By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy
March is National Nutrition Month, serving as a timely reminder of nutrition’s important role in fostering better health.
Vitamins and minerals are essential to ensure normal body function. For your body to complete daily tasks at optimal levels, it requires a complex variety of vitamins including, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Without these resources, nutritional deficiencies can occur, resulting in unhealthy outcomes including weakness, fatigue, depression, weight change and more.
Consuming a varied and balanced diet is the best source of essential vitamins and minerals, yet daily intake requirements are likely not being met. In fact, the CDC reports that fewer than 1 in 10 U.S. adults and adolescents eat enough fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, deficiencies can still occur even when consuming proper amounts of fruits and vegetables and can also develop with certain health conditions and medications that alter absorption. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends incorporating a multivitamin in your daily regimen to ensure that you’re obtaining all the nutrients needed to be healthy.
Taken in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, multivitamins can help support and promote exceptional health throughout our lives. Vitamin and mineral supplements contain micronutrients meant to improve mental health, help the body function smoothly, provide specific health benefits and fill in nutrient gaps. A great multivitamin will provide support to your nervous system, heart and circulation health, memory, immune system, metabolic rate, bone density, energy and provide antioxidants.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, doctors may also recommend the use of multivitamins for people with certain diets or health issues, such as if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Multivitamins are not recommended as a treatment for any condition, but to support general overall health.
During a time when we are striving to keep our bodies in good health, adding a multivitamin to your daily regimen could be a good option to support optimal performance. In addition, vitamins and supplements including zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium and probiotics can support and boost your immune system, potentially providing protection against illness.
A trusted medical professional or pharmacist can discuss your lifestyle habits and review your current prescriptions to make personalized recommendations for vitamins and supplements tailored to your unique needs, including for those with nutrient depletions caused by medications. Professionals can also advise on the best time to take certain vitamins and supplements as well as which strategies are best for reaching specific health goals, including heart health, anti-aging, digestion and more.
All supplements aren’t created equal, so quality is key when introducing any new elements into a health care routine. Dietary supplements should come with a Supplement Facts label, which lists all the active ingredients, as well as the serving size. Also, look for pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are manufactured under strict quality control GMP (good manufacturing practices) and validated by independent third-party laboratories for purity and potency.