We all know that we should eat a balanced diet to obtain the essential vitamins that our body needs, but it is not always possible to do this. Taking supplements is a way to ensure we have all the vitamins needed for a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the most common vitamins that are supplemented.
If you seem to catch every bug that is going around and often get ill, it is a good idea to increase your intake of Vitamin A. This contains a powerful anti-oxidant called beta-carotene, which guards against free radicals and fights many different diseases. Vitamin A is also very important for vision and for skin, teeth and bones.
There are a whole group of B vitamins, with many different roles in the body. One of their most important jobs is forming red blood cells, and a lack of Vitamin B can lead to anaemia and tiredness. Vegetarians and vegans are often lacking in Vitamin B12, which is mainly found in meat, poultry and fish, and need to take it as a supplement. Folic acid, one of the B vitamins, reduces the risk of defects in unborn babies and is often taken as a supplement by pregnant women.
Vitamin C needs to be present in the diet every day, as it cannot be stored by the body. It keeps cells and connective tissues healthy and helps to heal wounds. A lack of Vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a disease once suffered by sailors who had no fresh fruit or vegetables. The daily recommendation for adults is 40mg of Vitamin C a day.
The main source of Vitamin D is sunlight, and many people do not get this in sufficient amounts, especially those who cover their skin or do not spend much time outdoors. Vitamin D supplements are recommended for children under five, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the elderly.