Are Dietary Supplements Necessary? 5 Groups of People Who Probably Need Supplements Daily by Susan Bowerman
In a recent survey conducted by my company, along with the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 89 percent of global respondents reported taking steps to improve their health, including incorporating dietary supplements to their routine. One of the most common questions I receive is whether dietary supplements are necessary to take.
While it’s possible to meet the recommended intake for most vitamins and minerals daily, to do so you need to eat a very well-balanced diet that includes only the most nutrient-dense foods. The problem is that even the most careful eaters don’t perfectly eat every day, which means they may fall short on certain nutrients.
If you fall under one of the following categories, you may want to consider speaking with your health-care provider about adding supplements into your routine:
- If You’re Dieting to Lose Weight: When you’re on a diet, you’re taking in less calories, and in turn, fewer nutrients overall. This is where multivitamins can be very helpful to help meet your nutrition gaps. Take them with a meal, and at a consistent time each day.
- Women Who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding: During pregnancy, your daily calorie needs increase significantly – 300 calories more than your usual intake. Prenatal vitamins are often recommended because they are formulated to meet the unique nutrient needs of pregnant women. Folic acid is a key ingredient that is so important in the prenatal period because of its role in the development of the baby’s nervous system. If you’re nursing your baby, you need an additional 200 calories on top of the extra 300 you needed while you were pregnant, to meet the nutritional demands of your growing baby, and most health-care providers recommend that women continue taking their prenatal supplements during this time.
- Vegans or Vegetarians: Because these vegan and vegetarian diets exclude animal products, obtaining enough protein takes careful planning. Soy, quinoa and pea proteins are a great option, and can be found in the form of easy-to-consume protein powders. Animal products are also good sources of vitamin B12, zinc and calcium, so you may want to consider these supplements if you’re consuming little to no animal-based foods.
- Teenagers: During this stage of life, diets aren’t always balanced, and they may need additional supplements to help fill nutrition gaps.
- Pre-menopausal Women: Premenopausal women lose iron every month through their cycles, and many don’t get enough iron in the diet to meet daily needs. And many women in this age group do not consume adequate calcium, so supplements can help to meet daily needs. Formulas designed for women often contain both of these important nutrients.
Bottom line: even if you think you’re eating really well, it’s probably still a good idea to incorporate a multivitamin into your routine to help ensure you reach your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals.
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