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CityPress - - Tenders -

depends on the in­di­vid­ual, a blan­ket rec­om­men­da­tion can­not be ap­plied to the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion,” she ex­plains.

But she does con­cede that there are some who do buy too many vi­ta­mins. “I find that there are a lot of peo­ple out there who do some­times overdo it and are un­nec­es­sar­ily buy­ing mi­cronu­tri­ent sup­ple­ments.”

Gib­son says peo­ple should take mi­cronu­tri­ent (vi­ta­mins and min­er­als) sup­ple­men­ta­tion if they have spe­cific mi­cronu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies like an iron de­fi­ciency; if whole food groups are be­ing elim­i­nated, such as dairy ow­ing to al­ler­gies; if in­ef­fi­cien­cies ex­ist within the me­tab­o­lism, such as poor liver func­tion; and if a per­son has a med­i­cal con­di­tion, such as high choles­terol or heart dis­ease.

Mean­while, UK nu­tri­tional ex­pert Pa­trick Hol­ford, who also sells his own brand of vi­ta­mins, be­lieves that most mod­ern­day dis­eases we suf­fer from are in some way re­lated to sub­op­ti­mum nu­tri­tion.

He also says food is nu­tri­tion­ally im­pov­er­ished be­cause of mod­ern farm­ing prac­tices, which rely heav­ily on ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers that rob the soil of nu­tri­ents; food man­u­fac­tur­ing processes and re­fine­ment; as well as cook­ing, which de­stroys more than half the nu­tri­ents in food be­fore it even reaches our plates.

“With the food we con­sume to­day be­ing less nu­tri­tious than ever be­fore, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als have in­creas­ingly be­come more of a com­mod­ity than a lux­ury,” he main­tains.

While vi­ta­mins may still be es­sen­tial to en­sure you’re get­ting all the nu­tri­ents your body needs, you could save money by shop­ping smartly. Peo­ple gen­er­ally spend thou­sands of rands on sup­ple­ments be­cause many of them are im­ported. While there are in­ter­na­tional providers such as Me­ta­gen­ics that do pro­duce qual­ity brands, Hors­man points out that there are also good-qual­ity lo­cal prod­ucts that should be con­sid­ered, such as the Wil­low and NRF ranges, which are well priced.

You may won­der then if more ex­pen­sive vi­ta­mins are in­deed bet­ter qual­ity. Un­for­tu­nately, there is no straight an­swer to this ques­tion, be­cause it depends on the in­di­vid­ual prod­uct. The good news is that brands aren’t nec­es­sar­ily im­por­tant as cheaper su­per­mar­ket and health store prod­ucts are of­ten made by the same man­u­fac­tur­ers as the big names.

It’s im­por­tant to do some re­search, how­ever, be­fore you pick some­thing off the shelf. As a rule, if the nu­tri­ents present in the vi­ta­min are way be­low the Rec­om­mended Daily Al­lowance (RDA), then don’t buy them. Hors­man points out that there are RDAs that have been es­tab­lished, but they are gen­er­ally quite low.

So what’s the rea­son­able amount of money to spend on vi­ta­mins? Hors­man says it’s dif­fi­cult to put a num­ber on it and points out that if you are look­ing at one or two vi­ta­min for­mu­la­tions a month, you wouldn’t spend less than R200.

For those on a tight bud­get, she ad­vises: “Get a good ba­sic vi­ta­min C that’s not ex­pen­sive. It will still do a good job.” When it comes to vi­ta­min B, she rec­om­mends a mul­ti­vi­ta­min B sup­ple­ment or Bios­trath, as it is eas­ily ab­sorbed and not that ex­pen­sive.

Re­mem­ber, too, that there are ways of get­ting your vi­ta­min in­take for free. You can still get some nu­tri­ents from the food that you eat, so make sure you have a bal­anced diet. And don’t be too afraid of the sun. “Morn­ing and evening sun will give you vi­ta­min D,” says Hors­man.

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