Let me start this post with the following: It is likely best to obtain all of your nutrients from a whole foods, well balanced diet. You should also consult with a health practitioner before taking any supplements that could interact with medications you are taking. That said, there are a couple of things in my medicine cabinet right now that I consider essential supplements.
Magnesium: I have been having some really strange strained muscles/injuries the past few months. Most recently, a nagging hamstring tendinopathy issue. I am going to physio quite regularly for treatment, but I have also been looking at other ideas. After quite a bit of reading, I decided to try magnesium supplements due to the possible link to tendon health. Most adults don't obtain optimal levels of magnesium from their diet, in part due to changes in food processing that strips nutrients and minerals from foods, and the depletion of minerals in soil. Also, if you drink a lot of coffee or other sources of caffeine, you may be depleting your magnesium (WHY is caffeine so bad yet so good?).
I bought the effervescent kind, because who doesn't like a fizzy citrus drink. I do think I am feeling less pain in my hamstring area but that could be due to a) placebo affect or b) reduced inflammation over time.
Zinc: I added zinc to my supplements because I was tired of having ALL the cold viruses ALL the time. I blame this on a few things: being the mommy of a toddler, taking public transit, and having a slightly taxed immunity following long runs.
"In one study, athletes had twice the zinc loss through urine following a 6-mile run compared to when they didn't exercise. When you realize that a small amount of zinc is also lost in sweat, and that many people don't get their RDA to begin with, you see why up to 40 percent of athletes may have below-normal levels of zinc in their blood." (source)I take 100 mg a day right now but it is probably too soon to note any positive effects. I'm pretty sure I might also be getting a cold, but when 6 toddlers hug you at daycare pick-up that might just be par for the course.
I have written before about some of the other supplements I take regularly including omega oil and probiotics. I also have plenty of fortified foods that tend to push my RDI up a bit. Cereals, almond milk and Luna bars for example, have added calcium, iron and Vitamin D.
Do you have a regular supplement that you take for performance/health?
Are you an early adopter of things like cherry and beet juice??