Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: B vitamins

Should I Take a Vitamin Supplement?

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.



How To Look After Your Eyes

How To Look After Your Eyes

It’s National Eye Health Week and like all of the other systems in your body, your eyes can be affected by what and how you eat.

Most of us have been told, “carrots help you to see in the dark” at some point but let’s take a look at some of the other foods and nutrients that are essential for good eye health.

Antioxidants are integral to good eye health, particularly carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are potent free-radical busters so they prevent damage to the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the found in green leafy vegetables, avocados and green peppers. Make sure that you have some kind of oil with them as this helps with the absorption of the antioxidants.

Look After your Eyes — Cataracts and B vitamins

A recent study shows that B vitamins could have a protective effect against cataracts. The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology was large, involving over 3000 people and looked at vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12 .

The researchers, led by Tanya Glaser, MD, found that the B vitamins could slow down the development of cataracts. The results showed B2 and B12 lowered the risk of moderate cataracts by 38% and B6 lowered the risk of cataracts by 33%.

Cataracts are often the result of oxidative stress and B vitamins may work with antioxidants as co-factors to combat damage to the eye. It is more convenient to take a B complex supplement rather than individual B vitamins.

But don’t forget to eat your carrots!

Diet and Nutrition Essential for Mental Health

Rapidly growing evidence shows vital relationships between both diet quality and potential nutritional deficiencies and mental health.

Published in The Lancet Psychiatry, leading academics state that as with a range of medical conditions, psychiatry and public health should now recognise and embrace diet and nutrition as key determinants of mental health.

Lead author, Dr Jerome Sarris from the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), said psychiatry is at a critical stage, with the current medically-focused model having achieved only modest benefits in addressing the global burden of poor mental health.

Diet and Nutrition Essential for Mental Health

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology,” Dr Sarris said.

“In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health,” he said.

Findings of the review revealed that in addition to dietary improvement, evidence now supports the contention that nutrient-based prescription has the potential to assist in the management of mental disorders at the individual and population level.

Studies show that many of these nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids.

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