Customers worldwide commonly shop for vitamins and supplements for many reasons, including boosting their energy and reducing stress signs. However, they may not recognize the fundamental importance of these multivitamins. Now you will learn more about these products and how to choose them.
What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins have a crucial role in the metabolism inside your body. Vitamins are essential organic micronutrients that your body needs in minute quantities. Your diet has to include sufficient vitamins because your body cannot synthesize them in the required amounts.
Additionally, there are 13 vitamins that are classified into two categories, fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are (A, D, E, and K). Getting them with some healthy fats would maximize their absorption, and the excess amounts accumulate in the fat tissues. In comparison, the excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins (B and C) are excreted through the urine.
There are different benefits for each vitamin inside your body. Vitamin A (retinol and carotenoids) has an immune function and regulates the differentiation and growth of tissues. Also, vitamin C and E are potent antioxidants. Vitamin K has a vital role in blood coagulation. Vitamin D is essential for bone health.
However, each vitamin should be taken with the recommended dose as their deficiencies and excess would harm our bodies. For example, unless otherwise prescribed by a physician, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 1000 - 2000 IUs. Long-term, excessive amounts of vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia (a build of calcium in the blood) and can contribute to the formation of calcium stones in the kidneys and bone pain.
What Are Supplements?
Dietary supplements or food supplements are products that contain a variety of ingredients such as multivitamins and minerals to fulfill the nutritional gaps in our diet. Health supplements have many categories, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, probiotics, fatty acids, bodybuilding supplements, and many natural products.
Nutritional supplements have many benefits depending on their ingredients. For instance, they fulfill the requirements of different minerals that are not common in food. These minerals include sodium, potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, iodine, chromium, molybdenum, cobalt, and selenium. Furthermore, protein supplements provide essential and non-essential amino acids that are important for bodybuilding and weightlifting. Probiotics improve digestion and support the gut microbiome and immunity.
Do I Need Supplements & Vitamins?
It depends on your diet, nutrition, age, and overall health. Suppose you eat a well-balanced diet, including protein, vegetables, and other nutrients. In that case, you do not need additional vitamins and supplements. However, if you do not eat a nutritious diet, you have to fulfill this deficiency by having them.
Furthermore, women who are planning to be pregnant need to get a folic acid supplement before pregnancy to avoid neural tube defects in their babies. Also, people who suffer from nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, or iron need multivitamins.
Doctors prescribe multivitamins for people who have had bariatric surgery or have gastrointestinal conditions. Their intestines won't absorb nutrients from food properly. Moreover, seniors are prone to vitamin deficiency, for instance, vitamin D, so they need vitamin D supplementation. If you suffer from a food allergy, you probably miss some of the nutrients in this food, so you need to get them from a supplement.
How Do Vitamins Support Your Overall Health?
As mentioned above, dietary multivitamins contain many ingredients; each one does its role. They support immunity and heart health in people with heart disease due to their containing zinc and choline. Moreover, they help repair cellular damage, boost stamina, heal wounds, and shore up bones.
Is It Safe To Take Vitamins And Supplements?
If you take them with the recommended dose, they are safe. However, excess consumption may cause toxicity for some people. Also, some brands may contain toxic ingredients such as heavy metals, steroids, and stimulants leading to adverse reactions. You have to consult a doctor before having these products because Health Canada does not regulate supplements the same way as medications. Mednow virtual care provides you with many online doctors; they will give you the appropriate information and advice depending on your case. Tell your doctor if you take medications or drink alcohol as they may interact with some multivitamins products.
Vitamins And Supplements Your Body Needs
There are plenty of vitamins and minerals your body needs every day to function correctly.
- Biotin (vitamin B7): It is one of the B complex, water-soluble vitamins. You can have it naturally from beef liver, salmon, or sunflower seeds. The primary function is cell growth and metabolism. 30 mcg is the recommended daily intake for adults and 35 mcg for lactating women.
- Folic acid: It is a water-soluble vitamin essential for cell formation and reducing the risk of heart disease and colon cancer. You can find it in green vegetables, beef liver, black-eyed peas, and fortified breakfast cereals. You need 400 mcg per day of folic acid while lactating, and pregnant women should consume at least 500 mcg.
- Niacin (vitamin B3): Niacin helps convert foods to energy and maintain healthy skin, eyes, hair, and nervous system. Also, it decreases the risk of having heart disease and high cholesterol. Men need 16 mg of niacin per day while women need 14 mg. You can find it naturally in chicken breast, turkey breast, and brown rice.
- Vitamin A (retinol): It is crucial for eyes, cell growth, immune system, blood vessels, and bone health. It is rich in raw carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Men need 900 mcg per day, and women need 700 mcg.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is crucial for protecting nerve cells and its deficiency is common in seniors. Getting vitamin B12 would reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and anemia. The recommended daily dose is 2.4 mcg. Cooked clams, beef liver, and low-fat milk are rich sources of vitamin B12.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): It is a potent antioxidant that helps boost your immunity, protect against cancer, and produce collagen. It is present naturally in kiwifruit, orange, sweet red pepper, and broccoli. Be cautious that overconsumption of vitamin C would make it less effective and lead to nausea and diarrhea. Men need 90 mg each day, and women need 75 mg.
How Do You Pick Your Supplements?
Choosing the best supplement could be tricky as you watch various products every day. The following are some pieces of advice to get the best one for you.
- Read the ingredients on the label: Check all of the product ingredients; if you can't recognize some of them, google them to ensure that they are necessary. Some products contain unnecessary additives that may hinder the absorption of the main active ingredient.
- Check the ‘free from” information: If you suffer from specific allergies, we recommend you have a look at the "Non-Medicinal” & “Free From" sections of the label to make sure it does not contain allergens. The "free-from" section usually includes gluten, wheat, lactose, eggs, soy, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, artificial preservatives and coloring, and GMOs.
- Consider the bioavailability: The bioavailability of a nutrient is how much your body can absorb it. Nutrients have many forms, and some are more absorbable than others. Contact your healthcare provider to help you choose what is best for you.
- The cost: Take the product's price into account, try to search for affordable, high-quality brands.
Do You Need A Prescription To Buy Vitamins And Supplements?
No, there is no need for a prescription. Though, we recommend you contact a doctor to discuss if you need this vitamin and the correct dose. Additionally, you may undergo some lab tests to check if there is a deficiency. Doctors usually prescribe calcium and vitamin D for bone health in seniors and folic acid and omega-3 for women seeking pregnancy.
Do You Need To Check With Your Doctor/Pharmacist First?
It is best to do so. Mednow offers a free medication review service. A pharmacist will review your medications to ensure that your drugs and natural health products are working together.
Please, prepare a list of all the medicines you take to inform the pharmacist in a video call or telephone.
What If Your Health Changes? Will Your Supplements Need To Change As Well?
Of course, you need to review any medicine or supplement you take with your doctor, as some dietary supplements could increase or decrease the potency of other medications. For instance, HIV/AIDS, and heart disease drugs can be less effective if combined with a herbal supplement. Furthermore, it may cause life-threatening effects. Also, suppose you take herbals like ginkgo Biloba with blood thinner drugs like warfarin or vitamin e. In that case, you are at risk of having a stroke or internal bleeding.
Vitamins and supplements are essential nutrients for your body to function correctly. However, suppose you consume a well-balanced diet and do not suffer from health conditions. You do not need to get multivitamins. While if you have a deficiency or take certain drugs that would affect nutrient absorption, contact a healthcare provider to advise you on the best brands for you.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as medical or other professional advice. A healthcare provider should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Mednow or its affiliates.Commencer