Food supplements are consumed to fill in the gaps of nutrient deficiency of the body. It has a range of types, from vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals to amino acids and many other specific substances that cater to the needs of each person.
Here are the different groups who may benefit from supplements consumption:
Children Below 5 – Vitamin A, C, D
Vitamin A is one of the key nutrients a child needs as he goes on his development stage. It helps in cell growth, the development of good vision, and in protecting the immune system against viral diseases common among kids. Meanwhile, Vitamin C is needed to help them build a stronger immune system against common colds and may lessen the risks of pneumonia. Lastly, Vitamin D is needed to aid in the development of their bones.
There will not be much problem if a child has a good appetite. If eating a variety of nutritious food is something the child enjoys, there is no pressing need for a supplement. However, if the child is a picky eater, giving a multivitamin supplement is a better option to maintain the child’s good health as he grows.
People with Less Exposure to the Sun – Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium in the gut for healthier and stronger bone development. However, this vitamin is not a common nutrient found in plant and animal food. The best way to get this is through sun exposure. Vitamin D is produced with the skin is exposed to the sunlight, giving a person a natural source of vitamins.
But there are many instances when people cannot just go out and get exposed to the sun. Some stay indoors most of the time due to work or are bed-ridden, especially the elderly. If there is no option to catch the sun outside, a Vitamin D supplement is a great help.
Vegans and the Elderly - Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in making red blood cells. The body does not make vitamin B12. One can get supplies from animal-based food such as salmon, tuna fish, beef liver, and calms.
Elderlies need red blood cells to aid in their health. Red blood cells help in transporting oxygen to the body's tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide, which they carry to the lungs to be expelled. Some elderly who has a hard time breathing should never run out of red blood cells in their body, thus the need for Vitamin B12.
Moreover, the lack of Vitamin B12 may serve quite a challenge for vegans. One option can be nutritional yeast which can be sprinkled in oatmeal and salad or fortified food like soy products that has Vitamin B12. If not, there is a high chance of getting low blood levels. To fill in this gap, getting a Vitamin B12 supplement is an option.
Pregnant Women - Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential vitamin for pregnant women. It has an important role in proper prenatal development, giving the unborn babies the nutrients they need to grow safely and healthily during its 9 months inside the womb and even after the mother’s delivery. Expecting moms can get folic acid mostly from grains products—breads, flours, kinds of pasta, rice, and cereals. However, physicians still require pregnant women to consume folic acid supplements to aid against possible deficiency.
Things to Ponder on
Even when supplements can be widely available in the market, it is highly advisable to seek consultation with a physician before intake of specific doses. Remember, supplements are not made to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and others. It should also be noted that vitamins should never act as a replacement for food, but rather as a supplement to fill in some of these deficiencies in our diet.
Still, the most important source of nutrition for your body is going to be through whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Supplements only come in when, after consultations from health specialists, you are confirmed of a nutrient deficiency. While consuming supplements is generally safe, too much intake of a specific nutrient is not necessary.