Generally, by following a healthy balanced diet, you can achieve the recommended intake of all nutrients and dietary components, without the need for supplements. However, in certain cases, supplements are recommended.
When are Supplements Recommended?
Folic acid is recommended for all women of reproductive age. Folate cannot be stored in the body; therefore, it is needed in the diet every day. Women and teenagers who may become pregnant within the next year require a 400 micrograms folic acid supplement daily along with following a healthy balanced diet. This can help to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida in the event of pregnancy.
In Ireland, vitamin D is recommended during the autumn and winter months. A daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D is recommended from October to March. There are very few food sources of vitamin D along with minimal sun exposure in Ireland during certain times of the year, therefore, a supplement can help meet our vitamin D requirements. It is best to take a vitamin D supplement with a large meal to aid absorption.
In addition, if you are opting for an eating pattern that involves removing certain food groups, for instance, following a Vegan diet, you may need to supplement. Animal products contain essential vitamins and minerals such as B12 and iron, therefore removing the food group may lead to a reduced intake and require supplementation. It is important to talk to your GP before taking supplements to determine if they are necessary.
When Taking Supplements
When opting for supplements, make sure to read the label and do not exceed the recommended intake.
Therefore, in general, if you follow a healthy balanced diet, it is not necessary to take supplements. However, there are specific cases, for example, pregnant women, in which it is recommended to take supplements. Before taking supplements, make sure to talk to your GP or a healthcare professional, to ensure it is necessary and potential issues to be aware of.
How can we help?
GourmetFuel can help provide a healthy balanced diet with lots of variety to help you achieve your recommended intake of nutrients and dietary components. All our meals are developed by nutritionists to ensure they are nutritionally balanced. You can shop all our meals here.
British Nutrition Foundation https://archive.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/food-supplements-factsheet.html
HSE ‘Vitamin D’ https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/