In an ideal world, people should derive all the nutrients their bodies need from the food they eat.
But the sad reality is that in most cases, achieving that goal is not possible. That is why it is highly advisable to take vitamin supplements to fill in the gaps left by the modern diet.
Why can’t you rely on food for nutrition?
There are a few reasons why you cannot rely on the food you eat to provide your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs to support different bodily functions.
The modern diet is far from ideal
If you look closely at the different types of food that most people eat, you will notice that most of these have low nutritional value.
In fact, some of these may even cause more harm like intestinal damage. Some may even make it harder for your body to absorb important nutrients.
Fewer nutrients in the soil
Modern farming practices favor the planting of the same types of crops on the same land on a continuous basis.
Due to this, the soil loses vitamins and nutrients faster than it can be replenished. In turn, the crops contain fewer nutrients. That means that even if you are consuming more fruits and veggies, the food you eat may not have enough nutrients to provide you.
This problem also trickles downs to the meats people consume. Quite simply, if animals are fed plants with fewer nutrients, the animals are also deprived of vitamins and minerals.
But apart from the fewer nutrients that can be derived from food, there are a few conditions wherein supplementation can be of great help.
As a person grows older, his ability to absorb nutrients declines. This can be attributed to the lower production of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. When these run low in your body, you won’t be able to get the most out of the nutritious food that you eat.
But apart from that, aging is linked with the consumption of medications to remedy a diverse array of conditions. Some of the medications that you may be currently taking can hamper your ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
When you exercise (or play sports), you are consuming a higher volume of nutrients, not only as fuel for the activities you are performing but also for your body’s recovery.
Apart from taking sports nutrition products, you should also consider taking supplements to replenish the nutrients that your body has consumed.
But which vitamin should you take?
What are the best supplements to take for specific needs or conditions?
If you are coming down with a cold
Zinc is known to inhibit the replication of rhinoviruses which are responsible for colds. If you think that you are coming down with a cold, you should take this mineral within 24 hours, just before the cold symptoms manifest. Zinc can help shorten colds.
If you are indoors most of the time
Vitamin D can be produced by the human body. However, in order to produce this important vitamin, you need to get ample sunshine. The ultraviolet radiation from sunlight helps convert cholesterol into the vitamin.
However, if you live in an area with limited sunshine, due to the season, perhaps, or if you stay indoors most of the time, it is highly likely that your vitamin D levels are low.
Vitamin D is important because it aids in the absorption of different minerals. In order to counter your deficiency of this vitamin, consider taking supplements.
If you want to improve your heart health
Vitamin B3 or niacin has been proven to be good for your heart. It can help lower bad cholesterol and increase the amount of good cholesterol in the body. Furthermore, the vitamin can lower risk for heart disease.
If you have been taking antibiotics
If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics for you, the good bacteria in your tummy may have taken a beating. In fact, it is not unusual for some people to suffer from stomach troubles after taking antibiotics.
Taking probiotic supplements can help balance the number of good bacteria in your stomach, especially after taking antibiotics.
If you want to lower your risk for dementia
Aging makes it difficult for people to absorb vitamins, including vitamin B12. And when you have low levels of this vitamin, you increase your risk of suffering from dementia.
If your body cannot tolerate dairy products
Calcium is essential for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. You can get calcium from dairy products, canned sardines, and from dark leafy veggies.
However, if your body does not tolerate dairy, consider asking your doctor about supplementing with calcium.
Consult your doctor
Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. This applies to vitamin and mineral supplements. High doses of vitamins and minerals can harm your body and if you are getting a sufficient supply of certain vitamins and minerals, there is no need for supplementation.
The best person to consult about which supplements to take is your doctor. He or she can tell you which specific vitamins and minerals you need and which supplements to take.