Do you pop a daily vitamin or two without thinking, hoping it can provide the nutrients you need, while ignoring your overall diet? That’s supplement abuse. While there are pros and cons of health supplements, eating a well-balanced diet should always be your first “go-to” when it comes to your nutritional needs. Whole foods contain more than just vitamins and minerals, they contain phytochemicals that provide health benefits and enhance the benefits of vitamins and minerals.
There are times you need more nutrients than your diet can provide.
For instance, Vitamin D deficiencies often occur in people that live in the north. That’s because there’s not enough direct sun year around to fill that need. Sunscreen also blocks the sun, the easiest source of vitamin D. While many foods are fortified with vitamin D, there are few foods that contain much of it. Fatty fish like salmon, eggs and mushrooms are natural sources. Studies show that a vitamin D deficiency may affect as many as 50% of the population. It’s important for your immune system, for stronger bones, hair and teeth and heart health.
Your age or health conditions might require a supplement.
Older people, those who are pregnant, have trouble with nutrient absorption—which includes IBS and other digestive issues—and women with heavy menstruation may require vitamin supplements. Many older women have magnesium deficiencies. Something as simple as soaking your feet in Epsom salts can help prevent that vitamin B12 might be necessary for pregnant women. Since seniors have problems absorbing and using nutrients, seniors may require supplements. Check with your health care professional first.
For most people, a healthy diet should be at the top of your list.
Not only does a healthy diet provide vitamins and minerals, it provides phytonutrients that don’t come in a pill. Anthocyanins, for example, a phytochemical that gives purple, red and blue fruit and vegetables their color, provides health benefits that include heart health, lowering cholesterol, reducing obesity, improving cognitive functioning, boosting the immune system and cancer prevention. It works in synergy to boost the effects of other nutrients.
- You can take too much of a supplement. Your body converts beta carotene to vitamin A. While getting vitamin A via conversion of beta carotene isn’t dangerous, taking too much vitamin A can create health issues.
- Some supplements may be beneficial. It may help recovery to add a scoop or two of protein supplements to your diet, increase vitamin D with supplements or take krill or fish oil as a supplement for Omega-3 fatty acids.
- While most water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C, are flushed out of your system so you don’t overdose, too much vitamin C can cause vomiting cramps and diarrhea.
- You may be wasting your money on vitamin supplements. Many are flushed out in bodily waste. Supplements that are affordable often aren’t as bioavailable, so they do no good. Eating a nutrient rich diet is important and more affordable than expensive supplements.
For more information, contact us today at Sci-Fit Nutrition