Vitamins and minerals are important nutritional substances that the body requires on a regular basis to regulate body functions.
Vitamins & minerals should never be a substitute for a healthy and wholesome diet, and large numbers of the population take some sort of a multivitamin on a daily basis. However, there is a great deal of discussion on the subject of whether vitamin supplementation is a good idea and which multi-vitamin to buy.
Modern day life contributes to the need for supplementation:
Due to poor soil quality and modern farming practices, many of the nutrients are not present in the soil and hence not in the foods.
As most of us lead a hectic lifestyle which often means readily prepared meals or regular fast food meals which are often devoid of crucial nutrients.
As fresh foods, including vegetables and fruits, which reach the supermarket shelves are often a few days old which can also result in oxidation of some of the nutrients within them.
Due to far too many people living under stressful situations, which may result in poor nutrient availability due to improper digestion. This can involve event driven stress e.g. loss of a loved one or chronic stress e.g. your job, long-term illness etc.
Vitamins and minerals are abundant in fruit and vegetables, and whilst the UK Government advocate '5 a day', the average daily consumption of fruit and vegetables is 2.7 for men and 2.8 for women.
A good multi-vitamin is of the utmost importance for a healthy lifestyle. It will help to optimize your immune system, help prevent nutritional deficiencies, help protect your body against ageing by neutralizing free radicals and will also help support your energy levels. I believe that good lifestyle choices coupled with a good multivitamin is your first step to a healthier body.
When choosing a multi-vitamin, there are several things to consider and they include whether the supplement is made from synthetic, semi-synthetic or foodstate ingredients, and also the therapeutic strength of the supplement. Some guidelines include:
Always choose a 'food state' vitamin because these contain nutrients that are found close enough to their structure in foods, rather than being synthetic or semi-synthetic in nature, both of which are poorly utilised by the body. A great example is Vitamin C which occurs in nature in a food complex which includes the bioflavonoids Hesperidin and Rutin. Most Vitamin C sold on the market is the isolated molecule of Ascorbic acid and is retained in the body for 2 hours. Foodstate Vitamin C includes both Ascorbic acid and bioflavonoids and is retained in the body for up to 2 days (vastly improving the absorption potential).
Don't skimp by buying an isolated vitamin e.g. B1. Vitamins and minerals work together as a family, can compete against each other and sometimes cannot be properly utilised if another micro-nutrient is deficient. Poor choices without informed recommendations might make you feel worse than better. I always suggest taking a multi-vitamin as a foundation and then if recommended by a professional, increasing the dose of an isolated vitamin or mineral.
Be mindful of the strength - quantity does not equal effect.
Some vitamins and minerals can have adverse effects if taken when you are on certain prescription medications. It is always wise to check with a professional before taking a therapeutic strength vitamin.
Choose a supplement manufactured by a reputable company for reasons of quality and bioavailability of vitamins within the formulations.
During my days at college, I was introduced to one such company called CYTOPLAN, and this is my go to company for supplements.
Cytoplan are British, and are owned by a charitable organisation. They have been a leader in the field of food-based supplementation for many years. They work closely with doctors and scientists to produce products, which are highly bio-effective, truly innovative and backed by research and studies.
You can read all about them here.