Healthy support > 2017 Articles > Healthy support

Your body needs lots of different vitamins and minerals to run smoothly, grow properly and stay healthy.(1) However, nutrients contained in foods like vegetables and fruit no longer contain enough of certain nutrients, due to a decrease in topsoil and the increase in artificial fertilisers to yield bigger crops. (2) Therefore, you may think that you are following a healthy, well-balanced diet, but you may not be getting the right amounts of vitamins and minerals from your food. (1,3)

Taking a supplement could be a useful way of getting various nutrients, (3) because:

  • Some vitamins and most minerals cannot be produced by your body, (3,4) g. Vitamin B12
  • Minerals like magnesium get depleted quickly during exercise (5)
  • Iron in your also body gets depleted during exercise through foot impact and sweating (6)

You may benefit from a supplement:

  • If you don’t eat the recommended daily servings of healthy foods because you might be on a diet (1,7)
  • If you follow a vegetarian lifestyle or might even be excluding certain types of food from your diet because of allergies or intolerances(1,7)
  • If you suffer from a disease or condition that limits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients (1,7)
  • Older people are at risk because their diminished sense of taste and smell affects their appetite (1,8)
  • If you are menopausal, you will need supplements like Vitamin D and calcium to prevent osteoporosis and lower the risk of fractures (1)
  • Lifestyle habits like smoking and excessive use of alcohol (1)
  • If you are pregnant or trying for a baby, you will need certain nutrients like folic acid and iron to protect your health and that of your developing baby (1)

If you fall into any of the above categories, you may benefit from a multivitamin supplement. (1,7)

References: 1. Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource. Special Report, July 2009. Vitamins and Minerals. What You Should Know About Essential Nutrients. [online] [cited 2015 October 18]. Available from: URL: 2. Marler JB, Wallin JR. Human Health, the Nutritional Quality of Harvested Food and Sustainable Farming Systems. Nutrition Security Institute. [online] [cited 2015 October 18]. Available from: URL: 3. Vitamins and Minerals: Overview of Nutrition. Merck Manual Home Edition. [online] [cited 2015 October 18]. Available from: URL: nerals.html. 4. Langan RC, Zawistoski KJ. Update on Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Am Fam Phys 2011;83(12):1425- 1430. 5. Kass LS, Skinner P, Poeira F. A Pilot Study on the Effects of Magnesium Supplementation with High and Low Habitual Dietary Magnesium Intake on Resting and Recovery from Aerobic and Resistance Exercise and Systolic Blood Pressure. J Sports Sci Med 2013;12:144-150. 6. Peeling P, Dawson B, Goodman C, Landers G, Trinder D. Athletic induced iron deficiency: new insights into the role of inflammation, cytokines and hormones. Eur J Appl Physiol 2008;103(4):381-391. 7. MayoClinic. Supplements: Nutrition in a pill? [online] 2014 [cited 2017 October 18]. Available from: URL: 8. KZN Department of Health Services and Welfare. Nutrition and Ageing. [online] [cited 2015 October 18]. Available from: URL:

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