You can find a dietary supplement with any combination of minerals and vitamins imaginable if you head to your nearest health store. There are many benefits associated with taking a supplement, but you need to figure out which product is adapted to your needs.
Why Take A Supplement
It is difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet. Unless you plan your meals carefully and get five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, you probably lack a few vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins and minerals are essential to your health. A vitamin or mineral deficiency can cause a wide range of health issues besides draining your energy levels.
Taking a supplement won’t treat an existing health condition, but it can prevent health problems from appearing. It will also restore your energy levels and boost immune system function.
Vitamin supplements shouldn’t be a substitute for a healthy diet. Taking a supplement will help address a vitamin or mineral deficiency, but you should look into making some changes to your diet since a supplement shouldn’t be a long-term solution.
How Are Supplements Regulated?
The FDA regulates supplements as food products. This means manufacturers don’t need to meet the same high standards that pharmaceutical companies have to follow.
A supplement will be removed from the market if it is found to be unsafe. However, a supplement can be commercialized for a while before studies show there are dangerous side effects.
There are plenty of safe supplements available, whether you want to take a vitamin supplement, a mineral supplement, or try herbal supplements. You need to look for products that list all the ingredients used as well as the amounts of the ingredients.
Be wary of supplements that claim they can address a specific health issue. You should also stay away from products that claim they can help with weight loss or with performance enhancements.
Who Needs A Vitamin Supplement?
Your diet or lifestyle can result in a vitamin deficiency. Taking a supplement will address this problem on the short-term, but you should eventually look into making some changes to your diet and lifestyle.
There are other situations in which you would need to take a vitamin supplement. If you suffer from a health condition that affects your digestive system such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, you will probably need to take a supplement since your body won’t be able to absorb enough vitamins from the foods you eat.
Pregnant women should also take a folate supplement daily to reduce risks of neural tube defect. Dialysis and kidney disease patients also need vitamin supplements since they are unable to absorb all the vitamins they need.
If you have adopted a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will probably need to take a supplement to meet your daily protein and calcium intake requirements.
Vitamin Deficiency And Anemia
Anemia is a health condition caused by your body being unable to absorb vitamins or by a diet that isn’t rich enough in iron and vitamins. It is possible to develop anemia because your diet lacks fresh fruits and vegetables or doesn’t include enough meat and dairy.
Folate, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B12 play a crucial part in red blood cell creation. If your diet is lacking these important vitamins and minerals, your red blood cell count will go down.
Someone who suffers from anemia will typically experience fatigue, dizziness, weight loss, muscle weakness, and even mental confusion. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should get some blood work done to determine if you suffer from anemia.
You can address anemia by taking a multivitamin supplement and by making changes to your diet.
Other Types Of Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency
Anemia isn’t the only type of vitamin deficiency. Your diet or lifestyle can cause you to lack any vitamins or minerals.
It is possible to develop a Vitamin D deficiency if you aren’t getting enough exposure to natural sunlight. Being overweight puts you at risk for developing a Vitamin D deficiency.
An unbalanced diet can also cause you to develop a Vitamin A deficiency. This can impact your immune system as well as your sight.
Developing a mineral deficiency due to an unhealthy diet is possible. The main minerals are calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium.
Here are the symptoms you would typically experience if your diet weren’t rich enough in one of these minerals:
- A calcium deficiency can cause numbness, cramping, and an irregular heartbeat.
- You will experience fatigue and eventually develop anemia if your diet isn’t rich enough in iron.
- A magnesium deficiency can cause weakness, nausea, muscle cramps, fatigue, and a lack of appetite.
- If you aren’t getting enough potassium, you will probably experience weakness and muscle cramping.
- If your diet isn’t rich enough in zinc, your immune system will be affected, and you could even lose your appetite as well as your sense of taste and smell.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get some blood work done. This is the only way to determine which vitamins or minerals have been missing from your diet so you can choose the right supplement for your needs and make changes to your diet.
How To Choose The Right Supplement
The best supplements depend on what your symptoms are, and which vitamins and minerals are likely to be lacking in your diet. If you suffer from an existing health condition, talk to your doctor to figure out which vitamins or minerals your body might not be able to properly absorb.
Is A Multivitamin Right For You?
There are no risks associated with taking multivitamin supplements because these products typically don’t contain high doses of any vitamin or mineral. These supplements cover all your dietary needs, which is ideal if you are experiencing multiple symptoms of vitamin or mineral deficiency.
However, a multivitamin supplement isn’t going to replace a healthy diet. Most of these supplements meet your daily vitamin intake requirements but don’t contain enough minerals, especially calcium.
Should You Take A Single Vitamin Supplement?
If your blood work shows that you have a severe vitamin deficiency, taking a single vitamin supplement is a good option since you will be able to restore your vitamin or mineral balance quickly.
However, you should know that some vitamins can be dangerous when taken in high quantities. It is best to stay away from vitamin supplements that exceed your daily intake requirements unless your doctor recommends one of these products.
Some vitamins are harmless when taken in high doses because they are water soluble. This means your body will absorb as much of these vitamins as possible and the excess will be flushed by your kidneys. Vitamin C and all the B Vitamins are water-soluble. Taking a Vitamin C or B supplement is safe regardless of the dose.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble. This means your body will store these vitamins in your fat reserves if your diet contains more vitamins than you can immediately absorb.
High levels of fat-soluble vitamins can become toxic over time. It is possible to develop kidney and liver problems if you take a vitamin supplement that exceeds your daily intake of fa- soluble vitamins. However, you would have to take a supplement for a long period before vitamin concentration reaches toxic levels.
It is best to get some blood work done so you can determine if you need a supplement with high quantities of fat-soluble vitamins. Otherwise, a multivitamin supplement with lower quantities of fat-soluble vitamins is a safe option.
These are the quantities you should look for when shopping for vitamins and supplements:
- Women need 700 micrograms of Vitamin A day while men need 900 micrograms.
- It is safe to take between five and ten micrograms of Vitamin D a day.
- A daily supplement shouldn’t exceed 15 micrograms of Vitamin E.
- If you take a Vitamin K supplement, keep in mind that women need 90 micrograms a day and men need 120 micrograms.
If you are taking a mineral supplement, you should know that iron levels can also build up and become toxic over time. Women typically need 18 milligrams of iron a day while men only need 8 milligrams. However, you might need a supplement with higher levels of iron if you suffer from anemia. Avoid daily supplements with more than 40 milligrams of iron since this would be an unsafe quantity.
If you take a supplement with a high concentration of a single vitamin or mineral, keep track of the foods you eat. Eating foods rich in iron or fat-soluble vitamins should be avoided as long as you take a supplement.
Taking vitamin or mineral supplements will help address a deficiency and will also improve your energy levels. Choose a multivitamin to be safe, or get some blood work done to determine if you need to increase your intake of a specific vitamin or mineral to address some of the symptoms you have been experiencing.
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