For most of us, taking vitamin supplements is a great way to enhance our diet which otherwise lacks in essential vitamins and nutrients. Studies show that an estimated 44% of the world’s population is deficient of Vitamin D alone, a vital nutrient that can be found in oily fish, dairy products or eggs and can be gained from exposure to sunlight. Further studies show that less than 40% of the population takes vitamins, but a few of those do so because of a doctor’s recommendation or a personal need. Learning when you should and shouldn’t take vitamins is important because some vitamins are dangerous when they build up in the bloodstream and it can be also unhealthy to be vitamin deficient.
Why You Shouldn’t Take Vitamins
If you are eating right, you probably shouldn’t take vitamins at all. If you aren’t sure if you eat healthily or not, then you should take a look at your fruit and vegetable consumption rates. A minimum of two pieces of fruit and three servings of vegetables are considered to be a ‘healthy’ level. This gives you the daily vitamins and minerals your body needs for it to function optimally overall. You should also be having five servings of dairy or other calcium-rich foods to provide the essential calcium and potassium content that should be part of your day to day diet. If you eat these foods, then you will definitely not need to take dietary supplements, as your body will already get what it needs.
It is also recommended that children not take dietary supplements because their bodies are more suited to vitamins found in food. However; while it is better for a child to get nutrients from food, they should take vitamin supplements if they are not eating enough fruits and vegetables to stimulate healthy growth.
Why You Should Take Dietary Supplements
On average, I’ve noticed that about ¼ or less of the people I know actually get the fruits and vegetables they should be having each day to be considered as eating healthy. While you might not be eating only cheeseburgers and French fries, you are still denying your body essential vitamins and minerals if you don’t either take supplements or eat fruits and vegetables.
For example, vitamin C deficiency can cause a decrease in the effectiveness of the immune system as well as a disease called scurvy, which causes diarrhoea and over time hair and tooth loss. (You definitely don’t want this disease). Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, eye problems and several other symptoms. Even Vitamin E deficiency can result in unwanted symptoms such as premature aging, wrinkles and lack of lustre in skin and hair.
If you aren’t eating enough fruits, vegetables or nutrient high foods, then it is important to take dietary supplements. Usually, you can ask your doctor what he recommends, or you can take one multi-vitamin supplement that supplies most of your needs. Normally you shouldn’t take a vitamin A or iron supplement unless recommended by your doctor because these minerals can be harmful if they build-up in your body.
Another instance where you might need to take vitamins and minerals is after a surgery. The body uses nutrients to recover and if your body is trying to fix itself, you should make sure that it is getting what it needs to do the job. Vitamins in the B and D group are especially essential when you are either recovering from sickness or surgery. However; your doctor will often recommend specific nutrients that you should consider taking.
If you eat some fruits and vegetables, then you should consider taking a multivitamin or asking your doctor what he thinks. Most people eat 1-3 of their recommended five servings of vegetables per day, which means that you should most likely take dietary supplements regularly.