Do I need vitamin supplements?


We need vitamins and minerals for a good health. Some vitamins need to be eaten daily and others we can store. Should you be topping up?

Vitamins are divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

You can store supplies of fat-soluble vitamins in your fatty tissues and liver and use them up when you need them. This means that a daily supply in your diet is NOT necessary.

Examples of Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. These fat soluble vitamins are found in liver and fatty foods such as oily fish, egg yolks, fortified spreads and dairy products.


Vitamin A

Your body can make vitamin A from beta carotene which is found in vegetables such as carrots, peppers, spinach and yellow fruits. It is important for a strong immune system, as well as good eyesight. If you have too much vitamin A, your bones may become more brittle and easy to break.  Too much vitamin A when you’re pregnant can result in birth defects. You don’t need supplements if you have a reasonable diet.


Vitamin K

Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting, which helps to stop any bleeding. Along with vegetable oils, foods like broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts and curly kale contain vitamin K. You shouldn’t need to take a supplement.

Vitamin K can interact with the effect of blood thinning medication..


 Vitamin D

Vitamin D is difficult to get from your diet. Vitamin D helps keep muscles and bones strong, and may protect against heart disease and possibly cancer. The majority of vitamin D is made in our skins during exposure to sunlight. In Indonesia you should spend around 30 minutes to 2 hours outside depending on your skin type and location.


Vitamins B and C

All the B vitamins and vitamin C are water-soluble vitamins. If you have too much of them, you pass them out in your urine. They need to be in your diet every day, as your body can’t store them. Lots of vegetables are high in vitamin C, but prolonged cooking (especially boiling) can cause loss of the vitamin content.

There are different B vitamins with functions mostly related to keeping your blood cells, skin and nervous system in good shape and releasing energy from the food we eat. You should be able to get enough from a balanced diet. People who drink a lot of alcohol, may need regular supplements of vitamin B and Thiamine. When you process alcohol, you use up a lot of vitamin B.

Fizzy vitamin tablets contain a lot of salt. If you do take supplements, try to change to a non-effervescent version. All pregnant women should take a folic acid supplement until 3 months into pregnancy – ideally starting before conception.

If you have osteoporosis (increased bone weakness), you may need calcium and vitamin D supplements (especially if you don’t eat a lot of dairy foods). When you suffer from heavy periods you may take iron supplements.

So, it is better to stock up on fruit, veg and wholegrains instead taking (expensive) supplements of vitamins!

Please discuss any concerns with your trusted medical practitioner or contact Good Practice Clinic

About the Author :