Before identifying whether you need supplements, let me first be clear about what that means. The very name, supplement, implies that you’re only supplementing healthy eating, not replacing it. That’s all that supplements should do. The next factors necessary to answer the question is the type of supplement, your health, age and lifestyle. While vitamin C is important to a healthy life, if you’re eating healthy, you should get an adequate amount. That’s not considering someone who’s under a lot of stress, which requires extra vitamin C or someone who smokes. There are also supplements that are supposed to help you build muscles or lose weight.
San Antonio is a sunny town, but you still may need extra vitamin D.
One of the best ways to get the vitamin D you need is to spend some time in the sun. However, today with all the push toward sunscreen, those ultraviolet rays have little chance to enter or turn into vitamin D created by the body. Sitting in an office all day with florescent light won’t build your vitamin D reserves either. For those that can’t drink vitamin D fortified milk or have a strict vegan diet, vitamin D may also be at a shortage. Vitamin D does so much for your body. It helps build stronger teeth and bones, make you mentally sharper, improve your immune system, reduce abdominal fat, provide healthier hair and heart health. The older you get, the less you create and absorb vitamin D. You might consider supplementing and a glass of fortified orange juice could be the answer.
Your age and sex makes a difference in the type of supplementation you should have.
Younger women who are menstruating, pregnant or lactating may need to supplement their iron. If they’re of birthing age, supplementation of folate is important. B12 is also important to boost energy levels. Older women tend to be at risk of magnesium deficiencies, which can cause muscle cramping, high blood pressure, low energy and hormone problems to name a few. Older people, whether women or men, tend to absorb fewer vitamins, even if they eat healthier, which makes supplementation more important.
Don’t expect supplementation to perform miracles.
You can’t eat junk, live a sedentary lifestyle, burn the candle at both ends and expect a pill or supplement to make a difference. NOTHING will ever replace a healthy diet, regular exercise, staying hydrated and sleeping for good health. Since not everyone is the same and circumstances change, sometimes supplements help. You’re better off drinking a smoothie made of whole foods like veggies and fruits, than using some of the supplement powders. Nobody regulates many of the “miracle” supplements for body building or weight loss, so you’re often paying high dollars for something that does no good.
- If you eat healthy, most of your nutritional needs should be met. Always check with your doctor before reverting to any form of supplementation. Some interact with other medications and make them less effective.
- While some nutrients are water soluble and won’t accumulate in your body, but just make you have expensive healthy urine, others are fat soluble and accumulate. Too much of those can cause health issues.
- Fish oil, a supplement for Omega-3 fatty acids, has a large stock of studies showing its benefit for heart health.
- If you’ve been ill, are over 50 or are pregnant, supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals could be just what you need. Your doctor should always be consulted.