Vitamins and minerals are essential in human nutrition. We take them from food, but we do not always have the necessary daily amount because we do not always eat well. Therefore, it is necessary, sometimes, to take a supplement of vitamins and minerals.
If we have deficiencies in food, taking a supplement of these micronutrients (vitamins and minerals are so named) is an ideal complement. But which one to choose? You have already noticed that vitamins and minerals are part of a huge pharmacological market. You just have to walk the shelves of pharmacies, herbalists, drugstores and some supermarkets. There are so many supplements of vitamins, of so many colors and nutrients that many times we do not know which the suitable ones for us.
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So that you can choose which vitamins and minerals you agree you must read the label carefully, you will see what vitamins and minerals there are and in what quantity. In most cases, it includes the recommended daily dose. We often let ourselves be guided by the brand much more than by the content, it is a mistake when buying this type of products it is much more important to know its content, proportions, and dosage.
Vitamin supplements usually offer:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamins of group B: B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, folic acid ( B9 ), B12, B5 (pantothenic acid),
- Vitamin E
- Potassium D2 or D3 (cholecalciferol)
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
- Minerals: iodine, selenium, borate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, beta-carotene, and iron.
Do not go crazy with vitamin and mineral supplements, follow these guidelines
- First of all, check the percentages.
You must choose a supplement that provides 100% of the daily value. Some nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium, are rarely included in 100% because the pill would be too large to swallow.
- Find the extras.
Modern multivitamins and minerals are available in a wide variety of formulas, some of the most popular come with or without iron.
Some multivitamin-specific supplements may contain other nutrients such as antioxidants. They also sell supplements that have been specialized for specific conditions, such as prenatal vitamins.
- Choose vitamins and minerals according to your age and sex.
Choose a complex of vitamins designed for your age and sex, so that the nutrients included are the most suitable for your body.
At different stages of your life, your nutritional needs change, and a well-chosen multivitamin ensures all the nutrients you need as you age.
In addition to multivitamin supplements intended for groups such as the elderly, some vitamins are targeted at women of childbearing age.
In this case, women may need more iron in their diet or if you are pregnant, prenatal vitamins.
List of needs of a vitamin supplement in the population
- The women of childbearing age need folic acid extra to prevent birth defects and blood loss that occurs during menstruation.
- Women who have already had menopause: their needs calcium and vitamin D increase as they are necessary for the health of the bones.
- The adult men and postmenopausal women should generally look for a multivitamin without iron.
- If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may need more vitamin B12 (found in animal foods)
- People over age 50 need more vitamin B12, as older adults often have a harder time absorbing this vitamin from food.
- The smoking and possibly former smokers should avoid products with large amounts of beta-carotene or vitamin A, which have been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.
- Do not overdo the percentages
Avoid multivitamin supplements that exceed 100% of recommended daily values. Keep in mind that the supplements you buy are vitamins and minerals added to those you already extract from food and some, in large doses, can accumulate and become toxic.
Remember this: Vitamin supplements serve to prevent a deficiency. If you want, in addition, additional nutritional benefits should take higher doses.
The effective dose varies depending on the nutrient and the circumstances of the person. Your specific nutrient needs may go up or down depending on your age, health status, level of physical activity, and other factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, illness, etc.)
At the same time, if you want to be sure that the vitamin and mineral supplement you take does not contain excessive levels of nutrients; you have to look for a trusted brand.