Supplements: do you need to take any?
There's a lot of confusion about whether we need to take any supplements, and if we do, which ones should we take, in how much quantity, can they be mixed together, and so on.
I understand why it's a bit of a minefield and urge anyone who's considering buying lots of supplements to seek out some advice first. The aim of being 'better safe than sorry', may actually backfire.
Here's what you should be able to get from your food
If you have a balanced diet, you should get the following without needing to take any supplements:-
- Vitamin K
- Omega 6
- Vitamin C
Which supplements should you consider taking?
Although, the Department of Health suggests that we should be able to get the amount of Vitamin B12 we need through eating a varied and balanced diet, many feel that it’s better to be on the safe side, and take a supplement.
The guidance from the Department of Health is that, if taking a supplement, it should be 2mg or less per day.
During some months, Vitamin D can be absorbed by direct sunlight, but only if the sun’s rays fall upon your body.
The most recent advice from Public Health England is that adults, and children over the age of one, should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of Vitamin D, especially during Autumn and Winter. Individuals who have a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency, (those with minimal exposure to sunshine and people with dark skin), are being advised to take a supplement all year round.
Due to the uncertainty and unpredictability around the levels of iodine in plant foods, combined with the fact that we need to reduce our intake of salt, it might be better to take a supplement to ensure we consume the amount of iodine that the body needs.
What to do if you’re taking more than this
Make an appointment with your GP to discuss whether you need all the supplements you’re taking. It’s worth making a log of the foods you eat in a typical week and taking it with you when you meet the GP.
What's wrong with taking more than what you need?
Taking supplements that aren't needed for any longer than 3 months creates a risk of oversupplying certain vitamins and minerals whilst creating an unbalance in others. This can negatively affect how much is absorbed, and you could become intolerant to them.
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