Opinions on supplements are divided, but the right ones can provide significant health benefits
Vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D and iron are essential to helping your body work properly. We get these vitamins from what we eat and drink, and the environment around us. However, many of us are now choosing to take vitamin supplements as a way to address shortcomings in our diets and improve our overall wellbeing.
Data shows that as many as 59% of UK adults take vitamins or supplements, and more than a third (34%) take a supplement every day. Yet a lot of people are dubious as to whether supplements can actually make a difference to our health. We’re going to take a closer look at the supplement phenomenon to see whether there are indeed rewards you can reap.
Do you need supplements?
In an ideal world, nobody would need to take supplements for their health. We would get all the vitamins and nutrients we need from a balanced diet. And for some people, this is indeed the case.
However, there are situations in which supplements are recommended, or even necessary. Pregnant women, and women who are trying for a baby, are often advised to take folic acid supplements every day to help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. One study published in Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynaecology found that folic acid supplements could provide a wide range of health benefits for pregnant women.
Similarly, vitamin D supplements are often recommended to particular groups, such as breastfed babies, and children aged one to four years old. People who are not often exposed to the sun – such as those who are housebound or frail, people in care homes, or people who cover most of their skin while outside – are also recommended to take vitamin D supplements. Many people choose to take vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter to compensate for the lack of natural sunlight exposure.
When it comes to supplements, shop smart
There are situations when supplements aren’t just recommended, but necessary for our health, such as in the case of folic acid and pregnancy. Much of the scepticism surrounding supplementation comes from the popularity of multivitamins that promise a multitude of health benefits. While there are some health benefits associated with multivitamins, studies show that they don’t reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline or early death.
When shopping for vitamins, it’s important to shop smart. Look for vitamins that address specific gaps in your diet and lifestyle, or which are recommended by healthcare professionals. For example, experts agree that people should be taking vitamin D3 supplements. The importance of this vitamin is so much that the UK government now offers free vitamin D to those most at risk of infection and illness.
Seaweed supplements offer vital support
Seaweed supplements are a natural source of iodine, which is another key nutrient that many of us in the UK are deficient in. Labelled Britain’s “hidden health crisis” by Independent Nurse magazine, iodine deficiency affects more than half of the UK population, and is particularly common in women and girls. Getting your recommended iodine intake is key to your thyroid health, which can impact everything from your metabolism to cognitive development.
Supplements can help you achieve the iodine levels needed for your health, and seaweed is the only viable vegan source of iodine. Just one of our organic seaweed capsules contains as much iodine as three whole mackerel, and our Weed & Wonderful® Immunity+ supplements contain vitamins D3 and B12 to support your immune system, alongside organic seaweed.
When you shop smart, supplements really can provide the support your health needs.