What Vitamins Do You Take?

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There's been a lot of talk about supplements lately, both good and questionable, rounded out with one ringing endorsement for the genre of pill by LeAnn Rimes in her Top Shelf: “I'm a big vitamin person,” she says. “I take like 20 pills in the morning and 20 at night—fish oil, prenatal vitamins, probiotics, biotin…I have an herbalist I work with who has put me on a bunch of different things. I'm very strict about making sure I take them,”

My routine is nowhere close, but I have been thinking about it a lot over the last week or so. The following ensued:

  • I met a random start-up guy who wants to grow out his short hair and I left this note in his phone— New Chapter Omega 7 Amazon Prime !!
  • I realized that the other one I take regularly, Niacinamide B-3, is also a fairly common anti-aging ingredient in skincare (I take it for acne).
  • I remembered this Sex & The City clip and re-welcomed a little Samantha Jones into my life for one whole minute and 14 seconds.

Other than Omega 7 and B-3, I try to work in multivitamins and calcium, but in general my experience has been a bit limited. I'm terrified of the IV trend, still making up my mind on Viviscal (shark bones...) and will click on any and every story marketed as a guide to vitamins. But what happens from there is that I over-identify with each ailment listed. Yes, sometimes I have trouble falling asleep. Yes, I guess my memory is pretty bad once in a while. Feeling down, yep. Sure, I'd love to prevent varicose veins early. Curing all of the above seems a bit supernatural and would end in a pretty long Duane Reade shopping list, and therefore eventually a lot of necessary vitamin organization á la Katy Perry, so from there usually I bounce and don't bother. Online, it's easy for supplements to read like pipe dreams in little pill capsules...and who knows what's in them. (Rhetorical question, but if you're interested in the actual answer, start with these sites).

'If someone is low or deficient in a mineral or is suffering from some health challenges that require a boost of nutrients, then food is first in line and I'll add in supplements depending on their needs,” says nutritionist McKel Hill. “These can range anywhere from what I would call 'routine' supplements like probiotics, a high-quality fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids, B-complex, or magnesium; to more serious and purposeful supplements... I'm always in communication with my clients' physicians about these changes and continued blood work to track changes along with symptoms and journal logs,”

Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics agrees, writing in her book Skin Cleanse: “You can get every nutrient you need through your food; you just have to actually consume the right things,”

Side effects of supplements can range from digestive issues to changes in blood pressure or interactions with prescription medications or other supplements, says McKel. “Be smart, do your research, and speak with a health professional, like a dietitian or your doctor. No more Googling things, friends,”

Noted—the thing is, you want to know that they work before trying them. Or at least receive a solid referral. And if you do venture online, there are so many vitamins out there that it's hard to know where to start, and reviews are often mixed. And what if you're interested in something new—how do you find that up-and-comer supplement? There is no Viral Top 50 chart for this kind of thing.

For me, so far, it's been through personal recommendations. Omega 7 was suggested by my aesthetician for less-dry eyes and healthier hair. B-3 entered the picture by way of my dermatologist, who thought it would help with acne and the way my skin reacts to sugary foods (eat dessert, break out—like clockwork for me!). There's got to be more out there, so let's talk about what we take and why. Bonus points if its benefits are skin, hair, or otherwise beauty related....because, you know, this is Into The Gloss.

—Claire Knebl

Photographed by Tom Newton.