- it’s also helpful for so many other things from headaches to anxiety to sleep’, asserts Dr McKee.
Notice any difference? ‘The Vitamin D and the probiotics have certainly reduced my susceptibility to colds and minor infections’, says Dr McKee.
#3 Vitamin C and melatonin (for travel and sleep)
‘I also take Vitamin C and melatonin. When I travel I find Vitamin C helps with my energy levels and melatonin with sleep regulation after long haul flights’, says Dr McKee.
She takes 2.5mg melatonin tablets ‘just for the first two-three nights post flight’, says Dr McKee.
#4 Magnesium and CBD
Dr McKee has been taking Better You CBD Oral Spray (Available at Boots £30) for one month and magnesium citrate for six.
‘CBD is a new one for me and I’m still not completely convinced by the evidence base, however, again it is reported to help with inflammation/joint pain’, says Dr McKee.
‘Magnesium and CBD I feel are contributing to my sleep quality and reduction in headaches however I haven’t been taking them long enough to say this for sure.
‘The reason I have never regularly taken supplements before is because I always try and get vitamins through food, sun and natural sources but I am aware that sometimes we need a little boost to feel our most balanced- so willing to give them a try-particularly in the winter months’, asserts Hirst.
Notice any difference? ‘I am feeling pretty good at the moment and my skin is less dry despite the cold weather but apparently it’s after 3 months that you start noticing the real difference’, says Hirst. ‘I certainly feel that Vitamin C is vital to keep winter colds away and Vitamin D when there is little sunshine’.
#1 LUMITY supplements
‘I don’t usually take supplements but have recently been trying the ‘LUMITY’ supplements (Available at Amazon £75) which was gifted by a friend and are supposed to be brilliant for improving your skin and bringing a natural glow’, says Hirst.
‘I’ve only been taking them for a month and they consist of a mixture of vitamins from Vitamin A, D3, E and C, Magnesium, zinc plus many more ingredients’, says Hirst.
‘As an athlete I used to get sick twice a year, every year. I get ill because my immune system is compromised every time when I train really hard, and I didn’t believe in supplements (something which came from my mum), just a silly comment and you listen to it and so I didn’t really develop my own thoughts on it’, says Lindsay.
‘Then the nutritionist was trying to get me on supplements for ages and in the end I said yes, and so I was religiously taking them for one year’.
‘I take a magnesium, zinc, multivitamin, fish oil and proflavanol (grape seed extract)’. ‘And that was the first year in 17 years that I didn’t get sick, so I don’t think that was just a coincidence, I was training just as hard leading up to the Olympics’, says Lindsay. So that’s one example.
‘And also another time I really noticed a difference was from giving up coffee, so i think maybe supporting the detoxification process’, continues Lindsay.
‘So if you drink a lot or eat a lot of sugar or processed foods, and for me it was coffee. The first time I gave up coffee I literally had a headache for a week (e.g. room spinning, dizziness, nauseous), felt absolutely dreadful but I was only having two coffees a day then but I just felt really really bad and then I started drinking coffee again eventually’, says Lindsay.
‘But then last year I did the same thing, I thought do you know what I only have two a day let me have three a day and then decided to give it up for a month and I took all my supplements and I had no side effects whatsoever and I was actually drinking more coffee than I was before. So again I don’t think it was a coincidence that I didn’t have any side effects this time round’, asserts Lindsay.
‘I also usually use capsule form as it travels better and doesn’t turn/go off although liquid is often more easily absorbed’, says Lindsay.
Some people are generally more inclined to taking liquid as they find it more comfortable rather than ingesting lots of pills- so it really depends on your own preference.
#1 ROAR supplements
‘I take our ROAR brand for most things which contains Vitamin C- we spent a long time creating a brilliant product which I am very proud of and provide something for people that is easy to get hold of but quality’, says Lindsay.
‘I take fish oil, magnesium, zinc, multivitamins, D3 and ashwagandha’, says Lindsay. ‘I also take a protein shake post workout’.
‘I also like Solgar as a backup as you can easily pick them up from most health shops’, adds Lindsay.
She takes Vitamin D 2500iu from her ROAR brand. Regarding Vitamin C, Lindsay doesn’t take it unless she is sick but her multivitamin already contains Vitamin C anyway which is a plus. But she advises to ‘look for a high elemental level (ours is 46mg)’.
‘I have found that by being consistent with supplements has meant that I don’t get sick as often’, says Lindsay.
‘My ability to recover and keep training hard has definitely improved. My sleep has improved with magnesium. If I want to give up coffee for a while then it also stops me getting the headaches and brain fog’, asserts Lindsay.
