Supplements (To take or not to take)
Walk down any vitamin aisle in a chemist or supermarket and it’s hard try not to be bamboozled by the array of products on offer! And although we recognise the ones we’ve all grown up with from the A’s to the E’s and a few in between, there seems to be ever expanding shelf loads of new cure all vitamins hitting the market.
So how do I know what supplements I actually need ?
You might of heard of the phrase “Let food be thy medicine” but of course there are certain factors that MAY mean that you need to supplement, this could be due to:
DIETARY RESTRICTIONS (vegan, vegetarian)
WHICH MEDICATIONS YOU ARE CURRENTLY TAKING
GENERAL OVERALL STATE OF HEALTH
There are also certain conditions that may LIMIT our nutrient absorption ability that may indicate the need for supplements eg:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Liver disease
- An autoimmune disorder (eg anemia)
- Alcohol dependence
- Darker skin (you may absorb less vitamin D)
However for people in generally good health, we should be able to get everything we we need from the food that we eat by eating a variety of whole foods, fruits and vegetables but if you are concerned or just curious, a great way to check that you’re getting the right mix of vitamins and minerals is to use an app that I really like called the “Daily dozen” by Dr Gregor or to grab yourself a printable chart at https://nutritionfacts.org/daily-dozen-challenge/ (This chart definitely takes the hard work out of fulfilling our nutrition needs) as well as the fact that if you follow it (I can tell you from experience) you’ll feel pretty darn good, no more of those 3pm energy slump’s that we are all too familiar with!
Now Back to the vitamin dilemma
There is no or very little regulation when it comes to vitamins, there are no warnings and very little education about supplement toxicity which can be a serious issue if you’re overloading with vitamins and not really knowing what you’re doing. Sometimes the decision to take vitamins is purely based on some article or other that you may have read in a magazine or it can be simply down to self diagnosis (which I confess to doing just that before I knew any better)
Here are just a few of the dangers of unregulated vitamin consumption:
Beta-carotene and vitamin A. High doses may raise the chances of lung cancer if you smoke. If you’re pregnant, vitamin A in retinol form may can lead to possible birth defects.
Vitamin B12. Many brands have super high doses. Symptoms may occur eg side effects like anxiety, dizziness, or headaches if you take too many.
Vitamin D. Too much can lead to a buildup of calcium (hypercalcemia). That may give you kidney stones.
Did you know that????
Owing to their ability to accumulate in the body, fat-soluble vitamins have a higher potential for toxicity than water-soluble vitamins. Iron-containing vitamins are the most toxic!
Before you start filling your trolley with a tantalising concoction of all the latest and so called greatest “Natural” remedies why not consider doing a little research into possible vitamin deficiency signs and symptoms, there is an excellent article by the Huffington post via the link at the bottom of this page.
If you are however seriously concerned about your health then why not organise a complete health check including blood tests with your doctor to check that you have no serious deficiencies eg B12, Iron, Calium, vitamin D levels, it’s easy and in many cases free!
Don’t forget that the drug, cigarette, cosmetic and alcohol industries and yes also the vitamin industry work on the theory that “WE” the public are all willing to buy whatever is on offer if given the right stimulus to do so!
So let’s be proactive about knowing what our bodies need and don’t need rather than risking our health by trusting in predominantly non regulated multi national corporations.
ARTICLE THE HUFFINGTON POST (vitamin deficiency possible symptoms)
Wishing you the best of health