image

These are the 3 supplements most worth considering – according to a doctor

Practically everything comes in pill form these days, but which ones are actually important? Prudence Wade asks a doctor for their key advice.

We’re given so much – often conflicting – advice on how to live healthily, that it can easily get overwhelming. Are carbs actually the devil? Should we be counting macros? And what about supplements?

No doubt you’ve come across a whole range of ‘guidance’ on which vitamins and minerals you need to be topping up on with pills. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know what’s actually worth your time – not to mention your money, as buying tubs upon tubs of supplements doesn’t come cheap.

With this in mind, we asked Dr Faiza Khalid, a GP at MedicSpot.co.uk, for her take on the matter. With all the contradictory information flying around, what supplements should you actually consider taking? (Of course, nutritional needs aren’t always ‘one-size-fits-all’ and if you’re concerned about ongoing symptoms or deficiencies, it’s best to check in with your doctor.)

Supplement vitamin multivitamin health herbal alternative antioxidant

Here are three supplements Khalid says could be useful to certain people – but bear in mind, these aren’t a replacement for a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.

1. Vitamin D

“Out of all of the vitamin supplements, vitamin D is the one that most people living in the UK should consider taking,” says Khalid.

So, why is it so essential? “Vitamin D helps with absorbing calcium and phosphate from our diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth, muscles and all our body systems,” Khalid explains. “While exposure to natural sunlight provides most people in the UK with all the vitamin D they need from late March to early April, this is not the case during the winter months.”

From October to early March, your vitamin D levels will drop because the sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation for your body to produce the much-needed vitamin. While vitamin D can be found in foods like oily fish, red meat and eggs too, Khalid points out: “It is difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone. Everyone – including pregnant and breastfeeding women – should consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months.” In fact, Public Health England advises taking a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months.

Don’t be tempted to ‘boost’ your levels by taking far more than is recommended, however. “Taking more vitamin D than is required for a long period of time might lead to hypercalcaemia, a build-up of calcium in the body which can weaken your bones and damage your heart and kidneys,” Khalid notes.

2. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is found in foods like meat, fish and dairy unlike vitamin D, this one isn’t as widely recommended. Instead, the group Khalid thinks may need to consider taking vitamin B12 supplements are vegans.

“This is because vegans are at a higher risk of developing a deficiency, as they do not eat foods such as meat, fish and dairy products which provide enough vitamin B12 for most people,” she explains. Vitamin B12 is vital for helping make red blood cells, as well as supporting the nervous system.

However, Khalid also notes it can “take a long time to develop a deficiency after changing your diet, as your body stores vitamin B12 for around two to four years”.

 

 

3. Iron

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. It’s an important mineral because it makes up part of haemoglobin – the substance found in red blood cells which helps transport oxygen around your body.

There’s no doubt it’s crucial to health – but not everyone should rush into buying supplements. However some people may be more at risk of developing low levels, or iron-deficiency anaemia. “Young women with heavy periods may wish to consider taking an iron supplement because they are at a higher risk of iron-deficiency anaemia,” Khalid advises. “This causes tiredness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and pale skin. If you believe you may have an iron deficiency, you should see a GP first, who will be able to do a simple blood test to determine if you are anaemic.”

If there’s no chance you could be anaemic, it’s easy to maintain healthy iron levels through your diet. There is a varied range of foods rich in the mineral – anything from red meat, to pumpkin seeds and spinach are among good sources.

And the one you really shouldn’t bother with…

Vegetables GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Your first priority should be making sure your diet is well rounded and balanced, before you start thinking about supplements. And remember to check in with your GP if you are concerned.

One you probably shouldn’t waste your time on? According to MedicSpot GP Dr Abby Hyams, that’ll be beta-carotene supplements. “You should be able to get enough beta-carotene from the foods you eat. Beta-carotene is found in yellow and green vegetables and yellow fruit,” she explains.

Disclaimer
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.

Have you got a health question?

Silversurfers Health partner is AXA PPP healthcare. The AXA PPP healthcare's online service, "Ask the Expert", allows you to ask their team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives, counselors and pharmacists about any health topic.

Don't feel alone. You can ask anything about your health, any time for 24 hours a day; everyday. Please get in touch with us now.
ASK THE EXPERT

The following two tabs change content below.

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!