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Vitamins and Supplements

I Cleaned Out My Supplement Shelf and These Are the Only 5 I’m Keeping

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It was only two years ago when I took my first ever supplement (after I realized I'd never actually taken one before). I was 23 y'all, don't judge.

Fast forward to today, and my medicine cabinet was literally overflowing with vitamins. My job has definitely given me a helpful push to actually start thinking about my overall well-being—but that push had manifested into my not being able to shut my cabinet without bottles tumbling out.

I'm not sure if minimalism is part of growing up or if my apartment is simply too small for excess anything, but it wasn't until basically now that I decided to pause, reflect, and cut down to the essentials. So I had to ask: What essential supplements should make the cut?

To find out, I turned to Solgar's long line of science-backed, rigorously tested supplements (they're the ones with the gold label on the top shelf at like every specialty health food and vitamin store). They've got top-shelf status for a reason: The amber bottle helps protect the quality of the thoughtfully sourced ingredients inside. Plus, they're recyclable and made from 50 percent cullet (aka, broken or waste glass).

From there, I chatted with registered dietitians Nina Dahan and Danielle LaFata to help me understand which MVPs deserve a permanent address in Alex's Tiny Medicine Cabinet.

Keep scrolling for the 5 essential supplements that made the cut in my medicine cabinet.

Vitamin D

As an immune system supporter, vitamin D is a solid contender. It's often called the "sunshine vitamin," which is why I opted to stock up on it heading into winter.

Supplementation may be especially important during the winter months when our exposure to sunlight is limited, Dahan says. And, vitamin D is also a key vitamin for supporting healthy immune function (since it's part of the metabolic pathway your body uses to make proteins that are involved in your immune response, she says), which is important year-round.

That's good news, because I'm now taking  Solgar Vitamin D3 Softgels, and I know this former weekly beach-goer could always use more vitamin D with these chilly, 5 p.m. sunsets.

Zinc

According to LaFata, zinc is involved in over 300 reactions in the human body. (And I thought I was dramatic.) One of those reactions is acting as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals. This is important because free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, she explains, and oxidative stress can lead to the premature aging of cells.*

So, by supplementing with it (like I've started doing daily) it'll help fight free radicals and oxidative stress, according to LaFata.* I'm all for making smart moves now so future Alex doesn't have to, so here's to zinc for making the cut.

Ester-C

To round out my immune-supporting game-plan, I figured vitamin C would be in my best interest.* And as someone who'd rather stay dehydrated than drink more than one glass of OJ, a supplement is a must to incorporate into my daily wellness routine.

According to LaFata, vitamin C stimulates the production, function, and movement of white blood cells, which is imperative in keeping your immune system supported.* I opted for Solgar Ester-C® Plus, which packs 500 milligrams per serving and helps positively affect the retention of vitamin C in white blood cells.*

Hyaluronic Acid

I've heard fellow editors and friends rave about hyaluronic acid for supporting healthy aging skin, so it'd make sense to implement it into my well-rounded essential supplements routine (especially since my skin-care routine is better off as simplified as possible).* It deeply hydrates the skin, which is a downright must for my always-flaky-in-the-winter complexion.*

Melatonin

This was kind of a no-brainer for me. With the amount of uncertainty that's been circling around my head for the past, well, year, my sleep hasn't been always great. LaFata agrees with my decision to add melatonin to my lineup.

"Melatonin helps to regulate our circadian rhythm or our sleep-wake cycles which helps us to be tired when it’s dark and wake up and feel refreshed with the sun," she says. Now I make sure to keep Solgar Triple Action Sleep Tri-Layer Tablets in my bedside table to take 30 minutes before escaping into my subconscious for a restful night of sleep, especially when I deal with occasional bouts of sleeplessness.

With that, my medicine cabinet finally feels less chaotic. Not only that, but I've finally developed a routine with ingredients my body needs for the months to come—rather than randomly sticking my hand in and coming out with whatever random bottle I landed on.  So, here's to accidentally becoming a health-minded minimalist.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Photo: Stocksy/Ali Lanenga

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