‘I have been taking a vitamin B12 supplement for about three years, and VEG1 for a few months’. ‘I can’t say that this supplement has made me feel any better though! For me it’s plants for the win!’, exclaims Dr Newman.
With the current outbreak of coronavirus Dr Newman says, ‘I am eating more mushrooms, greens and citrus fruits, and I love mushroom powder blends to add to my morning smoothie’.
With regards to liquid-filled capsules and tablet forms, Dr Newman suggests taking a liquid-filled capsule as it tends to be absorbed into the bloodstream quicker than tablet pills. ‘This is because the body needs nutrients to be suspended in some form of a liquid before it can begin breaking them down and using them’, explains Dr Newman.
‘When a capsule is already in liquid form, all the body has to do is break down the coating surrounding the liquid and then it can absorb the contents’. ‘Tablet pills will have to be broken down completely first, which can take longer’, Dr Newman further explains.
‘On average, a liquid filled capsule may be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream in only a few minutes while it can take 20-30 minutes for a tablet pill to be absorbed. For this reason, liquid-filled capsules are generally faster acting’, asserts Dr Newman.
‘I’m taking the VEG1 supplement made by The Vegan Society‘, sats Dr Newman.
‘I chose VEG1 because it was formulated by dieticians and is very reasonably priced, because it is created by a charity which I would like to support’.
‘I feel strongly that we should get the vast majority of our nutrients from foods, and I advocate a wholefood plant-based approach to ensure a wide variety of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals’, asserts Dr Newman.
#2 Vitamin B12
‘However, I recognise the importance of B12 supplementation for those who eat a plant-based diet- or indeed anyone with potential for reduced absorption of those vitamins including those on medications or over the age of 50’, says Dr Newman.
‘The vast majority of people who are B12 deficient are in fact meat eaters. Handily, VEG1 also contains Vitamin D, iodine, selenium and folic acid’, Dr Newman adds.
#3 EPA/DHA supplement
‘I also take an algae based EPA/DHA supplement to ensure I get some ready-made long chain omega three fatty acids’, says Dr Newman. ‘
‘Although these can be obtained through flaxseeds, Chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts, I like to get my omega threes from the same source as fish do, without eating the liver or muscle of the fish’, says Dr Newman.
‘That way I avoid also taking in heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs or microplastics’, explains Dr Newman. ‘Also, although fish can be a health food I realised recently that 90% of fish stocks are depleted and the biggest source of ocean plastic is in fact discarded fishing nets’, says Dr Newman. ‘So I was happy to make a choice that would give a boost for my health and the planet!’.
It’s all about the Vitamin D.
Burrell takes the BetterYou Vitamin D 3000iu (75ug) spray (Available at Boots £8.50) and has been taking this particular supplement for six years.
‘I work in a clinic indoors and so I don’t get much natural sunlight PLUS we live in the UK so sunshine is unfortunately limited’ says Burrell. Summer when will you come, if we’re lucky to bathe in any?
‘Taking the spray means I can keep my vitamin D levels up which is so important for bone health, mental health and recovery after injury’, says Burrell. ‘I had hip surgery about 4 weeks ago and so it’s even more important at the moment!’, declares Burrell.
How does it help her? ‘I recover from injury well and as I get older this will definitely help with my bone health and hopefully prevent the common none problem osteoporosis (thinning of the bone)’.
‘As a physiotherapist, I recommend Vitamin D spray generally as part of a healthy lifestyle’, advises Burrell.
#1 Liposomal Vitamin C
‘I take a liposomal form of Vitamin C (from Altrient or Your Zooki), which is absorbed much more effectively than other sorts, for skin support and general health, particularly helpful for immune system too’, says Alice.
‘I’ve been taking this for a couple of years, since being put through a trial which measured how much this supplement boosted the hydration levels, elasticity and density (with new collagen) in my skin”, says Alice.
Notice any difference? ‘I don’t notice the difference it makes any more, but then I’m not planning to stop taking it to see what changes’, asserts Alice.
#2 Vitamin D
‘I take Better You Vitamin D 3000iu (Available at Boots £8.50), because like many people my levels are usually low. I’ve been taking it for many years and no I don’t notice a difference, except in the blood test results’, says Alice.
#3 Vitamin B12
‘I had been taking vitamin B12 on the advice of one nutritionist, but a subsequent blood test showed that my levels of this were unhelpfully high, so I’ve stopped’, says Alice.
