A young lady I met recently surprised me when she told me that she takes supplements every morning to help her live a healthy life! I was not amused because as far as I know about supplements, is that not everybody is eligible unless they have been prescribed by the doctors.
But again it looks like there is a “swagger” in being seen to be taking supplements. I talked to my doctor friend and researched a bit on the internet, and I found out that for people who are generaly healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, actually do not need supplements at all.
However, doctors can prescribe and recommend supplements for certain people who are facing health risks. For example women who are pregnant should get 400 micrograms a day of folic acid from fortified foods, but if they don’t get that from the foods then supplements are prescribed to boost the folic acid which is very vital in the formation of the fetus. Pregnant women also need lots of iron in their bodies and if the doctors see that she is at risk, then iron supplements can also be prescribed.
Other people who are eligible for supplements are adults age 50 or older , who naturally are supposed to eat foods fortified with vitamin B-12, such as fortified cereals, and if whatever they eat cannot boost their health, then they are required to take a multivitamin that contains B-12 or a separate B-12 supplement.
There is also another group of people who can be required to take supplements especially those who do not eat well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day. Most vegetarians eat limited variety of foods so they can be required every once in a while take some supplements. Women who experience heavy bleeding during their menstrual period can be advised by their doctors to take some supplements during that time of the month, because heavy bleeding can result into anaemia.
Other people with different medical conditions can also be subjected to take supplements to boots their immune system which is too weak to be boosted by foods alone. Another group of persons that can be put on supplements are people who have had to undergo operation on their digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you are really required to take the supplements, and if they have recommended, ask about which supplements and the doses that might be appropriate for you.
Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with any medications you take. This is to say that not everybody is required to just pump their bodies with supplements before they seek medical advice.