WE ALL ASPIRE TO EAT THE FOODS WE NEED TO STAY HEALTHY, BUT WITH OUR BUSY LIVES IT CAN OFTEN BE HARD TO STAY ON TOP OF A BALANCED HEALTHY DIET.
THAT’S WHERE VITAMINS CAN COME IN.
BY ROBYN BARDGETT
According to the team of pharmacists at The Phoenix Stores Group, “Vitamins are organic compounds essential for growth and nutrition, and each has a different role within the body. As the body cannot synthesise vitamins, they must come from dietary sources or supplements classified as fat-soluble (Vitamins A, D, E and K) or water soluble (Vitamins B and C).
But because we have access to “processed, tasty, nutrient deficient food,” which is more convenient and less expensive, vitamins can be an important part of a balanced diet, explains Jane Wolf, a pharmacist at City Pharmacy.
“Most people do not consistently eat a balanced healthy diet,” she says. “The diet is generally high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar. A plant-based diet would exceed the recommended intakes of most nutrients.”
But while vitamins can definitely fill in any nutrient deficiencies, Ms Wolf points out that they cannot replace a regular healthy diet.
“A lot of supplements are synthetic with nutrients the same molecularly but might not be absorbed in the body as would from a plant or animal source,” she says.
But not all vitamins are made the same, and there are important things to note when choosing what form to take and what vitamins are essential depending on age and gender.
Recently, gummy vitamins aren’t just for kids anymore and have grown in popularity. People who take many pills or don’t enjoy swallowing capsules or tablets tend to prefer taking vitamins in the form of gummies, as they are a lot more palatable.
But there are some things to note about their efficacy, say the pharmacists at City Pharmacy.
Problems range from poor manufacturing quality compared with regular multivitamins, they are often sprayed with a coating of excess vitamins and nutrients to compensate for not being able to control amount of ingredients in each gummy, they can be missing essential nutrients and they are full of sugar and additives.
It’s also important not to blindly follow trends, advises the team at Phoenix.
“Trends will come and go as celebrity endorsements are today’s norm. And with the widespread use of social media, trends can travel fast. However, it is essential to remember that the best information is from following the science of trusted studies backed with clinical evidence.”
The best place to get any questions answered about vitamins and supplement is from your physician, pharmacist, or reputable health food store, they add.