There are some people who may need to supplement their diets at certain stages of their lifecycle or under certain circumstances...
A well-balanced diet, with a variety of wholegrains, vegetables and fruits can provide all the nutrients we need, without a need to supplement with a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
However, there are some people who may need to supplement their diets at certain stages of their lifecycle or under certain circumstances, such as:
- People who consume a poor diet with very little variety and insufficient vegetables and fruits
- Women who are trying to fall pregnant or who are already pregnant, as they need extra folic acid to prevent the baby from developing neural tube defects (serious conditions of the brain or spinal cord), extra iron to prevent anaemia, additional calcium to prevent bone loss and even an additional dose of vitamin D.
- Women who are breastfeeding, as they need to take a multivitamin and mineral that includes iron (to prevent anaemia) and calcium (to maintain strong bones) amongst others, as their requirements are higher.
- Women who are at risk of osteoporosis as they need to supplement their diet with a lot of extra calcium and vitamin D.
- Vegetarians and vegans who should take a vitamin B12, calcium and iron supplement.
People who have a medical condition that affects how the body absorbs, uses or excretes nutrients, e.g. diarrhoea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
Before choosing a vitamin and mineral supplement, please consider the following:
- Dietary supplements should not replace a healthy diet based on a variety of nutritious foods and they should definitely not be a licence to eat poorly
While we need enough nutrients, excessive amounts of some nutrients can be harmful.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or you have a chronic medical condition, please consult your doctor before taking any vitamin supplement.
Choose a supplement that contains approximately 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) or DRI (Daily Reference Intake) for a particular vitamin or mineral.
- Regarding calcium supplements - calcium is best absorbed in an acid environment so it should be taken with food to benefit from the stomach acid that is released during a meal.