You’re probably lacking these vitamins

Tips for optimising your health & wellbeing

By Contributor • 3 years ago • NUTRITION

 

It’s talk of the town and we’re keen to understand the pros and cons of taking daily supplements. More so, how do we know if we’re taking the right vitamins or getting enough from our daily diet? We hand over to Accredited Sports Dietitian Harriet Walker to take us through the ropes. All your burning questions answered below:

‘The message is always going to be eat food to achieve optimal nutritional status, however it is common that dietary choices, life stage, physical activity and a heavy work load leads to some amount of supplementation being beneficial.

Australians aren’t consuming the recommended daily intake

Research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2011 indicated that Australians are not consuming the recommended daily intake for fruit and vegetables, which are rich in important micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre. The same report indicated that as a nation we tend to choose refined carbohydrates over wholegrains that have more fibre and micronutrients to offer. In this case, short-term supplementation is beneficial.

 

So, what are we lacking and how does it affect us?

The top micronutrients that are commonly measured with inadequate nutritional intake include calcium, Vitamin D, Iron, some B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids.

Low intakes of micronutrients lead to low energy levels, especially with low iron, lowered immune function, general complaints of fatigue. Over the long term, untreated deficiencies can lead to more serious consequences.

 

How effective is supplementing?

Beyond general nutrition, supplementation has been shown to assist with a number of conditions. In these cases we are not talking just aiming for prevention of disease, we are looking at optimising health and improving quality of life.

In 2015, it was estimated that 15% of Australians suffered from arthritis, a condition that worsens with age. In particular osteoarthritis, an inflammatory condition that affects joints, was reported to affect 58% of people presenting with arthritis. Supplementation with glucosamine has been associated with positive outcomes for people with joint pain. Turmeric is another supplement which is showing to be a promising supplement for the treatment of joint pain, mainly for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

What about multi-vitamins?

Within an athletic population, particularly where energy may be being restricted, with high training volumes, travel or limited food variety, a multivitamin may be useful in order to reduce risk of deficiency over the long term while regular intake may be disrupted. Of particular note is iron, which is commonly low in athletes, especially females, which should be monitored and supplemented where a diagnosis has been made.

 

What if I’m vegan or vegetarian?

Then there are people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet who may also require supplementation in order to maintain an optimal health status, as there are nutrients such as vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Omega 3 fatty acids that are not available at the required amounts in a full or partial plant based diet.’

Unsure what vitamins you’re lacking but keen to up your health game? We’re currently obsessing over My Vitamin Packs. MVP creates a bespoke daily vitamin pack for you, according to your lifestyle, gender, age and overall health requirements. 

 

 


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