Vitamin and mineral supplements: How do I know if I need them?
Published April 29, 2014
There are conflicting opinions regarding the use of daily vitamin and mineral supplements. So how do you know if you really need them? Read on to find out if taking a daily multi is the right choice for you.
It’s important to consider the quality of your current diet. If you’re generally healthy and eat a variety of foods including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, low fat dairy and whole grains, you’re unlikely to need nutritional supplements.1 However, although we all know we should eat well, the reality is that our modern lifestyles often leave us too busy to make healthy meal choices. Many busy workers and students survive on a diet largely filled with processed, packaged and takeaway fast foods. If you’re concerned that this may be the same for you, consider taking a multivitamin supplement on a daily basis. It’ll serve as a nutritional ‘top up’ and ensure you aren’t missing out on any important vitamins and minerals.
In certain cases, you may need extra supplements on either a long or short term basis. Examples include if you:1
- Take in less than 1600 calories per day
- Follow a restrictive diet, such as a vegan or vegetarian diet
- Have a condition that affects the way you absorb food
- Are pregnant
A final factor to consider is the nutrient quality of modern foods. Arable topsoil necessary for food production is being lost at an alarming rate, due to erosion, overuse of inorganic nitrogen fertilisers and farming methods that leave the soil depleted. Food grown in nutrient poor soil will also lack the same nutrients. Studies have shown that the nutritional value of food has decreased sharply over the last 70 years.2 This may mean that despite your best efforts to eat well, even fresh, whole foods may not be sufficient to meet all your nutritional needs.
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