Do we need vitamin supplements?

Do we need vitamin supplements?

Athletes and gym-users won’t be oblivious to the amount of dietary vitamins and supplements on the market claiming to improve health and fitness.

For all their promises and indeed their popularity, there is still relatively little evidence to prove that any of these products are beneficial.

The supplements and vitamins market is worth millions, riding on the premise that they fortify a diet lacking in a particular nutrient or micronutrient. Particularly popular with athletes are the protein powders and amino acids to regenerate a body broken down by tough workouts.

Despite their many claims, it’s been shown that often the supplements don’t live up to what they promise, although when used to complement diets low in certain nutrients needed to maintain health and performance, vitamins and supplements can be useful.

Many of us will have reached for the Vitamin C or the Echinacea for a common cold, or understand that taking calcium will build stronger bones. What is not entirely clear is whether these supplements help when taken in pill or powder form.

Media reports have thrown light on a lack of robust science when it comes to supplement use and the benefits to the consumer, however they still remain hugely popular.

In most cases all you need is a healthy and balanced diet, proper training and an adequate amount of rest and that will do the job better than most supplements.

However, if you are considering a supplement, it’s wise to speak to a certified nutritionist to get the right product for your needs.

 


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.

Comments

Sean S.
28 February 2017

Sean S.

If I feel a cold coming on I take big doses of vitamin C (100mg daily) and I very rarely get a bad cold. They're so cheap, I see no point in stopping, and the seem effective for me.

Martin R.
26 February 2017

Martin R.

I believe that a good multivitamin and mineral supplement is beneficial to cover all bases? Even with a healthy diet, it's still possible to be deficient in one or more micro nutrients? A recent study showed that taking cod liver oil supplements was actually better than eating oily fish! As for claims that they do not work, why do GP's still prescribe them? A person who is anaemic is prescribed iron or vitamin B12 which are proven to increase red blood cell count. Taking daily vitamin D and calcium supplements help to cure Rickets. So obviously they do work?

Katie G.
26 February 2017

Katie G.

I've always taken vitamin supplements as a matter of course and have never seen any reason to stop. Unless there is proven evidence to the contrary or showing me they're causing some kind of damage, I can't imagine stopping.

Michael A.
25 February 2017

Michael A.

I think supplements are going to go out of fashion, as the trend for clean natural eating increases. And people will feel less need for them anyway as they will be healthier from more vegetables and less processed food.

Debra G.
23 February 2017

Debra G.

In my student days I bought supplements because I was living on the usual shocking student food, not helped by the shocking student kitchen! Now I try to treat my body better and eat properly. Supplements are a last resort.

Jim R.
22 February 2017

Jim R.

that seems a little unlikely, Helen, but I always read that a balanced diet should give anyone aged 5-65 and in normal health all the nutrition they need. The only possible exception is vitamin D, which is now thought to be worthwhile for all of us.

Helen P.
22 February 2017

Helen P.

I was told years ago that vitamin supplements stopped the body from having the ability to take vitamins from food directly. Not sure how true that is, but I've never forgotten it, and have never bothered taking supplements.

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