Opinion is still divided over the benefits of taking vitamin supplements. One side argues that a balanced diet of the ‘right’ foods should potentially give us all the vitamins our bodies need. They also claim that the multi-million-pound vitamin industry – an incredible £700m was spent in the UK last year on dietary supplements, creates artificial demand and that vitamins can in fact have the potential to do more harm than good.
The counter-argument says that in this ‘modern age’ food quality is compromised due to food manufacturing processes. They claim that crops sprayed with pesticides and the artificial additives and preservatives used to prolong shelf life impair the natural vitamins.
What IS most definitely true and shocking, is that cases of scurvy and rickets have been on the rise in parts of the UK because of a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in children’s diets.
I don’t know any women who don’t take a daily supplement, even if it’s just a vitamin C tablet.
Health supplements are pills or possibly drinks that people take to help provide nutrients that the body needs, but is not getting from regular diets. Most nutritional supplements are designed to provide a combination of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that the body needs, but are difficult for most people to obtain through food alone. Some people are able to obtain all of the nutrients they need through their daily diet, but most do not.
In an ideal world and if it was practical (and affordable) to:
- Only eat organic food
- Steam our vegetables
- Consume ‘responsibly sourced’ fish
- Omit red meat
- Omit all sugar
- Eat food as close to its natural state as possible
Then we’d all probably be supermodel gorgeous with glowing, clear skin and thick, swishy hair.
WHAT TO BE AWARE OF:
If you buy vitamins from Dr. Quack over the internet, then you will get what you pay for. Translated, this actually means, you’ll get less than what you paid for because the quality could well be compromised. Always buy from a reputable company and check their website for information – the very least you should do is look for a list of ingredients (then look those up) and the quantities.
Although not mandatory, it is best to look for a nutritional supplement that is designed by a physician, dietician, or a company that employs scientists who know and study the compounds – From ‘The Nutritional Supplement Guide‘
Do a little online research. Not all vitamins complement each other (or prescribed medicine), and you could be cancelling out the benefits: For example, the fish oil found in Omega 3 and 6 supplements (great for skin and hair), may increase the risk of bleeding, if you take blood-thinners such as warfarin, clopidogrel, or aspirin.
Also, if you take too many of the same vitamin (easily done if you’re taking a multi-vitamin) you could potentially damage your kidneys.
Write down the medication and vitamin supplements and the dosages you’re taking or are planning to take and speak to a pharmacist, it’s a free service, they will advise you of any conflicts.
The pharmacists in Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy are really helpful, they don’t mind because it’s making use of their training and expertise. If you choose a quiet time, they are usually happy to discuss all the ins and out of vitamin supplements.
Ask around when buying vitamins. I hadn’t heard of Vitabiotics for menopausal symptoms until a friend recommended them to me. She, in turn, heard about them from her sister, who was recommended to them by a friend, and so on.
A month isn’t really enough time to assess the benefits of vitamin supplements, so I would recommend you buy a three-month supply.
If you can’t see a tangible result after three months, then don’t buy them again, they’re obviously not working!
I hope this mini-guide helps you make a more informed choice when buying vitamin supplements.