A previous blog post discussed vitamin and mineral supplements–what purpose they can serve, and the importance of quality. But when should you consider a supplement?
In order for the body to absorb vitamin D from the sun, the UV index needs to be above 3 (on a scale of 0-10). OK, but UV rays are bad for the skin and can increase the risk of skin cancer, right? Living in Canada means days or weeks can go by without seeing the sun in the winter. Plus, if you have fairer skin, the sun is much more dangerous. So, there are two challenges here: 1) UV rays are dangerous calling for sunblock and a hat; and 2) The sun doesn’t come out much in the winter, or it’s weak at best (little to no UV rays).
Regarding calcium, the recommended amount needed daily for optimum health means a lot of dairy products, dark leafy greens (like kale) and sardines. Yum. You probably don’t eat broccoli and kale at every meal, could have some lactose intolerance and just don’t like sardines. Also, for the body to properly absorb calcium it needs to be taken with Vitamin D.
This is a good example of when you need a supplement to “fill in the gaps” in your nutrition. You don’t get enough UV from the sun, therefore you have a deficiency of vitamin D. You don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods every day, therefore you need a calcium supplement.
Additionally, life changes, like pregnancy, can require a supplement. Women need iron during pregnancy, and babies that are breastfeeding need vitamin D, so it’s important to consider dietary changes and/or a supplement. Folic acid is important for any woman that is or is considering getting pregnant due to its importance in preventing birth defects.
If you’re concerned your diet is not providing enough nutrients or recent blood work has confirmed deficiencies, talk to Dr. Roach and his team about what vitamins and minerals you can add to fill in the nutritional gaps.
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