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Vitamin Supplements: Yay or Nay!


Vitamin Supplements

Yay or Nay!

A multivitamin benefits you in numerous ways. A supplement can easily meet your daily recommended allowance for all vitamins and minerals. If nutritionists think that your nutrient needs are not being adequately met, they do recommend supplements. So before diving in the Vitamin Sea, talk to your physician and let them draw you a personal dietary plan.

It is a very common myth when it comes to consuming vitamins and supplement pills. These are in no way a substitute for a balanced diet. Remember, supplements, not substitutes!

Vitamin Pills for Weight Gain

If you are trying to put on a healthy weight,  be prepared to be prescribed vitamin pills. 

Studies have shown that women taking multivitamins experienced reduced hunger levels. Men who have consumed vitamins and dietary supplements had a lower body weight and fat mass compared to men who did not take multivitamins.  The intake of nutrients impacts your appetite and therefore food intake. These vitamins and minerals aid synthesis of hunger hormones such as insulin, leptin, and cortisol that control your food intake and thus help control weight.  For example, if your body is low on vitamin B6, you might experience an increased appetite. This happens due to a decrease in your brain’s serotonin levels.

Consuming Vitamin Supplements in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s macronutrient intake grows significantly. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

The requirement for micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and trace elements increases even more. Vitamins and minerals boost maternal and fetal growth at all stages of pregnancy. They are essential to support critical functions like cell growth and cell signaling. A nutrient-rich diet is often recommended during this time. If growing demand is not being fulfilled, Vitamin and mineral supplements are added to the diet. Like any medication, all vitamin supplements should be approved by your physician to ensure they are taken in safe amounts.

Some common vitamins in the form of supplements like Vitamin D, Folate, Iron, Magnesium are highly recommended. They can even include probiotic drinks.

The ones that are a big no during pregnancy are Vitamin A and E. As vitamin A is fat-soluble, your body stores it in excess amounts in the liver. Long term accumulation of these can have toxic effects on the body, even leading to liver damage. In the worst cases, they are even reported to cause birth defects in babies.

Common Side Effects

There seems to be no real advantage of consuming vitamins and minerals other than your daily requirements. Mild symptoms include difficulty in sleeping or concentrating, numbness or tingling in certain parts of the body and feeling irritable during the day. Depending on the nutrients that you take in excess, you can experience stomach ache, constipation, and diarrhea.

Now that you know what works and what doesn’t, make an informed choice to ‘supplement’ the right way.