Do We Really Need Vitamins And Minerals To Stay Healthy?
Many people believe they can get enough nutrients and minerals from their diet and choose not to take any extra but in today’s climate, I think it would be beneficial to take extra supplements.
Decades ago our fruits and vegetables were richer in vitamins and minerals but due to soil depletion, we get less of the nutrients we use to. So this means we would have to eat much much more to even get a fraction of the minerals we need.
Why do people take Vitamins and Minerals?
Pregnancy – Folic acid and Vitamin D are needed to ensure the healthy growth of the baby.
Dietary Requirements Vegan or Vegetarian – due to what’s lacking from not consuming meat or dairy.
Age – As we get older our bodies lose the ability to absorb nutrients.
Poor Diet – Generally not eating healthy balanced meals.
Preventative Measure – To boost the immune system so as not to get a cold Vitamin C
Soil Depletion – The nutrient content of the soil can negatively affect the levels of many nutrients in crops.
Restore Losses – Due to intense physical activity – Bodybuilders and Athletes often increase consumption.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Nutritionists believe we all need to be consuming these either from food or supplements:
Calcium – Needed to maintain strong bones, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly.
Vitamin D – Needed to regulate calcium in our bodies, keeps bones teeth and muscles functioning.
Vitamin C – Growth and repair of tissues.
Magnesium – Essential Mineral for bone health, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function.
Zinc – Immune function, healing and normal cell function.
Iron – Red blood cell production, and energy.
Vitamin B-12 – Makes red blood cells and releases energy from food.
Deficiency Symptoms to Lookout for
Vitamins and Minerals perform hundreds of roles throughout your body and without them, our bodies can’t function properly.
Lack of Vitamin D – Low mood, tiredness, muscle and bone pain.
Lack Of B Vitamins – Weight loss, fatigue, anxiety and dizziness
Lack of Zinc – Hair loss, loss of appetite, lack of alertness, and weight loss.
Lack of Iron – Shortness of breath, pale skin, low energy, and heart palpitations.
Lack of Magnesium – Muscle aches, tiredness, high blood pressure, and nausea
Lack of Calcium – Tiredness, insomnia, nail and skin issues, dental issues, muscles aches and osteoporosis.
Lack of Vitamin C – Bruising easily, dry skin, pain in joints, weak bones, and red hair follicles.
Some Interesting Articles
I came across this article by Reporter Kashmira Gander
This article made me wonder if I had it all wrong, she talks about scientific research into whether taking vitamins and minerals work and came to the conclusion that taking them does no harm but also has no apparent benefits.
What are your thoughts on this?
On a more positive note, I found another article that agrees that taking supplements alongside a balanced diet is beneficial and worthwhile. They recommend adding supplements on top of a balanced diet as an insurance policy.
Over at Ritual, they have given 5 reasons why you might want to take a multivitamin including Calcium stating
“It gets a lot of credit for supporting bone health, but it actually works alongside other nutrients behind the scenes. Magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K are three calcium-helper nutrients. Taking a multivitamin can help support the adequate intake of these “helper” nutrients, to bolster the calcium you’re getting through your diet.”
A sobering quote from Aisling Pigott, a qualified dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association
She said “There is no pill we can take in place of a good diet”
Taking Too Much Vitamin D
As explained on The NHS website
Taking too many Vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
10 micrograms daily will be enough for most people.
Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms a day.
Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms a day.
Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of Vitamin D, you should follow their advice.
You cannot overdose on Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but you should always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
Yes, it is a fact that our body needs certain nutrients to function and becoming deficient in any essential Vitamins and Minerals could lead to problems as mentioned above, but taking too many of certain Vitamins could also lead to problems, so always stick to the recommended doses.
Many people function well by taking a multivitamin and eating a balanced diet but some will need to take extra for reasons including dietary needs or intolerances to certain foods.
I honestly believe they do something good and If we stick to taking what’s recommended or what we are lacking alongside eating a well balanced healthy diet then we should feel the benefits.