The ELLE guide to every type of vitamin supplement
Know your vitamin B12 from your vitamin D
As anyone who’s encountered the very extensive vitamin wall at the local drugstore can attest (so, everyone), the amount of supplements marketed at women is downright confusing. Can’t sleep? There’s a pill for that. Sleeping too much? There’s a pill for that. Left hand bigger than your right? There’s a pill for that, too. [Author’s note: Just kidding, there’s no pill to even out the size of your hands. Go see a doctor. That’s weird.] Have you ever wondered: What vitamin supplements do experts actually recommend? Here, ELLE speaks to Dr Daria Fielder GP at Sapphire Medical Practice, along with Cheryl Goodman, Swisse health expert and naturopath, to get a better understanding of vitamin supplements and the ailments they treat.
Important: Below is a general guide to vitamin supplements. If you’re experiencing ongoing symptoms, see your family doctor for a check-up. That way, they can organise a few blood tests (if necessary), or point you in the direction of your vitamin you’re lacking.
What vitamin should I take if I feel tired?
“You might be deficient in iron or vitamin B12,” says Dr Fielder. “You could also have an underlying thyroid disorder or you might simply need to increase your hydration and sleep.”
What vitamin should I take if I can’t sleep?
“Magnesium can help relax the body,” says Goodman. “So it can be good to take if you’re having trouble sleeping.”
Although, sleep is very complex. As Dr Fielder explains, “Insomnia is common and can be debilitating.” Before investing in a supplement, she recommends reducing your caffeine intake, exercising in the morning, meditating and having a regular sleep-wake cycle. “If this is not working, you can try a herbal supplement such as valerian,” Dr Fielder says. “If you are still experiencing difficulty with sleep, please discuss this with your General Practitioner.”
What vitamin should I take if I have sore muscles?
Dr Fielder and Goodman both agree that magnesium can be beneficial for sore muscles.
What vitamin should I take if I’m a vegetarian?
“The nutrients which can be more challenging for vegetarians and vegans to achieve the recommended intake for are protein, iron and vitamin B12,” says Goodman.
What vitamin should I take if I feel anxious?
If you’re having trouble with anxiety, Dr Fielder recommends lifestyle changes first: “Improve sleep, increase exercise, reduce caffeine and meditate. If this fails, you need a proper assessment with your doctor to exclude underlying physical issues and once that is resolved, to discuss management.”
When it comes to supplements for anxiety, Dr Fielder recommends, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and fish oil.
What vitamin should I take if I don’t get a lot of sunlight?
If you don’t get much time in the sun, you might be deficient in vitamin D. According to Dr Fielder, vitamin D is important for your bones and to prevent osteoporosis.
What vitamin should I take if I feel rundown?
If you feel rundown, you could be lacking in particular B vitamins. “To assist energy, a good quality multivitamin with a high dose of B vitamins is my pick,” says Goodman.
Dr Fielder recommends lifestyle changes. “Improve your diet, reduce sugar, saturated fats, increase regular protein and improve sleep,” she says. Failing that, check in with your doctor.
What vitamins should I take if I have digestive problems?
“Digestive symptoms can indicate an array of challenges,” says Goodman. “A good place to start is a good quality probiotic, adequate fibre and water. St Mary’s Thistle (milk thistle), globe artichoke, turmeric and slippery elm are also great herbs to assist with digestion which are commonly found in supplements.”
What vitamin should I take if I have the flu?
Combat the flu with a “a high dose of vitamin C , zinc, echinacea” says Dr Fielder. “However, best way to prevent the flu is through influenza vaccination.”
What vitamin should I take if I have bad period pain?
“Persistent period pain should be investigated by a health care professional,” says Goodman. And Dr Fielder agrees, “If your period pain is debilitating and not responding to basic analgesia, you need to discuss this with your doctor.”
What vitamin should I take if I have acne?
If you have persistent acne, you’re better off booking an appointment with your GP. “Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that is due to hormones, bacteria and blocked pores,” Dr Fielder says. “Topical vitamin A has been shown to reduce acne by unblocking pores and is available on prescription.”
For acne sufferers, that trip to the doctor is worth it. As Dr Fielder explains, “There are many effective topical agents available on prescription from your doctor.”
From: ELLE AU