Although most people can obtain all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy range of food, sometimes you need some extra help. As the name suggests, supplements are meant to supplement a healthy lifestyle and are usually used to assist a person in a unique situation, such as pregnant women, those with unusual diets or older adults. When looking into supplements, it is recommended to read the label carefully to ensure it offers the right vitamins and minerals and check what the recommended dose is. If the supplement is to be used correctly, it should become a part of your routine.
There are several vitamins and minerals commonly found in supplements, each with different benefits and consumption levels. Here are some of the most common and some more detail on each.
Important for bone strength and growth, calcium is an important nutrient for many people. Adults between the ages of 19 and 50 are recommended to have 1,000mg (milligrams) of calcium a day. Calcium is predominantly found in dairy products but can also be found in almonds and orange juice. Calcium carbonate is the most popular calcium supplement but can also be found in many multivitamins.
This important nutrient is widely under consumed by the general population, with vegetarians, vegans, infants, those with dark skin and the elderly at increased risk. It can be found in two forms known as D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Children and adults are recommended 15ug (micrograms) a day. The best way to get it naturally is to enjoy some time outside. However, this doesn’t have to be in direct sunlight. Some dairy and seafood produce also have this vitamin.
Another common problem today, low iron levels affect people from all walks of life and is a particularly common problem for vegans, vegetarians and women with heavy menstrual bleeding. The recommended dosage can range from as low as 8ug up to 15ug. Iron is typically found in red meat, but can also be found in seafood, chicken, lentils and beans. A lack of iron often causes fatigue and a lowered immune system.
Similarly to iron, a lack of Vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, as it helps in the production of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. The vitamin can be found in many food groups, including seafood, red meat, eggs and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans, as well as older people, are often low in this vitamin. It is recommended to get 2.4ug of Vitamin B12 for teenagers and adult. Many multivitamin supplements include B12.
An important mineral that helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, zinc is crucial for good health. It can be found in a wide range of foods, including most meats, spinach, mushrooms, beans, chocolate, nuts and seafood. However, for those who need to supplement their diet, a supplement with 11ug is recommended daily for teenagers and adults. It can often be found in cold lozenges and over-the-counter medications as a cold treatment as well.
Folate (folic acid)
Folic acid is important for women looking to become or already pregnant, as it can protect against some types of birth defects. It can be found in beans and legumes, dark green leafy vegetables and orange juice but is also available in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. It is recommended to have between 500 and 600mg a day.
While supplements can be a helpful addition to your diet, it is important to focus on getting the right nutrients from your food first. If a doctor has recommended supplements or you are in a situation where a supplement will be of benefit, make sure you get the right product for you by looking at products details and reviews.