Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin Supplements In One Place
Vitamins and other supplements are an extremely popular choice with people from all walks of life. Whether you take them due to a medical condition or a specific deficiency, or simply take them to try and help supplement your overall diet, there are so many to choose from. But, it’s important to understand what you are taking and why.
If you are taking vitamins or feel you may benefit from doing so, read the below information to get a better idea of which vitamins may be suitable for you and why. Remember, if you have serious medical concerns, it’s always advisable to speak to your doctor before trying to cure any issues yourself with supplements. With that said, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about vitamins and supplements.
Supplement Industry Facts
In the USA alone, the supplement industry is said to be worth over $40 billion. This may sound like a lot, but it is less than one-tenth of the fast-food industry – which could be an alarming statistic! Worldwide, it is estimated that the food supplement industry could be set to tip the scales at over $220 billion by the end of 2022. So, the market is definitely there.
What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins and minerals are compounds found in food that the body needs to survive. Deficiencies in any of the 13 vitamins can lead to illness, increased risk of injury, fatigue, and even severe, life-threatening illnesses. You can find all of these essential vitamins within food, however, the standard American diet often leads to deficiencies in many of the key vitamins. While other vitamins can be missing due to sickness, lack of sunlight, or other external factors.
How are Vitamin Supplements Made?
If vitamins are found in foods, why do we need supplements? Aren’t they just made from food? Well, yes! But, to make sure you are getting enough of the best vitamins for you, you may need to top up with manufactured supplements. Most vitamins are derived from plant products, with some coming from animal sources. In a lab, vitamins will be extracted from fruits or other foods and concentrated, before being produced into a tablet, liquid, or powder form.
Are Supplements Regulated?
In short, the answer is yes. The FDA regulates all dietary supplements sold in the USA under the food category. This means they are regulated as a foodstuff, not as a drug, and should therefore be considered that way. This means a supplement will be rigorously tested and not allowed to hit the market if it has any adverse effects.
When You Might Need Vitamin Supplements
One of the main reasons people take supplements is to try and feel better or help supplement their diet. They should not be considered as a replacement for poor dietary intake but should be seen as additional to an already decent diet. In this case, they should be used as a “top-up” rather than your main source of vitamins. However, there are some reasons that people need to take vitamins, such as:
If you have been tested by a doctor and found to be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, the doctor may well advise supplementation. This will be confirmed by blood tests and potentially a food diary, to properly analyze why your body is falling short on certain nutrients.
Some diets can lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients. For example, undertaking a vegan diet without proper planning can often lead to deficiencies in B12. On the other hand, consuming fast food all the time can lead to serious deficiencies in Vitamin C.
It’s not surprising to hear that during pregnancy, some women become deficient in various vitamins and minerals. They are, of course, growing another human in their womb, and therefore a lot of the body’s attention goes towards that job. Doctors and midwives will often recommend pregnant women take a selection of vitamins and minerals to help promote safe pregnancy and a healthy mom and baby.
Aged Over 50
When you reach a certain age, the body finds it harder to absorb certain vitamins and minerals, which leads to frail bones, thin skin, and other common old-age illnesses. Your doctor will recommend a bundle of vitamins to take, likely including vitamins D, B12, and Zinc.
Other Supplement Needs
Aside from doctor-recommended vitamins, some people turn to supplements for other reasons. Again, it can be worth checking with your doctor, but as these are food-based supplements, there is no harm in trying them to see if they can help you.
For Joint Pain or Care
Joint pain and arthritis are some of the most common ailments felt by the mass population. There are plenty of supplements that have been shown to help such as curcumin, magnesium, and glucosamine. Combined with exercise and diet, these can help strengthen bones and joints.
Omega 3s are some of the most widely adopted vitamins in the world. Omegas are essential fats that your body needs for various functions including brain health, eye health, and joint health. Omegas can be taken in the form of fish or plant oils, usually in tablet form.
Check for Research and Get Advice
Lots of these supplements are widely tested and researched. This means you can search online for impartial reports and studies on their safety and efficacy. Do this before deciding to take a supplement for the long-term, as it is always best to know what is going in your body!
Also, as mentioned many times, always seek the advice of a doctor or two if you are not sure about taking a supplement. General practitioners have years of experience with everyday ailments and pains, while nutritionists are experts in deficiencies and diets. Seek advice and see what they recommend for your unique situation.
With this information, you should be able to make an informed decision about taking any multivitamins or other supplements. Always seek advice and check for impartial research. Whatever you take, make sure it is regulated and recommended. Hopefully, you can find a vitamin or supplement that’s right for you, making you feel stronger and healthier, no matter what your situation.