Fiona Wilkinson.

I’m often asked about supplements and whether it’s a good idea to take them. One of the main questions I get is: “But if I’m eating a healthy diet should I take a vitamin supplement?” Well, like most things, the answer is, it depends…

Personally, I take a good-quality multi-vitamin and mineral every day along with extra vitamin C, Omega-3, a turmeric supplement, and a women’s glandular supplement. Now you could argue that if you eat well you don’t need these. And up to a point that’s true. However, unfortunately most of us don’t eat ‘perfectly’. We’re human and trying to get all our daily needs from food can be quite a challenge. Then there’s all those other things that are nutrient ‘depleters’ such as alcohol (yes, I’m afraid wine counts here too!), pollution, stress, getting older and so on…

Should I take a Vitamin Supplement?

One of the things we do know nowadays is that vitamins and minerals play a huge part in our health, and our ability to age well, and nutrient deficiencies can cause a wide range of diseases. So, my take is: take your daily multi-vitamin and any extras you may need due to your own individual requirements — because you can.

“But isn’t it just expensive wee?”

Oh, I do love this question…! I’m always tempted to say wouldn’t you rather have expensive wee than cheap wee…?! But on a more serious note: your body has a great mechanism for using the nutrients it needs and discarding the rest. Vitamins C and the B vitamins are water soluble. So, yes, to a certain extent you will lose some of these, but the same happens with food too. You know how your wee smells after asparagus? Right… Well, that doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time eating asparagus. You’ll still get the nutrients you need from that too. The price of asparagus compared to even the most expensive supplement? Now that really is expensive wee!

Which brings me on to quality. No, not all multivitamins are created equal. Without blinding you with science I’ll just give you a couple of simple examples starting with calcium. Many brands use calcium carbonate because it is cheap. The only problem with this is you body can’t absorb it. So, taking calcium carbonate in a supplement is bordering on useless. The most absorbable form of calcium is calcium citrate which your body can use. Vitamin E is another example where you need to take it in its natural form to reap the benefits. And finally, most over-the-counter supplements come in large tablet form. Now, to get all those ingredients in one pill means lots of binders and fillers. And, yes, you’ve guessed it — that inhibits absorption too. So, it really is worth buying a decent quality ‘doctors’ supplement.

If you’re not sure what to buy, or exactly what you need to take, you can fill out a mini vitamin and mineral consultation form and I’ll send you a personalised recommendation.