Here are 5 reasons why you should take supplements daily:

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1) Filling That Nutritional Gap

90% of people don’t get the recommended amount of important nutrients from food alone. Most of us fail to meet dietary recommendations due to strict dieting, poor appetite, or changing nutritional needs. Supplementation is intended to bridge the nutritional gap, so that we maintain the proper balance of nutrients from food and supplementation. This will enhance the nutrient density of your diet and make sure you are obtaining the right amount of nutrients tailored to your dietary needs.

2) Nutrient Absorption Declines With Age

As you age, malabsorption becomes a problem because your body doesn’t have the same capability to break down and absorb nutrients as it used to. The production of digestive enzymes, which breaks down and absorbs nutrients from your food, naturally begins to decline the older you get. You may also be taking more medications than you did when you were younger. Most modern medications actually deplete essential nutrients. Supplements can help restore this imbalance.

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3) Avoid Harmful Chemicals

Warning! Pesticides and herbicides used to farm our food, chemicals found in our water supply, and external environmental issues like pollution drastically increase our need for extra vitamins and minerals. These harmful chemicals create free radicals that attack our digestive and immune system. Supplements like antioxidants help fight those free radicals.

4) Exercise Increases Nutrient Needs

Are you an athlete or do you exercise frequently? Athletes require a lot of energy and nutrients to stay in shape. As you exercise, your body uses up the energy and nutrients that have been stored in your body. It is vital to replenish these essential nutrients, fuel your energy levels, and promote recovery after an intense workout. That’s why athlete’s diets include TONS of carbs and protein. Taking protein powder is a quick and easy way to get the required calories instead of having to eat a big bowl of pasta and chicken.

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5) Poor Eating Habits

Erratic eating habits, eating processed junk food, and stress contribute to poor digestion, making it difficult for our bodies to extract all the nutrients it needs from food. While supplementation cannot replace a poor diet, it can help prevent the damage poor eating habits are causing. 

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Is Vitamin C Good For You?

Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, experts say. It may not be the cure for the common cold (though it’s thought to help prevent more serious complications). But the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

A recent study published in Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine that looked at over 100 studies over 10 years revealed a growing list of benefits of vitamin C.

“Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health,” says study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan. “The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer.”

How Much Vitamin C Is Enough?

Most of the studies Moyad and his colleagues examined used 500 daily milligrams of vitamin C to achieve health results. That’s much higher than the RDA of 75-90 milligrams a day for adults. So unless you can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you may need to take a dietary supplement of vitamin C to gain all the benefits, Moyad says. He suggests taking 500 milligrams a day, in addition to eating five servings of fruits and vegetables.

“It is just not practical for most people to consume the required servings of fruits and vegetables needed on a consistent basis, whereas taking a once-daily supplement is safe, effective, and easy to do,” Moyad says. He also notes that only 10% to 20% of adults get the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Moyad says there is no real downside to taking a 500-milligram supplement, except that some types may irritate the stomach. That’s why he recommends taking a non-acidic, buffered form of the vitamin. “The safe upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams a day, and there is a great track record with strong evidence that taking 500 milligrams daily is safe,” he says.

Still, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist, RD, suggests doing your best to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet before taking supplements.

“Strive to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, because you will get a healthy dose of vitamin C along with an abundance of other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are good for disease prevention and overall health,” she says.

While a cup of orange juice or a half-cup of red pepper would be enough to meet your RDA for Vitamin C, here are all the foods and beverages you’d need to consume to reach 500 milligrams (mg):

  • Cantaloupe, 1 cup (8 ounces): 59mg
  • Orange juice, 1 cup: 97mg
  • Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup: 74mg
  • Red cabbage, 1/2 cup: 40mg
  • Green pepper, 1/2 cup, 60mg
  • Red pepper, 1/2 cup, 95mg
  • Kiwi, 1 medium: 70mg
  • Tomato juice, 1 cup: 45mg.

The Health Benefits of Vitamin C

According to recent research, vitamin C may offer health benefits in these areas:

1. Stress . “A recent meta-analysis showed vitamin C was beneficial to individuals whose immune system was weakened due to stress — a condition which is very common in our society,” says Moyad. And, he adds, “because vitamin C is one of the nutrients sensitive to stress, and [is] the first nutrient to be depleted in alcoholics, smokers, and obese individuals, it makes it an ideal marker for overall health.”

2. Colds. When it comes to the common cold, vitamin C may not be a cure. But some studies show that it may help prevent more serious complications. “There is good evidence taking vitamin C for colds and flu can reduce the risk of developing further complications, such as pneumonia and lung infections,” says Moyad.

3. Stroke. Although research has been conflicting, one study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood were associated with 42% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations. The reasons for this are not completely clear. But what is clear is that people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have higher blood levels of vitamin C.

Vitamins Good For You?

 

Are vitamins really that good for you? We look at which supplements are worth taking.

 

Many of us take one supplement or another every day, and we might be more encouraged to do so at this time of year – but are they really doing us any good? Here’s all you need to know…

 

 

What did you have for breakfast this morning? Toast? A bowl of cereal? Perhaps a multivitamin, because you never quite hit your daily fruit and veg quota; or an omega 3 to boost your flagging brain power?

Every day, millions of us – an estimated 38% of the population – take vitamins and dietary supplements to stay healthy and ease illnesses, spending £385 million a year in the UK. But could we be wasting our money?

“The body struggles to absorb and use some supplements effectively,” explains nutritionist Libby Limon. “So they should only be taken to redress an imbalance – for example, if you are depleted in certain nutrients because you aren’t getting them through your diet, or you have a higher need due to exercise, stress or illness.”

Side effects?

“Before you consider taking supplements, ask yourself a number of questions,” says nutritional therapist Jacqueline Newson.

What are the potential benefits of taking this?
What is the proper dose for me?
Are there any safety risks with this product?
When and how should I take this product and for how long?

Some vitamins may have a negative effect on certain medications. For example, “vitamin K can reduce the ability of blood thinners such as warfarin to prevent blood from clotting,” warns Jacqueline.

It’s always advisable to seek professional advice before taking supplements. Speak to your GP, especially if you take regular medication, or contact the supplement company directly.

Gimmick or good for you?

Do you really need them?

Before you take any supplements, take a look at your diet.

“It is really important that we eat a varied mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, adequate protein, a little dairy food and plenty of fruit and vegetables,” says Jacqueline.

“Supplements should be used to enhance a healthy diet, not as a substitute for actual food. Real whole food provides thousands of nutrients that work together to promote good health and this cannot be duplicated with a cocktail of supplements.”

But if your diet is less than perfect, you can’t – or won’t – cook, or have a chronic illness, then some supplementation, like a multivitamin, will be beneficial.

Is expensive better?

Often, the price of more expensive vitamin supplements is due to better quality ingredients.

“Good quality supplements have more easily absorbed nutrients at higher dosages,” explains Libby. “You really do get what you pay for in terms of nutritional supplements. If you buy cheap, they probably won’t do you any harm but probably won’t do you any good, either.”

Try taking a quality wholefood supplement such as Real Health Wholefood Women’s Multi, £15.99 for 30, which contains no synthetic ingredients and is easily absorbed by the body.