Over 40% of us regularly take at least one vitamin or mineral supplement, but do they really improve our health, or are they just money down the drain? Matt Lovell, performance nutritionist and Ambassador for Kinetica Sports explains.
In an ideal world people would follow a regime of regular exercise and healthy eating, such as a fully varied and nutritious diet. There then wouldn’t be a need for additional vitamins and dietary supplements (e.g. protein drinks). However, we all know that time pressure, combined with modern food choices and farming methods has reduced the range of nutrients available to us.
Supplements can help provide convenience and make up for short falls in our diets. If diet alone was adequate then we wouldn’t have a large percentage of the population showing deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as omega 3 fats, b-vitamins and things like vitamin D.
Statistically, people are buying more supplements and this is both good and bad. It’s good as people might be more health aware but it is bad if they are using them instead of a varied diet. Advertising probably has a lot to do with it, as do diet programmes which rely overtly on shakes as meal replacements.
In the real world people are simply not eating appropriately. This is due to an over emphasis on omega 6 fats, a generally inadequate level of proteins and omega 3 fatty acids, combined with excess grain consumption and severely restricted vegetable and fruit consumption. B-vitamins are also hugely lacking in people’s diets, along with magnesium and other essential minerals.
It should be noted that if you supplement regularly it is advisable to get your bloods checked from a medical professional.
Also, make sure to look out for brands with a pharmaceutical grade, they should follow GMP manufacturing standards, drug screening and use quality forms of ingredients – e.g. no fillers or binders. They should also keep to bioavailable forms of minerals and vitamins – using the enzyme activated forms where possible.
Therefore, if you are going to use supplements make sure you do your research and also ensure that you follow a healthy, balanced and varied diet plan.