WE HAVE VITAMINS AT OUR FINGERTIPS THESE DAYS, BUT HOW DO WE KNOW WHICH ONES ARE BEST?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, on the website www.eatrightpro.org/, it is important to note that:
“There was insufficient evidence to determine whether taking multivitamin mineral supplements was beneficial for preventing chronic disease in generally healthy people.”
That said, the site is a wealth of knowledge about what nutrients and vitamins can and should be taken and for what.
There are many reasons why one might want to start taking vitamins as a part of their diet. Your genetics, your lifestyle, your environmental factors are all major factors that should be taken into consideration.
Before getting bloodwork done and discussing it with your doctor, nutritionist, or other medical expert, take a look at the following brief synopsis to get you thinking.
Andrea Johnson RD, CSP, LDN offers various vitamins for different needs in her article “Is Your Body Trying to Tell You Something? Possible Nutrient Inadequacies and Deficiencies”:
• Iron – If you feel fatigued, dizzy, have headaches, sensitivity to cold or crave ice or dirt you need iron.
• Calcium – If you have weakened bones, fractures and or abnormal heart rhythms.
• Vitamin D – If you have bone pain, muscle weakness, increased infection, have darker skin, obesity, Crohn’s or celiac disease.
• Vitamin C- If your gums are bleeding and your wounds heal slowly.
But did you know that gender impacts the types of vitamins you should take? “Supplements and Men’s Health” reviewed by Sarah Klemm, RDN, CD, LDN, states:
• Men need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Men older than age 70 need 1,200 milligrams a day, and teens need 1,300 milligrams a day.
• Men also need 600 IU of Vitamin D each day. After age 70, this increases to 800 IU of vitamin D.
Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD, in her writing “Dietary Supplements and Women’s Health” asserts that specifically, “during pregnancy, some mineral and vitamin needs increase and women may need to take a prenatal vitamin.” Additionally, folate and folic acid can prevent birth defects. There are so many more vitamins women require; however, the article highlights the needs of expecting mothers.
Dietary restrictions also require compensation of vitamins. Vegetarians may need to take Vitamin B12 which is found mostly in animal products (mainly because they eat the vegetables directly and the humans who consume them benefit). The same vitamin can also be found in processed fortified foods. Conversely, many people do not get magnesium which is naturally high in a vegetarian diet.
Let’s not forget children; they require specific vitamins as well. “Does My Child Need A Supplement” by Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN says, “Vitamin A is important for normal growth and promotes healthy skin and eyes, immunity, and tissue and bone repair.”
It is also suggested that we seek advice first before purchasing supplements.
So, where are the vitamins? Many of these vitamins and supplements can easily be consumed in a well-rounded diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, egg, seafoods and calcium fortified foods. Before reaching for a bottle of capsules or pills, consider adjusting your diet to meet your needs. Not only may your body absorb the vitamins and other beneficial elements more effectively, but it might be easier on your wallet, too!
All things considered, before you start shopping around for what vitamins to take, consider the factors discussed above, talk it over with your medical professional, and live well!