All You Need To Know About Vitamin Supplements

August 14th, 2019 by

All You Need To Know About Vitamin Supplements

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the functioning of the human body. They play essential biochemical roles as co-factors for various enzymes or as organic substances in tissues such as blood and bone. They are also crucial for healthy cells in the body. Vitamin deficiency can lead to several deficiencies related diseases depending on the nutrient concerned. It can also lead to several chronic conditions too. You can get all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs through your diet. 

But when we hear terms like “calcium deficiency” or we hear of new magic multivitamins that just hit the shelves, it makes us wonder if our diet is sufficient.

There are new studies about vitamins that are published every day, but many of these studies contradict each other, so how does an average person decide if we need to take supplements or not. 

Some studies say that everyone benefits from taking calcium supplements as most people don’t get as much as they need through their diets, which is about 1000mg for adults and 1200mg for adults after 50.

Specific vitamins become more critical at certain times, especially during pregnancy. Pregnant women should get enough folic acid, which is a B-complex vitamin. During pregnancy, the amount of folic acid needed for the body is 600 units a day as opposed to the usual 400 units. As you get older, it is advisable to take a daily supplement of vitamin B12.

Most of our diets are not balanced enough to give our bodies the vitamins it needs, so taking over the counter multivitamins may not be a bad idea. But at the same time, maintaining a balance of these supplements is tricky but essential. Vitamins permanently essentially work together to ensure that our body is healthy. One example is vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, but sometimes the interaction between prescribed medicines (if you take any) and vitamin supplements can cause health issues.  For example, a calcium supplement could potentially interact with certain pharmaceuticals reducing the body’s ability to absorb the prescribed medication. So if you are taking vitamin supplements, it is always better to consult with your doctor, especially if you already are on some other medicines. 

If you have a healthy diet, then taking multivitamin supplements in dosages mentioned on the package should not be something to worry about, but some people take supplements in dosages that are larger than the prescribed ones, this can cause your body more harm than good. For example, B3 or niacin, if taken in high doses, can cause damage to your liver.

Vitamin supplements are often advertised as being beneficial to health by improving heart health or better thinking, stronger immune system. But a lot of these claims have not been supported by adequate evidence from medical research. While most basic supplements are safe to take in the prescribed doses, adverse reactions to them are widespread.  This could be because of the toxic ingredients that are in some of the supplements such as stimulants, metals, or steroids. Supplements are not very strictly regulated and hence undergo very minimum government testing for safety or effectiveness. A diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese, poultry, fish, and lean meats can provide the body with all the vitamins and nutrients it needs. There is evidence that suggests that our body absorbs nutrients from food better than it does from supplements. 

It is always to better to consult a doctor to check if taking a supplement would be beneficial to your current health. Instead of reaching for vitamin supplements, you can re-assess your diet, as a natural source of vitamins is always healthier than getting it from a pill.