Our bodies require micronutrients that comprise vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, which consist of proteins, carbohydrates and fat. While micronutrients are required in small quantities, they have a huge impact on our holistic well-being.
Our environment has changed drastically over the years and our soil lacks the essential nutrients that existed 50 or even 100 years ago. Despite following a balanced diet, there are still deficiencies in the body we are not aware of. Hence, we need vitamin supplements so the body does not go into a negative misbalance.
CORRECT DOSAGE INTAKE
These vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be bridged by identifying them, understanding the correct dosage and the right duration for intake. This is not a replacement for a good diet but must work in conjunction with it. Vitamin supplements can’t make up for fad diets or starvation—they only ensure there is no nutrition deficiency.
While there are many ways to take vitamins, it is also crucial how we consume them. They come in the form of tablets, syrups, effervescent vitamins and even gummies. Gummies can seem fun but we must remember we consume enough sugar already. The same argument can be made for syrups.
I like the idea of effervescent vitamins better because it bridges the gap between those who cannot swallow tablets or have it as a syrup. It is absorbed better in the gut as it passes through the stomach easily. There is a different acid-alkaline balance in the body. If our stomach is more acidic, our vitamins do not need to have that much acid. Effervescent vitamins do not get disturbed by the PH change that occurs when passing through the digestive tract.
Gummy vitamins might look cute but they have a lot of sugar
INDIA’S VITAL VITAMINS
In India, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Magnesium and Zinc deficiency is common because of our lifestyle and environment. Even people who get their dose of Vitamin B12 through non-vegetarian diets are not able to absorb it completely. Predominantly vegetarian ethnic groups lack B12, which is found only in animal food and a bit from the bacteria in our gut.
Since there is not enough of B12 going into our system, supplementation becomes crucial. In a tropical country like ours, even though we get sufficient sun through the year, the pollution levels and our own evolution has stopped the human production of vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D is also linked to mental illnesses like depression and dementia. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to hormone-related disorders like diabetes, PCOS and an irregular cycle.
Magnesium is also a very crucial nutrient and important for muscle tone. However, our body tends to throw it out of the system.
If there is no muscle tone in the intestine, it leads to constipation. We get tremors, muscle spasms and experience a loss of appetite. All these are interrelated. Magnesium and zinc deficiency can also lead to a loss of immunity, which means falling prey to cough, cold and other health problems. Diarrhoea also leads to depletion of magnesium.
Vitamin B12 is found in animal food and in the bacteria in our gut
NOT ALL VITAMINS ARE GOOD
Always consult a doctor or nutritionist to know the right combination and dosage of vitamins and refrain from ordering vitamins over the counter. Lastly, there is always an expiry date which means we cannot take vitamins indefinitely; an excess of vitamins is also not good.
A common mistake people make is that they do not collate the prescribed vitamins to different specialists like a gynaecologist, dermatologist or nutritionist and end up taking an overdose of the prescribed vitamins. Even gym instructors give you vitamins.
In the quest of doing good for your body, you might be damaging it. Remember: everyone has a different vitamin requirement depending on his or her age, weight, gender and health ailments. There is no blanket rule.
Taking an overdose of vitamins is harmful. Always collate the prescribed vitamins
Pooja Makhija is the Nutrition Ambassador of Fast&Up.