How to make your vitamins work for YOU

The vitamin shelf at any health shop can be mind-bogging. What’s more, the supplements you need for optimum health vary according to your age.

There’s no substitute for a good diet. That’s the first point any health practitioner, dietitian or nutritionist will make. And that includes the fruit and vegetables most of us aren’t eating (only one in three of us is consuming even the fairly minimal five-a-day requirement). However, even if we eat well, some experts believe we may not be consuming the full range of vitamins we need. Fruit and vegetables today just don’t’ contain the nutrients they should. We’re living longer, in a far more toxic environment, with fewer vitamins and minerals in our food and, unless we put those nutrients back, it’ll lead to illness. In practice, most of us need supplements. Studies show that the micro-nutrient content of the fruit and vegetables we consume has significantly deteriorated over the years – partly due to poorer soil quality. There’s a knock-on effect for the vitamin content. Plants and animals cannot make vitamins without minerals. You find minerals in the soil and the plant makes these into vitamins.

But what vitamins are we truly lacking? Cruise the shelves and you’ll end up thoroughly confused. The best advice is to think about the stage you’re at in lie and the general threats to your health that tend to emerge around now. And instead of piling up the pills, it’s often best to opt for a multivitamin tailored to your age.

Do look, too, at the quality of what you’re buying and resist the urge to opt for the cheapest one on the supermarket shelves. Many contain artificial flavorings and sweeteners and possibly animal-derived ingredients like gelatin. In fact, almost all the vitamins on the market aren’t good enough because the body doesn’t properly recognize or absorb them. Expert recommends “natural food state” supplements which “re-engineer” the extracted vitamins into a state which the body recognizes and absorbs more easily.

So what health issues arise at different life stages, and how can vitamins help tackle them? More info on Vitamins

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