It’s a good question. Many of us are guilty of indulging in high-fat sugary foods that aren’t exactly good for us. With all these empty calories, we may start to wonder whether we’re consuming enough vitamins. After all, that shelf of vitamins in the pharmacy looks extensive. Could you really be sure you’re getting enough of everything?
While it’s likely impossible to get exactly what you need each and every day, most healthy people do not need vitamin supplements as long as they eat a rich and varied diet of vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and minimal sugar. However, there are instances when a supplement or two might help. Stay tuned for more details, including tips to save money on long-term medicines.
Before starting any supplement, talk to your doctor, who can give you professional, personalized advice. Always inform your doctor of all medications you are using before starting a new medication; this includes supplements, herbs, vitamins, and over-the-counter drugs.
Children (especially picky eaters) may need multivitamins
Many parents have had to deal with figuring out what their children are willing to eat. Because so many children are picky eaters, health professionals recommend giving children a multivitamin containing vitamins A, C, and D in order to facilitate proper growth. There are many tasty vitamin supplement products available, such as colorful gummies shaped like cartoon characters.
Pregnant women should take folic acid supplements
Women who are trying to conceive are encouraged to take a folic acid supplement, and women who are pregnant should take a folic acid supplement up to week 12. If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, talk to your family doctor or OBGYN for recommendations specific to you.
If you don’t see the sun much, you may need a vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D is produced by our own bodies when you are exposed to the sun. It can also be found in certain foods. However, many people don’t get enough time in the sun and may need a supplement. These include people who live in higher latitudes that experience shorter days and longer nights than, say, people in the tropics. If you’re an office worker, housebound, or usually go out with your skin covered up, you may also want to talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Iron deficiency is the most widespread malnutrition problem in the world
Iron deficiency is quite common in women and girls, even in highly industrialized countries with plentiful food. Symptoms of possible iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, heavy menstrual periods, and pale skin. A simple blood test can determine whether you are lacking iron, and fixing this problem could be as simple as adding more iron-rich foods like meat and fish to your diet.
Older women should pay attention to calcium
Older women are most at risk for developing osteoporosis. Calcium is used to maintain strong and healthy bones as well as regulation of muscle contractions, including heart rate. Calcium also plays a role in ensuring blood clots properly. While most people associate calcium with dairy products, it can also be found in leafy green vegetables, soy products, nuts, and fish.
Does vitamin C cure a common cold? Probably not.
Many people start chugging orange juice when they notice symptoms of the dreaded yet popular common cold. However, research suggests that vitamin C’s role in helping ease cold symptoms is likely modest. On the other hand, studies showed vitamin C could be more beneficial for people who have just done intense physical exercise. If you want more vitamin C, look for it in oranges, potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and red and green peppers.
Don’t take too much vitamin A
Vitamin A benefits the immune system, skin, and interestingly, night vision. It can be found in fish, eggs, and cheese. Foods with high levels of beta-carotene are also good to eat, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and yellow fruits. However, be careful not to exceed 1.5mg of vitamin A day. Doing so in the long term can weaken bones, making them easier to fracture in old age.
Tips for saving money on vitamins, supplements, and medications
Vitamins and supplements are often (but not always) part of a daily habit, so expenses can quickly add up. This is especially true for Americans, whose pharmaceutical industry is less regulated in terms of price compared to many other countries. To save money, try:
- Buying generic brands only. These are often significantly cheaper than brand-name products and must be deemed bioequivalent to their brand-name counterparts by the FDA.
- If you’re American, look for international and Canadian pharmacies online. Rx Connected, a Canadian pharmacy referral service that follows strict safety protocols to ensure as much quality as possible, allow you to access prescription drugs as well as supplements like iron supplements at affordable prices.
As stated before, do not start any new medication regimen without first consulting a doctor. You may not need a supplement at all, and taking extra can cause more harm than good. Learn more about vitamins from the NHS resource here, where research for this article was taken from.
Disclaimer – The views or opinions stated in the resources collected here do not necessarily reflect those of FHT. FHT assumes no responsibility for any discrepancies or errors contained in these resources.