Choosing the right vitamin and mineral supplements

Vitamin and mineral supplements can help offset the negative effects of a hectic lifestyle or aging. Which are right for you?

Choosing the right vitamin and mineral supplements

Why take vitamin and mineral supplements?

In a perfect world, everyone would get all their necessary vitamins and minerals from a rich and varied diet of fresh foods. The body more easily absorbs nutrients from real food sources. They provide the added benefits of fibre, protein and carbohydrates, all of which are necessary to keep you functioning at peak strength.

In reality, it’s hard to find time to buy fresh ingredients and prepare balanced meals on a daily basis, and some of those nutrients can go missing from your diet. That’s where vitamins and supplements come in.

A healthcare professional can help you decide whether you need a daily multivitamin or individual supplement based on your age, gender, lifestyle, medical history and whether you are currently on prescribed medication.

Important vitamin and mineral supplements

It’s important to know the names of key vitamins and minerals and the vital role each one plays in supporting your health.

  • Vitamin A: Promotes good vision and immune and reproductive functions.
  • Vitamin B: The “B” vitamins include vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. As a group, they help your body process food and create new blood cells. Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin.
  • Vitamin C: This fat-soluble vitamin readily dissolves in the body and contains multiple health benefits.
  • Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin is essential during the winter months in northern climates.
  • Vitamin E: It contains powerful antioxidants that guard against cell damage.
  • Calcium: A mineral required for the maintenance of strong bones.
  • Magnesium: A fundamental mineral critical to good health.
  • Potassium: Helps to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
  • Iron: Maintains stamina and energy.
  • Zinc: Bolsters the immune system to prevent disease.

Factors to consider when buying vitamin and mineral supplements

Don’t assume that just any multivitamin will satisfy your needs. Take all of these factors into account.

  • Age: Supplements can help offset the effects of aging and support cell growth and reproduction.
  • Gender: Men and women differ in the type and amount of vitamins and minerals they need.
  • General health: Your doctor may prescribe a daily multivitamin if you suffer from a chronic medical condition.
  • Climate and season: Certain supplements are essential if you lack access to fresh foods or spend a lot of time indoors.
  • Lifestyle: A high-stress or athletic lifestyle may require supplements for cell repair and maintenance.
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