Thursday, July 18, 2019

Who Needs Diet Supplements?


If you are on a special diet or concerned about insufficient intake of micronutrients, you might benefit from taking one multiple vitamin per day. For a few pennies per day, a multivitamin provides added insurance that you are getting adequate intake of necessary vitamins and minerals. To avoid indigestion, take the multivitamin with food.


Women may need extra calcium and iron. Try to get your all of your calcium from dietary sources. But if you can’t, consider taking a 500-milligram supplement daily. These are inexpensive and easy to take. Calcium supplements are best absorbed when taken with meals. Women who bleed excessively during menstruation may need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains iron to meet the daily recommendation of 15 milligrams. Pregnant and lactating women are usually given supplements by their doctors to meet their increased needs for iron and other nutrient.

Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should take a folic acid supplement before conception. This decreases the risk of the baby developing neurological problems, such as spina bifida. Because pregnancy is often not planned, ideally you should start taking folic acid when you become sexually active. A standard multiple vitamin contains 400 micrograms of folic acid. This is sufficient for most women.


Teenagers often have irregular eating habits and may not eat a balanced diet. A multivitamin with minerals can help fill in the nutritional gaps. Some teenage girls also need a daily calcium supplement.


Vegetarians are advised to take a multivitamin with iron and other minerals each day. Iron and B12 deficiency occur frequently in strict vegetarians.


Dieters and people who avoid entire food groups are more likely to have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A daily generic multivitamin with minerals should be considered.

Those with deficiencies

People with deficiency diseases or absorption disorders may need therapeutic doses of nutrients (two to 10 times the Recommended Dietary Intake) prescribed by a doctor. People taking prescription medications that interfere with the absorption of nutrients may also need higher dose supplements, as will those who abuse alcohol or drugs.


  1. Karen

    Many people equate vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements with only positive effects. Because something is sold as a “health food product,” however, does not mean it’s safe. When these supplements are taken in amounts greater than the Recommended Dietary Allowances, they no longer serve a nutrient function; they are considered drugs. Taken in excessive doses these supplements can interfere with the intended action of a medication, as well as negatively affect a person’s health status.

    Some examples of what can happen when a person takes excessive doses of the following supplements are:

    Vitamin A: fatigue, lethargy

    Vitamin D: possible kidney failure

    Vitamin C: gas and diarrhea; dehydration as a result of diarrhea

    Vitamins A, D, and K: reaction to toxicity

    Niacin: flushed skin; impaired liver function

    Iodine: enlargement of the thyroid gland resembling goiter

    Magnesium: diarrhea

    Tryptophan: a rare blood disease with an abnormal increase in certain white cells; symptoms include severe muscle pain, fever, joint pain

    (The FDA has declared tryptophan unsafe. DO NOT TAKE IT! If you have any tryptophan in your home, throw it out!)

    In addition to affecting nutritional status, use of supplements can counter the effect of certain drugs. The table on the next page lists some interactive examples that occur when a supplement and medication are taken together.

    Be careful! If you feel you need to take nutritional supplements, first discuss your concerns with your doctor, pharmacist, or other qualified health care professional, for example, a registered nurse or dietician. DO NOT self-medicate with large doses of vitamins, minerals, or other nutritional supplements without seeking medical advice.

Medically trained in the UK. Writes on the subjects of injuries, healthcare and medicine. Contact me [email protected]

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