Multivitamins, minerals, and extracts in tablet form, powders or capsules. When does it make sense to take these nutritional supplements?
You can not think of it as crazy or there is a dietary supplement to correct your problem. Do you have difficulty eating vegetables and fruit? Take a multivitamin. Not a dairy lover? Take a calcium supplement. So there is a solution for everything. But to what extent do these dietary supplements have an effect?
What is a dietary supplement?
A dietary supplement is a concentrated source of certain vitamins or minerals. Other substances such as fibers or antioxidants are also offered in supplements. The most added vitamins and minerals are the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, and iron.
The nutrients contained in a supplement usually have a different form than how you find them in nature. This way your body can absorb them better and faster.
You have supplements of all kinds of brands in tablets, chewable tablets, powders, capsules or drinks. The differences between brands are great. It is important how many active substances there are in a supplement. The higher a supplement is dosed, the more active substances and the better the effect. This is an important difference between private labels and A-brands names.
Varied food is the most important.
If you get a shortage of vitamins and minerals you can get sick. This is called a deficiency disease. In principle, you do not need nutritional supplements to prevent this. Normal, healthy food with lots of whole grain products, vegetables, fruit, dairy, healthy fats and a lot of variation is sufficient to get the minimum quantities of all nutrients you need. But for some people, it may be wise to use a supplement to supplement the daily healthy diet.
For whom are nutritional supplements useful?
Groups that can use something extra are:
- Pregnant women. From four weeks before you become pregnant until eight weeks after you are pregnant, you will have extra folic acid. This is important to prevent an unborn child from becoming an unborn child. During pregnancy and if you are breastfeeding you also need some extra vitamin D for a good bone to build up in your child.
- Babies up to three months. They need the extra vitamin to prevent (brain) bleeding.
- Children up to four years. They need tablets or drops with vitamin D for a good bone build-up and firm teeth. They also need the extra vitamin to minimize bone loss.
- If you do not eat certain products such as meat, dairy or fish, if you eat vegetarian or if you use a lot of medicines, it may also be advisable to take a supplement.
When do you have to be careful?
Most nutritional supplements are safe. You can take them without risk for your health. The amounts are usually not so high that you get a harmful dose. And what your body does not need you to pee out of most vitamins and minerals. Yet it is wise to pay close attention to the quantities. Some ingredients are not so innocent. If you get too much of it, you can get all sorts of health problems.
How many supplements do you need?
Always make sure that the supplement you use does not contain a higher dose of a particular nutrient than indicated below. Also, take into account your daily diet, because that way you also get nutrients.
Maximum per day (for adults): Vitamin A, 3000 mcg Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide), 900 mg Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid), 10 mg Vitamin B6, 21 mg Folic acid, 1000 mcg Vitamin C, 2 grams Vitamin D, 100 mcg Vitamin E, 300 mg Calcium, 2500 mg Fluoride, 7 mg Iron, 45 mg Magnesium, 250 mg (on top of the amount of magnesium from your diet) Manganese, 11 mcg Molybdenum, 600 mcg Sodium, 2.4 grams Selenium, 300 mcg Zinc, 25 mg
In addition to dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other healthy substances are also increasingly being added to products such as margarine, dairy drinks, fruit juices, and sweets.
Do you want to do more?
As mentioned earlier, there are minimal amounts of all vitamins and minerals that ensure that you do not get sick. Nowadays, dietary supplements are also increasingly used to make your body function optimally. This is particularly popular in America. 70% of people take a dietary supplement, in other countries it’s often way less.
Why would you choose more vitamins and minerals?
Think for example of extra vitamin D in the winter or if you are inside a lot. Your body produces vitamin D itself under the influence of sunlight. In the winter or when you do not get out much, your body makes much less. Supplementation can then be pleasant.
Or what about stress? We live in a hectic society, the bar is always high and we are always in the highest gear. Supplementation with a supplement with vitamin C can help to make you more resilient to stress.
Other reasons to use a supplement may be if you lose a lot of blood during your period (extra iron), if you can temporarily sleep less well during a busy period (relaxation formulas with Valerian or melatonin, for example), if you have a lot of problems of muscle pain after exercise (magnesium) or if you never eat fish (omega fatty acids).
Realize that nutritional supplements can supplement your diet but can never replace a healthy diet. This is because food also contains antioxidants and other undetected substances that are important for health.
Examine your diet: do you get enough vitamins and minerals?
One way to know for sure if you actually have a deficiency of a certain vitamin or mineral is to have your blood count checked.
It is also good to take a look at your diet. You can do this together with your dietitian or weight consultant.
Moreover, there are several mobile apps available that highlight your entire diet up to and including the vitamins and minerals.
If it turns out that your diet is well varied, then it is likely that you get enough of all vitamins and minerals. If your diet is not varied enough, you can get tips from the dietitian/weight consultant to improve this.
Also realizes that you do not have to get exactly the recommended amount every single day for every vitamin or mineral! One day you get more or less of a nutrient and the next day compensates again.
a pill is no substitute for vegetables and/or fruit. You can not mimic the natural composition of vegetables or fruit 1-on-1 in a pill, so again: choose fresh products and vary!
Feel free to ask your question in a comment on this article.