Supplements or Sunshine? The Best Ways to Take Your Vitamins
Read the label of a multi-vitamin pack and you’ll see a compelling case for taking supplements every day. Benefit claims range from boosting energy to bolstering immunity. But are supplements the best way to go, or does nature offer you and your family better alternatives?
The best way to ensure maximum intake of all the nutrients required for a healthy body is to eat a varied diet. Eat rainbow color fruits and vegetables daily and avoid fast and refined food. Keep sugar consumption to a minimum and avoid carbonated drinks. But many people aren’t necessarily willing to eat their greens – or their yellows or reds either. Here are some ways beyond diet for everyone to get the vitamins they need.
Children:Poor appetite, highly selective diet and simple fussiness in children are all factors that can easily lead to deficiency in fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K and water-soluble vitamins like B and C. Iron, while not strictly a vitamin is also commonly lacking in children’s diets and can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Low presence of B12 can lead to impaired cell division, especially if your child is a vegetarian. In both cases, supplements can fill the gap.
Pregnant Women: Expecting moms are particularly subject to heightened nutritional needs, including more B9 and folic acid. Supplements can be the answer for pregnant women with 400mcg of folic acid daily.
Older Adults: For all adults, getting quality protein and multi-colored vegetables should always be the first line of attack. But when the diet is compromised or restricted, a daily multi-vitamin should be considered. For those over 50, the production of gastric acids begins to decline, which reduces the absorption of vitamin B12, affecting about 30% of older adults. Other vitamins like vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folic acid), and vitamin E tend to be lacking in the majority of elderly people.
Certain ethnicities:Some ethnic groups, including many in the Middle East, are genetically prone to vitamin D deficiency. That why at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day are highly recommended. When heat is intolerable, eating plenty of oily fish, like fresh tuna or salmon, and dairy products, like milk and butter, can have the same effect as the sun. And if you're looking for a supplement, cod liver oil is a good way to go, as well as under-the-tongue vitamin D3 melts.
Getting through the day in the healthiest way depends on a full dose of nutrients. But when getting there through natural means proves challenging, adding supplements to the mix can be the best fuel of all.