Notice any difference? ‘I hadn’t noticed any difference with this either – I find what makes a more fundamental difference to how I feel than vitamins is how much sleep I get and how much stress I’ve got going on. More sleep and less stress, plus healthy food and a bit of exercise, and I’m ok’, says Alice.
‘My list is so long, I take ALOT of pills’, says Dormon.
‘I take Pukka Ashwagandha (Available at Boots £16.95) and I take two of those everyday’, says Dormon. ‘I’ve been taking these for about three years now,and I take it for hormone balancing,calming anxiety and stress’. Why is this you ask? ‘Because I’m always busy, running around, pretty much always stressed, so it basically protects the adrenal glands and the body from the negative effects stress has’, states Dormon.
‘So I take it for my hair, for my skin, hormones, it’s basically a sort of wonder herb, for anyone who has a reasonably stressful lifestyle, it’s the ultimate go-to’, says Dormon.
Notice any differences? ‘I definitely notice a difference when I come off it’. ‘I’m edgy, my body can’t cope with the level of stress it’s going through’, Dormon explains.
‘I take magnesium everyday, for hormones, because we’re deficient in magnesium it’s a good one to take on a regular basis’, says Dormon.
‘I’ve been taking various different magnesium ones for 10 years’, continues Dormon.
‘Strength varies depending on what my diets like, if I’m stressed or not been sleeping. I take that always before bed at night’, says Dormon.
‘I also bathe in Better You magnesium flakes‘, says Dormon.
‘My third one is turmeric which I take everyday, two capsules of Pukka Wholistic Turmeric (Available at Boots £30). ‘I’ve been taking that for four years now’.
What’s the benefits for you? ‘For help of period pain. I’ve got endometriosis, so it really helps to reduce the inflammation and pain I get with endometriosis’, says Dormon.
‘I find my periods are better, I don’t get near enough any of the problems I used to get before’, continues Dormon.
‘It also helps me with pigmentation too as I don’t get much now, and for me if I was going on a desert island, I’d say definitely turmeric would be my alternative’, asserts Dormon.
‘It’s also good for muscles and I don’t get much inflammation’, says Dormon.
‘I have been taking two of these frequently and find it helps with fertility, libido and with keeping your vagina happy’, says Dormon.
‘It’s like a really good herbal tonic for women’. ‘And I found that my periods are regular and my hormones are working, helps with weight, basically everything a women needs to look out for’, says Dormon.
‘I’ve been taking it for four years and my periods have been regular every month ever since and come at the same time and last for the same amount of time’. ‘I also don’t get breakouts or any tenderness in my boobs’, explains Dormon.
‘It even helps with sex, I don’t get any pain’,claims Dormon.
#5 Omega 3
‘And then I take two omega 3 (from Wileys £16.99) everyday to keep my brain functioning and is good for skin but also a good anti inflammatory’, says Dormon.
Notice any difference? ‘I’ve been taking it for years. I notice when I don’t take it my brain is definitely not as happy, says Dormon. ‘I also take it recently for depression as well. It’s very good for moods and cognitive function, keeping your brain happy.
‘I take a Renew Life Probiotics 50 billion or 100 billion (Available at Amazon £27.99), for gut health. I’ve tried lots of other ones but this for me is the best one’, claims Dormon.
‘I’ve just started taking collagen, so I take Skinglo Collagen (Available at Amazon £55), a marine collagen for when I want my skin to have that extra va va voom’. Something which we all want right?
Notice any difference in this short amount of time? ‘I started taking it before my 40th, so around August last year. I take it two weeks on and two weeks off, and then take it again so top up when I can’, says Dormon.
‘My skin retains more moisture, looks more hydrated, I don’t need to keep slabbing on moisturiser, particularly if its dry’, Dormon describes.
‘I find it’s good to take as you get older. Good for my joints too’, says Dormon.
Any other wonderful supplements?
‘I also take Nourkrin (Available at Nourkin) for my hair, for about a year now and notice a difference with hair growth’, says Dormon.
‘Also, QUEST immunebiotics, for when I’m feeling a bit run down or travelling around to boost my immune system. I take it whenever I need it, so not a routine thing’, says Dormon.
‘Another one is Viridian Vitamin Ester-C 950mg (Available from Amazon £35.99) which helps with sleeping when I need it’, asserts Dormon.
‘Another one is Vitamin D which I take all the time. I take different brands and move between the Marilyn Glenville (Available at Amazon £13.77) one- basically whatever I can get my hands onto’, says Dormon.
‘And at the moment I use Pollen CBD, I really like that one. I use it when I’ve got to focus, concentrate or feeling stressed. That’s my fave’, says Dormon.