You’re on the internet right now, which means you’re lucky if you haven’t been offered a vitamin supplement in the last couple of minutes. We all care about our health and our bodies’ well-being. Are you doing everything you can to take care of yourself? The ads say that supplements are the only way to be sure. While vitamins are essential to life, don’t believe all the hype. What factors should you consider before taking extra vitamins?
When Should You Take Vitamins?
Though there are exceptions, most adult women don’t need to take vitamin supplements. The typical diet should cover all of your nutritional needs. Still, there are a few extra factors you might want to consider.
When doctors say a typical diet will contain all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs, what counts as a “typical” diet? Usually, they are expecting you to eat from each of the traditional food groups every day. Grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat … you know, the old pyramid you learned in grade school. If your diet limits or eliminates any of these groups, you might want to consider taking extra vitamins.
Cutting out all animal products can be a very healthy choice for many people. Still, many essential vitamins and minerals are found most abundantly in fish and animal products. Perhaps the most notable example is vitamin B12, which is essential for the health of nerve and blood cells. Vegans will likely need to consider supplementing B12 and several other nutrients.
Another assumption made about the typical diet is a 2000 calorie/day intake. The “Percent Daily Value” on every nutritional label is based on this assumption. If you have a slow metabolism, 2,000 calories per day can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Still, the gold standard is to get your vitamins and minerals through your food. To help out, Harvard Medical made an excellent list of “nutrient dense” foods, meaning foods that pack a lot of vitamin bang for the calorie buck. Go heavy on these, and you’ll get your essential vitamins without adding calories. If you still find it hard to meet your vitamin requirements, then you should consider supplements.
Naturally, your nutritional needs change when you’re pregnant. For example, most experts agree that adding folic acid is a good choice during the first trimester. The usual dose is 400 micrograms per day. But you should never start a new supplement without talking to your doctor since even so-called “natural” supplements can have unexpected side effects that could harm you and your baby.
At Southtowns Radiology, we care about every aspect of your health. Our services, from ultrasounds to mammograms and more, will help you understand your health and your body’s needs better than ever. If you want to schedule an appointment or have any questions, contact us today.