What Vitamins to Take and When



By Kellie Whitehead


Boosting our health and immune system is a good idea at any age or life stage, but with overwhelming ‘noise’ around the supplements and vitamins industry - bolstered by new brands, celebrity endorsements and faddy trends - it’s easy to be overwhelmed and simply ignore the benefits to adding extra vitamins and nutrients to our daily diets, amongst the vast array available, and where we can find them naturally.


Here’s a breakdown of the vitamin basics and what they help with.


Magnesium

Commonly deficient in most of our diets, our muscles, bones, and teeth benefit from supplementary magnesium, and importantly, our nervous system too.

Low magnesium levels contribute to anxiety, fatigue, PMT and general stress.


Why don’t we get enough?

It’s harder to absorb than other nutrients.

Where to find it naturally?

Your mother was right - in every green vegetable.


Iron

Helping to promote those red blood cells, which so usefully oxygenate our bodies, Iron is also needed to produce hormones and neurotransmitters.

Many women are Iron deficient.


Why don’t we get enough?

Heavy periods and generally being of childbearing age means that we need to ensure our levels are efficient, as we lose so much through blood loss.

Where to find it naturally?

Spinach!

Yuck! Where else?

In tablet form but know that it can disturb gut health in this form, causing constipation or a distressed tummy. You can also get Iron easily in a spray, which you use in the mouth and is absorbed directly, which bypassed the stomach and intestines to avoid any extra grumbles.


Folic acid

We are regularly prompted to take this for healthier pregnancies, but it should really be taken by anyone of childbearing age.


Folic acid aids the formation of blood cells - look out for ‘folate’ on labelling - it’s the active form of folic acid - and it helps protect the nervous system.


Where to find it naturally?

Shellfish, red meat, liver wholegrain pulses and cereals, egg yolk and dairy produce all help promote folates.


Vitamin C

Our immune system needs Vitamin C for a boost - but it isn’t a beauty product staple for nothing. It also boosts collagen as well as keeping your bones and organs in check. We might get plenty of it from our diet, or think we do but the demands placed on our bodies, and the work vitamin C must do, means that we are often deficient when we don’t realise it.


Why don’t we get enough?

There are different types which benefit different people and conditions. Not all supplements are the same to match our individual bodily processes. People with PCOS, Diabetes or insulin resistant, for example, would benefit from Liposomal vitamin C as it transports the vitamin to every cell in the body and isn’t dependent on glucose to deliver.

Where to find it naturally?

Oranges, to state the obvious, but chilli is a vit C superfood alongside strawberries, pineapple, broccoli cauliflower and kale.


Vitamin E

Great for your heart health, vitamin E is an antioxidant with blood thinning properties and can also offer brain protecting properties, for those enjoying a diet rich in it


Where to find it naturally?

Increase your vitamin E intake via vegetable oils - including sunflower, wheatgerm and soybean oil, nuts and seeds.


Vitamin B

A group of 8 vitamins that work to provide benefits to the body including production of enzymes and metabolism, merging together to convert food into energy, produce red blood cells and protect the nervous system. A vitamin B tablet would contain all 8 B vitamins - and work well alongside vitamin C supplements and foods for greater effectiveness. You can buy each B vitamin separately if you did not want to take the multi vit B form.


Where to find it naturally?

For the widest range of all 8 B vitamins, add kidney beans, cereals and whole grains, green leafy vegetables, eggs, chicken, nuts, citrus fruits, and bananas to your diet.


Omega Oils

Known to us all via their over promotion on pesky advertisements, there is a reason they are so popular. Omega Oils look after your cholesterol levels, promote bone health and boost both immunity and mood. Omega Oils are made up of essential fatty acids, omega 3, 6 and 9.


Why don’t we get enough?

In general, most of us have a good amount of omega 6 and 9 in our diets through nuts, seeds and spreads. It's number 3 that we don’t have enough of, and it’s this one that is so good at supporting mental health and hormone production.

Where to find it naturally?

Fish! The oily kind of course, so think salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring and pilchards.


What about multivitamins?

Easy - get ‘em all in at once, right? Ideally, we would get all we need from our natural diets of course, but well - life. A multivitamin is obviously the solution to ensure we are taking the supplementary help that we need. Convenient and readily available for sure, but note that you will be getting much smaller doses of individual vitamins, and your own immunity or health concerns might warrant more of a particular vitamin. Opt for food state vitamins versus synthetic versions for extra potency.