Who Needs Vitamin Supplements?
Americans are heavily invested in vitamins and dietary supplements. In fact, in 2010 alone, we spent over$28 billion on the hopes, promises and pills in those little bottles from your health store or grocery store. But just how good an investment was it? Who needs vitamin supplements? Do they deliver on their promises…or are we all just wasting our money?
The answer is a bit complicated.
Some work very well, and others, well, the jury is still out. As in many things having to do with your health, it’s always best to check with your physician to get his advice before starting with any vitamin supplement. If he or she gives you the go ahead, then we’ve got just about all the vitamins and supplements you may need right here on this website. So why do we need them anyway…and which ones are best for us?
It’s not hard to become overwhelmed with the choice of vitamin dietary supplement products available to you. Walk down the vitamin section of your supermarket and you can start to feel your head spinning. It’s important, therefore, that you understand how these products work.
Why We Need Vitamins
Your body (and everyone else’s body) requires vitamins just to maintain those cell functions that keep us alive, active and healthy. The body itself produces no vitamins and relies entirely upon the food we consume in order to get them. For that reason, the food you eat and the way you balance the vitamins you intake is critical. A junk food diet or one high in fats and carbs is probably not going to bring you much balance…and certainly not the vitamins your body is craving.
Without the vitamins we need, our bodies operate less efficiently, the metabolism breaks down or slows, and we don’t absorb the healthy ingredients we need. The unhealthy food we eat (like those great tasting French fries from Micky D’s or that slice of pie from the corner bakery) leave us with excess pounds and open the door to things like diabetes, blocked arteries, high cholesterol, heart problems, cancer risks, and so much more. For many of us, it may be a question of eating right or dying early.
Certain vitamins are purely basic. Vitamin B12, for example, is known to be helpful in boosting the metabolism and aiding our nervous systems. This vitamin is known to be present in animal products such as meat and eggs, and that’s how most of us get our required amounts. However, if you’re a person who cannot or will not eat meat or dairy products (such as vegans or vegetarians), you need another source of vitamin B12. And that’s where supplements come in.
Or take zinc and magnesium, for example. Zinc is important in building a strong immune system and in the cellular metabolism of the body. Magnesium plays a major role in over 300 biochemical body reactions and is also believed to be important in helping to control or prevent diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Needless to say, these are very important minerals and the body needs them to function efficiently.
You can find magnesium in such foods as spinach, almonds and fish, whereas zinc is plentiful in yogurt, beans, and even crab. But if you can’t or don’t eat any of those foods (again, vegans and vegetarians), you need a vitamin supplement.
Dieters Have Special Challenges
If you’re trying to lose weight, your need for vitamin supplements may become even greater as you avoid certain foods that previously provided you the vitamins you needed.
For example, if you’re restricting your daily calorie consumption, you may be avoiding some of the foods that are part of a balanced diet. You may give up high carbohydrate foods or dairy products. You may elect to cut back so much that suddenly you’re having hunger pangs that you’ve never experienced with your normal diet.
So how do you get the vitamins you really need and handle those nasty hunger pangs, as well?
You guessed it: dietary supplements.
There is a dietary supplement to supply almost every necessary vitamin. Combined vitamin tablets can provide for your daily needs. There are also many popular products designed to help control your hunger, or to prevent certain fats from being absorbed into your body, or for speeding up your metabolism.
It’s important to remember that many of these supplements should be used for a limited time only. Always attempt to reach your required vitamin requirements through natural means first (proper nutrition, lots of vigorous exercise, moderation and portion control) before relying heavily upon any kind of diet supplement.
Consider your supplements a temporary measure to help you reach a specific goal. Then once you have reached it, re-visit your natural diet to see how you can keep your vitamin needs and calorie needs in synch for the optimum body weight.