Understanding Vitamin Supplements

What are some common myths and misunderstandings when it comes to taking vitamins? Alternately, what are some things we must definitely keep in mind?

The most common misconception when it comes to vitamins is that they boost your metabolism. People believe they get additional nutrition or power upon intake of vitamin supplements. Various products may claim different things, however, they do not guarantee better immunity or health. Vitamins and supplements are only good when consumed as prescribed by a specialist in the specified amounts. It is necessary to buy vitamins upon consultation with a specialist and basis their recommendation. Do not go by the marketing gimmicks and reviews of a product and consume it, if not required. Vitamins are required for metabolism, but only in appropriate quantities. An overdose of vitamins can cause hypervitaminosis and lack of it can cause a deficiency.

There are various ways in which we can get additional vitamins – pill form, drink form, as patches, as IV drips. Which is most effective, according to you (other than directly through healthy food).

Apart from vitamins absorbed by the body directly through the food that we consume, the recommended and widely used means of vitamin intake is through pills. Since there is a vitamin deficiency in the body, any intake of vitamin will be absorbed, however, pills are better absorbed. IV patches are not a very convenient mode of vitamin intake for patients. Moreover, patches are still being studied hence the medicine absorption is highly questionable.

Vitamin patches, for example, the ones offered by Vitamins Injections London, claim to be much more effective than pills. They say: “Even the best quality oral supplements can only provide 8-15% of vitamins or active ingredients into the bloodstream, unlike Vitamin Injections London patches which provide 90% of vitamins directly into the bloodstream, via 12 hours of continuous transcutaneous nutrient delivery.” What might be your medical opinion on this product and methodology?

This methodology is still in its infancy stage as it is still being researched about and studied. Further evaluation is required in order to prove its effectiveness.

Each person’s needs will obviously differ based on their gender, age, lifestyle etc. But are there any dos and don’ts for particular categories that you could highlight? For example, vegans should take vitamin B12. So what would you say are the needs of women who are trying to conceive / those who are pregnant; those who are going through menopause; men who are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s; people who are diabetic / obese / have sedentary jobs; children etc.

  • Pregnancy – Folic acid, Vitamin D/calcium
  • Menopause – Vitamin A, E & D, B-Complex
  • Men over 40 years of age – Vitamin D
  • Diabetics – Multivitamins including Vitamin A, C, D & K and Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6
  • Obese – Vitamin D, B & E

In all cases, vitamins are best when obtained from natural sources like food.

Any other comments you might have on vitamins, and how we should use them, would be more than welcome.

Many vitamin supplements may have unexpected side effects to the body. Never consume any vitamins or supplements that you are not prescribed. Most of us tend to self-diagnose health conditions and take over the counter medications for cure, which is harmful for an individual. Inform your healthcare provider about the vitamin supplements you are consuming in order to be able to understand what is good for you and what isn’t. Always consult with a specialist before consuming any supplements, each individual has different requirements and will require tailor-made medications. Hence, a healthcare professional may best be able to advise you basis your individual requirement.

*As told to The National*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Suhail Abbas

General Physician

Aster Specialist Clinic for Orthopaedics and Physiotherapy

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