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Should I take vitamin supplements?

It’s a market worth three quarters of a billion pounds in the UK. Often I get asked does taking supplement pills, actually do us any good?

There are two types of vitamin: water soluble (like vitamin C and the B vitamins), and fat soluble (like vitamins A & D). If your body already has enough of the water soluble vitamins, then when you take more, they are just filtered straight out into your urine. You can’t ‘boost’ your vitamin levels past ‘enough’. With the fat soluble vitamins, they are stored in your fat and places like the liver, and if you take a large extra dose you can actually overdose on them, so they are usually found in much smaller quantities in vitamin pills.

A study by the Food Standards Agency recently showed that the average Briton gets all their recommended daily allowance of every dietary vitamin from their normal food and drink. And if you already have enough of each vitamin in your body, and taking supplement vitamin pills cannot give you a ‘boost’ or give you any health benefit.

There are a few important cases where vitamin supplements can be useful, though: growing children between 6 months and 4 years old should take vitamins A, C & D. Very strict vegetarians may need supplementary vitamin B12, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also consider supplements – especially vitamin D and folic acid.

Vitamin D is rare in our diet, and is formed in the body when we are exposed to sunlight, and in the UK many of us are not getting enough so the elderly and housebound should consider it as well as young children and those pregnant and breastfeeding.

Personally for me as I do sweat a fair amount during the day due to my classes more so in the summer (don't worry i do shower too) I feel I do benefit from taking a multi vitamin supplement, so if your considering taking a supplement think about your own lifestyle, diet and consult your doctor as you don't want to be wasting your money.

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