Supplements: yes or no?
Most people can get everything they need to be healthy by eating a varied, balanced diet – so why do almost half of us take a vitamin supplement every day? A review of 26 studies concluded that most vitamin supplements give no significant health benefits, and a study of 160,000 postmenopausal women found multivitamins did nothing to prevent cancer or heart disease. There are exceptions, though, and these supplements may help to fill certain dietary gaps. ◆ Vitamin D deficiency can result in impaired muscle function, weak bones and depressed immunity. Public Health England recommends everyone takes 10mcg vitamin D between October and April. ◆ Vitamin B12 Lack of B12 can result in anaemia. As it can only be obtained from animal sources, vegans will need to take a multivitamin supplement that provides 10mcg of B12, or eat B12-fortified foods. ◆ Omega 3s Best known for their heart health benefits, consider taking omega-3 supplements if you don’t often eat oily fish. If you’re vegetarian, opt for supplements made from algae oil. ◆ Folic acid Take 400mcg folic acid daily if you’re trying to conceive and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby.
Sunshine vitamin: but we may need to take vitamin D in winter