Supplements are They Worth It?

Supplements are intended to be the easy healthy way for us to avoid illnesses and improve our health at little expense but when you start adding up everything that’s out there it is far from cheap and what’s more, many of them don’t really help. Your doctor will know best but this may help you ask the right questions.

Not Worth It Supplements

Vitamin A

This is needed for healthy skin and vision, it also boosts our immune system. However, it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Meaning it can be stored by our bodies and that can lead to toxic levels. Experts have even recommended Vitamin A in multi-vitamin supplements be avoided in pregnancy as high levels can harm the baby.

Where best to get it naturally: Beef, liver, carrots, spinach, butter and eggs.

Not worth the supplement

Betacarotene

This one is sort of a repeat of Vitamin A. Found in loads of fruits and veggies; getting too much of it, with supplements, causes the body to convert it into Vitamin A. It has also been found to increase the risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease. Experts caution Betacarotene should be avoided by smokers, as it may increase their risk of lung cancer.

Where best to get it naturally: Peppers, carrots, sweet potato, melon and apricot.

Not worth the supplement

Vitamin C

Clearly a vitamin that backs a lot of health benefits however, recent studies suggest taking it in pill form doesn’t really make a difference. This one is water soluble. Meaning our bodies can’t store it, so excess vitamin C is merely wasted.  Far more cost effective to ingest daily in its natural form as that will give the body much needed fiber too!

Where best to get it naturally: Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, peppers and peas.

Not worth the supplement

Vitamin E

Needed for our skin, eyes and immune system; It is ok to take as part of a balanced multi-vitamin but the science is out as to whether it does a whole lot. Experts say there is no evidence that a supplement can boost heart health or fight premature ageing as once hoped. What’s more this is another fat-soluable vitamin. Meaning storing too much is never a good thing.

Where best to get it naturally: Almonds, avocado, olive oil and dark-green veggies

Not worth the supplement

Worth It Supplements

Vitamin B12

Needed to make red blood cells, keep the nervous system healthy and for releasing energy from the food we eat. As those are daily bodily functions this water-soluble vitamin is especially important for vegans and vegetarians who tend to have a deficiency.

Where best to get it naturally: Meat, fish, dairy and eggs

 Worth it

 

Folic acid

They support healthy red blood cells and are especially helpful in reducing health risks in unborn children. Huge for mommies-to-be but their doctor would know best of course.

Where best to get it naturally: Liver, whole-grain breads and cereals, green leafy veggies

Worth it

Omega-3 fats

Having low levels of Omega-3 fats have been linked to poorer heart health and brain function. It is one of the most common deficiencies because we aren’t eat enough of the foods that contain it.

Where best to get it naturally: Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, some nuts.

Worth it

On the Fence Supplements

Calcium

Vital for our bones and teeth, but really only needed as a supplement if you are vegan, eat very little dairy, or have osteoporosis.

Where best to get it naturally: Dairy products, dried apricots, watercress and almonds.

Vitamin D

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommends adults get 400 IU (10 micrograms) of Vitamin D a day. Not really possible to get from our diet alone. But 10-15 minutes of sun exposure is plenty.

Where best to get it naturally: Oily fish and eggs have tiny amounts, but our main source is from sunlight on our skin.

Worth it, on cloudy days?!? 

Iron

Needed for healthy red blood cells, doctors often prescribe this supplement to people who have tested to be low in iron. However, taking an iron supplement can cause constipation and long term use could result in brain damage or death, so only people with a proven deficiency should take a supplement.

Where best to get it naturally: Red meat, dark-green leafy veggies, and in some of the dried fruits.

Not worth it (unless prescribed)

Zinc

This mineral is vital for a healthy, strong immune system, and skin. However a few studies have found little benefit from taking it in pill form. What’s more, too much depletes the bodies store of copper and can be toxic.  

Where best to get it naturally: Meat, shellfish and dairy foods

Not Worth It without checking with your doctor

Multi-vitamins

According to government recommendations children, that are fussy eaters aged five and under, should take a supplement. They may also be helpful if you are on a very low-calorie diet or if you are not eating a varied diet with five portions of fruit and veg a day.

Where best to get it naturally: A healthy, well-balanced and varied diet.


Margie Maybe

Margie Maybe

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