The pros and cons of vitamin supplements

Millions of Britons start their day by taking vitamin supplements. It was once believed that these supplements could be a replacement for a balanced diet. However in recent years, there has been much publicity about the potential threats that some vitamin supplements pose. Here we look at the pros and cons of vitamins.

Pros of vitamin supplements

Vitamins and minerals are absolutely essential to maintain healthy body function, health and general well-being. Those who don't get enough of these substances in their diets can suffer from vitamin deficiencies unless they take a supplement. Although supplements can't replace all the benefits of a healthy diet, they can be useful when one or two vitamins are lacking.

For example, the diet of vegans usually has insufficient levels of vitamin B-12. Taking vitamin B-12 supplements can reduce their chances of getting anaemia.

Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that can help to prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease, and they can also help to slow down the ageing process.

Cons of vitamin supplements

Unfortunately, there are a number of disadvantages involved in taking vitamin supplements.

The cost is an obvious factor - supplements can be expensive, especially considering that they are consumed everyday.

Supplements may also interfere with other drugs or medications that you may be taking for an illness or a condition.

While it's almost impossible to overdose on a vitamin through food, it is easily done when taking multi vitamin. Overdoses can be very harmful, especially if you're regularly exceeding the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) over prolonger periods of time.

Who should take vitamin supplements

Some people can benefit from vitamin supplements more than others. They can be particularly beneficial for:

  • Women who are pregnant or breast feeding
  • Adults over 50
  • People with low calorie diets
  • Vegans
  • Smokers
  • People with food allergies and people whose diets exclude whole food groups

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