There is a founded argument that no matter how amazing our diet is we simply cannot get the amount of vitamins and minerals from our food, which our body needs to strive.
This realism opens us up to lots of questions. Which vitamin do we need? How often should we take them? Which brands can we trust? Do we need plant derived supplements? Multivitamin or a direct complex cocktail? I have been a vitamin advocate for years. My family mock me when my response to someone’s summer flu is ‘Lets get you on some vitamins a.s.a.p!’
In this blog I will address these questions and more, while outlining the vitamins I believe in and why they have made the cut in my natural medicine box.
Surprisingly, I am not a big multivitamin fan. I feel they are great for a vitamin virgin but if you know your body, your diet and know what you need to strengthen within your reserve then go direct and take the vitamins you are lacking in. Until you have this knowledge and experience (which comes with time, research and being in tune with your body) then a good quality multivitamin is perfect. Make sure your multivitamin has at least the following 7,500iu of A, 10mcg (400iu) of D, 100iu of E, 250mg of C, and 25mg each of B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, 10mcg of B12, 200mcg of folic acid and 50mcg of biotin. The multi mineral element of this supplement should, ideally have 300mg of calcium, 150mg of magnesium, 10mg of iron, 10mg of zinc, 2.5mg of manganese, 20mcg of chromium and 25mcg of selenium, and ideally some molybdenum, vanadium and boron. If you can get all these in one tablet this is a great starting place.
As a women I always feel iron is so important. Be aware iron can constipate you so if you are prone to IBS or slow bowels then take a lower dose.
Is so important for your overall health and you need additional vitamin C as the amount your body requires will not fit into a multi. You need 1,800mg of Vitamin C so obtain a supplement which offers this mg volume. Some vitamin C formulas also provide other key immune boosting nutrients such as bioflavonoids or anthocyanidins in the form of black elderberry and bilberry and zinc, these are added benefits but the quantity of vitamin C is vital.
Living in Ireland has some great advantages; sufficient vitamin D intake is not one! We rarely get enough sun shining for support so a vitamin D supplement is a positive addition to your daily support.
Folic Acid is a vitamin B. If you are trying to conceive or are pregnant it is important to take a separate Folic Acid supplement as it helps your body produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer so it is helpful as a regular supplement.
Antioxidant supplements are a smart choice in your supplement plan to embrace aging gracefully. The kind of nutrients that are provided in an antioxidant supplement are vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene, zinc and selenium, possibly iron, copper and manganese, the amino acids glutathione or cysteine, plus phytonutrients such as bilberry extract, elderberry extract, pycnogenol and grape seed extract.
When it comes to who to trust, the rule that ‘you pay for what you get’ matters here. Plant derived (which I prefer) vitamins are the best in my opinion but expensive. However, I am the wrong woman to debate putting a price on our health with – I will win! I buy from Solgar. This brand is brilliant, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan as they focus on plant derived and are very diet lifestyle aware. Patrick Halford offers great vitamin and mineral combinations and he considers certain life stages i.e. puberty, menopause, aging male health. You can get them online from various sites. I always buy directly to ensure I am receiving the best quality.
As for how regularly you should take vitamins, that is completely up to you. Some schools of thought recommend taking a specific course in the winter to protect your immune system. Some people will recommend on ‘required’ vitamins for certain situations like Folic acid in pregnancy. I am from the school of thought that 60 days on your cocktail of vitamins and minerals and 30 days off. This model means your body does not get ‘immune’ to your supplements and they remain effective to your health. However, if I am feeling run down I will not take 30 days off. I think the secret is listening to your body. Learn to hear and understand what your beautiful vehicle needs and feed it accordingly.
Lucy A x