Do I need to take a vitamin supplement?

In short, no. Vitamin supplements are designed to top up your diet with essential nutrients that might be missing. But if you eat a healthy, balanced diet you shouldn’t need to supplement. A healthy balanced diet includes;

  • A variety of fruit and veggies – at least 5-a-day!
  • Plenty of high fibre starchy foods, for example wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta.
  • Have some beans, pulses, fish, meat, eggs and other foods rich in protein. If having meat and fish remove the skin and opt for lean cuts.
  • Have some milk and dairy foods, or suitable alternatives. Make sure that alternatives are fortified with iodine and calcium.
  • Limit foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

Remember that more isn’t always better. Water-soluble vitamins (B and C) are not stored in the body so any excess results in expensive wee! Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are stored in our fat tissue. Too much of these vitamins can make us unwell. For example, too much Vitamin E is dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease as this increases the risk of heart attacks. Nutritional requirements for each vitamin vary, so it is important to be aware of your requirements if you choose to take a supplement.

Despite the risks, vitamin supplements can be a really helpful for those who need them. Some people struggle to meet their requirements due to a range of health, lifestyle and environmental factors. For these groups they can quite literally be a life-saver. If you think you might need a supplement then ask your GP, a Dietitian or pharmacist. Only buy vitamin supplements from reputable sources and always check they are in date and that the dose is correct.

Good nutrition is one of the three pillars that underpins The Life Plan. Take a look at the Nutrition page to find out how we can help you to make the right food choices that will nourish your body!