In the past few years, multivitamin, single vitamin and mineral supplement pills have grown in popularity. But do you really need them?
Vitamins are organic compounds essential for our well being and development, but the required amounts cannot be synthesized by our bodies and have to be supplemented in our diets. Vitamins A, Group B complex, C, D, E and K each have specific functions. Minerals like Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron and Zinc are the chemical elements required by the body to function. Many others are required only in small quantities and are called trace minerals.
Specific amounts of vitamins and minerals are quite important for almost every bodily function and their deficiencies cause a variety of nutritional diseases. You might think that taking a daily supplement is the solution to getting what your body needs. But the truth is, the excess intake of some vitamins and minerals can also lead to various diseases. To be clear, nothing beats the natural way of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with at least five servings a day of vegetables and fruits with some nuts and healthy proteins.
It’s all about the quantities of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
If you’re on a calorie-restricted diet, you might not be getting enough nutrients, so check with your nutritionist if you need supplementation to reach the required daily amounts of certain vitamins and minerals.
People suffering from certain deficiency diseases, such as anemia, might only need a specific vitamin or mineral supplement, and only until their stores are replenished.
Pregnant ladies need Folic Acid for their child’s sound nervous system development. Sometimes, they need Calcium or Iron supplements as well, but all these medications should be prescribed by a physician.
Parents with growing children shouldn’t give their children supplements unless prescribed by a pediatrician.
Women after menopause tend to have a lower bone density and a combination of Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation might be needed to protect their bone health if their diet is deficient, but they should check with their doctor first.
Basically, vitamin and mineral pills are only required in specific cases to avoid or treat specific deficiencies and are not required all the time to assure your good health. Multivitamin pills are sold over the counter since they’re considered dietary supplements and not medication. But like everything else in life, excess is more harmful than beneficial.
Before deciding to supplement your diet with vitamin and mineral pills, try using a calorie counter to check what you eat for a week and find out specifically which vitamin or mineral you might not be getting enough of. Also consult a nutritionist or your doctor, and definitely keep a healthy, balanced diet.