Everything you need to know about vitamin supplements

Vitamins and minerals are essential in boosting the immune system and maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Some of the most common deficiencies worldwide are vitamins A, D, B12, and minerals like zinc, iron, and iodine.

According to a global nutrition report, around 2 billion people suffer from at least one vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Around 1 billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency.[source]

According to the world health organization, around 33% of the woman from 15-49 years old and 42% of children 6-59 months are anemic.

Vitamins A deficiency affects 29% of children 6-59 months in low and middle-income countries.

A nutrient deficiency may not directly cause a disease, but it weakens the body which makes you more vulnerable to a variety of diseases.

The typical diet is deficient in nutrients and high in cholesterol and preservatives.

You may consume fruits and vegetables but that doesn’t mean that you’re getting all the necessary nutrients.

Most non-organic foods grow in nutritionally deficient soil consequently giving a product that is deficient in vital vitamins and minerals.

Furthermore, more nutritions are destroyed by food processing, storing and cooking.

To make things worse, stress can weaken your immune system which makes you more susceptible to microorganisms. Resulting in countless health complications.

Also, as you get older your nutrition requirements increase and you may experience declining levels in:

  • Antioxidants(vitamin E, coenzyme Q10)
  • Amino acids such as methionine and cysteine
  • DHEA

How much is enough?

If you are like most people, you probably don’t eat a well-balanced diet every day. You maybe fall too often into the temptation of eating burgers, fries, sugar, or soft drinks.

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When you see that you’re not taking the right amount of nutrients: You can change your diet or try a multivitamin supplement.

Taking a high-quality supplement provides you with the peace of mind that you will not be deficient in essential nutrients.

Some people may think that if some are good then more is better. This kind of thinking doesn’t apply to vitamins. If you consume large doses of vitamins for an extended period of time may cause serious side effects.

You can take a daily dose or in some cases, you may need to take a therapeutic dose that you use for a short period of time to prevent or manage the course of an illness.

There are fat and soluble vitamins.

Fat vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. Taking a large dose can build up in the body and can cause dangerous side effects.

Water-soluble vitamins include B-vitamins and C. They are stored in smaller amounts in the body and you should consume these vitamins more often.

You should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any kind of supplement.

Vitamin A or B-carotene

Vitamin A comes in two forms- Retinol (which is found in animal tissues) and B- carotene (found in plants).

A pregnant woman should limit the vitamin A intake to less than 10, 000 IU because it increases the risk of birth defects.

Men and women in postmenopausal can take up to 25, 000 IU.

It is recommended to buy a high-quality multivitamin that contains B-carotene.

Possible side effects- People that take more than 25, 000 IU vitamin A per day, may experience fatigue, headache, hair loss, dry skin, bone problems or liver damage.

The pregnant women and people suffering from hypothyroidism, diabetes, or liver disease should be careful of not taking too much vitamin A.

Possible interactions- Taking vitamin A supplements together with prescription drugs such as Accutane and tegison may result in toxic side effects.

Vitamin C

It is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes harmful organisms and to boost the immune system.

Dosage information: The RDA for adults is 60 mg and the therapeutic dose is 300-2000 mg.

You can find vitamin C in tablet, powder, or liquid form. Avoid chewable tablets because they can erode the enamel.

Possible side effects: At high doses (+3000) some people may experience diarrhea.

Interactions with drugs: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) can interact with aspirin. The body breaks down the aspirin so it can rid of it, but high doses of Vitamin C can decrease this process. Furthermore, you may experience the side effects of aspirin.

It can also interact with Warfarin (A drug that is used to prevent blood clotting). Large doses of vitamin C can decrease the effectiveness of this drug.

Vitamin D (Calciferol)

It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in milk, eggs, salmon, tuna, and sardines. It’s also produced when ultraviolet sun rays hit the skin.

Dosage: The RDA is 200 IU for adults under the age of 50. People 50-70 years old should get 400 IU, and those over 70 years old should get 600 IU every day.

Possible side effects: Taking high doses (+1000 IU daily) can cause kidney stones and calcium deposits in the internal organs.

Interactions: People who take oral corticosteroids can increase the demand for vitamin D.

Talk to your doctor if you use: Cholestyramine (is used to lower cholesterol in the blood), seizure medicines, and antacids.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol, Tocotrienol)

It helps to prevent oxidation- a reaction that can cause illness and harmful effects.

Dosage: The RDA for adults is 30 IU daily. The therapeutic dose is 100-400 IU daily.

Studies show that taking the dose at this level will help you prevent diseases.

Consult your doctor before taking vitamin E if you have: High blood pressure, an over-reactive thyroid, diabetes, or rheumatic heart disease.

You should also talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E if you are using aspirin (acetaminophen). It may increase the effects of aspirin and cause you to bleed more easily.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting, and it plays a vital role in having strong bones.

Dosage information: The RDA for men is 120 mcg and for females is 90 mcg daily.

Vitamin K can make anticlotting drugs as warfarin less effective.

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