12:00pm Tuesday 12th March 2013
Q: Do I need vitamin supplements?
A: Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to work properly. Vitamins affect every part of your body, including:
If you eat a balanced diet that includes food from all the major groups, there should be no need to take vitamin supplements. Supplements should only be used as a top-up if it is not possible to eat a healthy balanced diet - they aren't a substitute for healthy eating!
Q: Which supplements should you consider taking?
A: The amount of vitamins you need depends on your age, health and lifestyle.
The Effects of Vitamin Deficiency
If your levels of a particular vitamin become diminished it may lead to low-grade symptoms such as fatigue, skin and hair problems and chronic infection. Only prolonged deficiencies lead to the following problems:
You don't need to take supplements if you eat a balanced diet. Iron and zinc are found in eggs, whole-grain cereals, pulses, green leafy vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.
For calcium, vitamins B2 and B12, try to eat two servings of low-fat dairy products a day. If you don't eat dairy products, try soya milk, fortified orange juice, dark leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, tahini, tofu, or almonds.
As animal products provide the best source of vitamins B2 and B12, vegans who avoid animal products altogether may benefit from taking supplements.
If you would like to discuss your nutritional needs, speak to the pharmacists at Ilkley Moor Pharmacy – open seven days a week, and until 11pm Monday to Saturday.
Ashley Cohen, Ilkley Moor Pharmacy
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