It is possible to get most of your nutrients from your diet, but that requires diligently consuming five portions of fruit and veg each day, drinking two litres of water and eating lean meats and oily fish. And let’s be honest, our meals these days are more often eaten on the run, and often from fast-food containers than fresh from the garden.
So it makes sense to consider taking a supplement daily. Here’s what you need to face each new day fighting fit and brimming with energy, whatever your age!
Kids are notoriously fussy eaters. A children’s chewable multivitamin and mineral supplement (for physical energy), plus an omega-3 essential fatty acid supplement for brain and immune function make a good basic dietary supplement programme. It’s also advisable to include a chewable probiotic to promote good gut health.
Zinc is required to increase bone density, improve skin and hormonal issues, and assist with sexual maturation. Omega-3s are good for brain function. Once menstruation has started, teenagers may need to supplement with iron.
Women of childbearing age require higher intakes of folic acid for the prevention of birth defects. Abdurahman recommends taking omega-3 fatty acid DHA that is important for eye and brain development of the baby.
Iron is important for the production of haemoglobin – the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells, iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones, while vitamin A is essential for the growth and development of the foetus. Another important supplement is zinc which aids cell reproduction and immune system development.
Nutritional requirements are much the same as during pregnancy, with a few new requirements and reduced needs for some. As during pregnancy, the baby will get what she needs before the mother, irrespective of a mother’s nutrients reserves, therefore a prenatal supplement will help replenish natural stores.
Your guide to taking supplements
- Take your supplements in the morning, particularly those required for energy. If you have trouble sleeping, don’t take your B vitamins or multivitamins after 2pm.
- Take minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the evening as they may inhibit the absorption of your multivitamin if taken together.
- It is safer to take vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin/multimineral complex rather than individually. Vitamins and minerals work together and not in isolation, so require each other to work efficiently.
- If you are anaemic, you should opt to take your iron together with vitamin C. Note: an iron overload can have similar effects to a deficiency.
- If you are vegan (a vegetarian not eating any animal products) taking a daily all-round multivitamin is advised.
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