Supplements: 5 Types Of People Who Need Them
There’s no arguing the fact that eating whole foods is the very best way to get your vitamins, but taking daily supplements is also a great way to ensure your body is getting everything it needs. While most of us could use a boost, supplementation for certain types is an absolute requirement. Discuss your options with your healthcare provider, if you’re not taking supplements and fall into one of the groups below. Together you can determine what your needs are and what your doses should be.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
When pregnant, vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, iodine, calcium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D are essential for mother and baby. Taking a prenatal supplement simplifies everything by combining most (or all) of the vitamins a pregnant woman needs into one pill. One of the most important nutrients during pregnancy is folate. Folate can protect babies from developing brain and spinal cord birth defects. You can read more about the importance of taking the most biologically active form of Folate here. Making sure mama gets enough iron is crucial for the supply of oxygen for babies, iodine helps regulate the function of the thyroid gland which affects the development of the fetal and neonatal brain. Calcium is necessary for both mama and baby and the demand for it is much higher when a woman is pregnant and breastfeeding. When breastfeeding your nutritional needs are very similar to when you’re pregnant. It’s a good idea to continue taking your prenatal vitamin in addition to eating a rich-fortified balanced diet when breastfeeding.
Vegan or Vegetarian
There are a few vitamins health practitioners encourage supplementing when eliminating (or drastically reducing the amount of) meat in your diet. One of the most common concerns with a vegan or vegetarian diet is vitamin B12. Studies have shown that vegans and vegetarians do have a higher risk of B12 deficiency because this vitamin is best sourced from meat and other animal products. You can request that your doctor check your B12 levels to see how many micrograms you should be taking so that you can meet the daily recommended intake. Other levels you should be monitoring and consider turning to a supplement for when following a plant-based diet are vitamin D, iodine, calcium, iron and zinc.
Have Food Allergies
Avoiding foods due to allergies could mean you are missing out on crucial nutrients. For example, an allergy to fish might be causing you a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Having to avoid peanuts could mean your body is not getting enough omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin B6 and more. Work with a health practitioner, nutritionist, and an allergy specialist to determine which supplements will help you replace lost nutrients without causing your allergies to flare up. You also want to be extremely cautious when buying supplements. Be sure they are coming from a manufacturer that is allergy friendly.
Have GI Issues
Probiotics and enzyme supplements have been proven to help those who have consistent issues with digestion. Probiotics contain live organisms and yeasts and help to maintain a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria in the gut. Digestive enzymes are proteins, held together by amino acids, that break down larger molecules like fats, proteins, and carbs into smaller more easily absorbed particles. They help move digestion along faster and can help with constipation as well as bloating.
Are Always On The Run
Chances are if you’re always on the run, you might not be making the healthiest food choices, or maybe the accessibility to whole foods is limited by the fact that you’re in an airport every week. Taking a multivitamin is a great way to ensure that your body isn’t lacking any of the nutrients it needs to keep your energy up and to maintain a healthy immune system.
Most supplements are safe and offer considerable benefits, but too much of anything is never good. While toxicity is rare, high doses can absolutely present a risk. Something to also consider is the fact that the FDA does not regulate supplements. Be sure to research brands thoroughly as well as discuss any herbal, homeopathic or traditional medicines you might already be taking with your doctor before starting any new supplements.
**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health practitioner.