If you have health problems or just generally want to eat better, one question you should ask is "what vitamins are right for me?" The best nutritional balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will vary from person to person, and understanding what your personal balance is will help you plan a diet to meet your nutritional needs.
Factors Affecting Vitamin Balance
Everyone needs different amounts of vitamins and minerals based on several factors regarding their health and lifestyle. Understanding the elements that can affect which vitamins are right for you is the first step toward planning a healthy, vitamin-rich diet.
- Lifestyle: The life you lead drastically affects which vitamins you need most. An athlete, for example, may need more vitamins that are good for energy, while someone who works indoors and rarely engages in outdoor activities may need to supplement their body's natural supply of Vitamin D through pills or Vitamin D food sources. Women who are pregnant need additional vitamin supplements to support their growing baby, such as extra folic acid to help prevent birth defects.
- Age: An individual's age dramatically affects which vitamins are best for them. Young children and teenagers generally need higher vitamin dosages because of their growing bodies, while older adults may also need higher dosages because their bodies no longer process vitamins as efficiently.
- Gender: Vitamin requirements for women and men are different because their bodies process vitamins differently due to different hormone levels and energy needs. Choosing a vitamin specifically for your gender will help you find the right balance of essential nutrition.
- Health: Your general health is another key factor in discovering what vitamins are right for you. Some individuals have difficulty processing, synthesizing, or storing different vitamins and nutrients, and their diet should reflect those individual needs. Vitamin deficiencies can result in a variety of health problems, which is why some people take additional supplements to avoid illness or other problems, such as preventing colds with Vitamin C.
- Diet: The best sources of vitamins are the foods you eat, but an individual with significant allergies may suffer from unintentional deficiencies. Furthermore, individuals who regularly eat highly processed foods are not as likely to meet their nutritional needs through their regular diet.
Asking a Doctor What Vitamins are Right for Me
The only individual who can accurately diagnose vitamin deficiencies and offer advice about the appropriate nutritional supplements is a doctor or nutritionist. If you notice health problems, general lethargy, or other concerns that cannot be linked to other conditions, your diet and vitamin intake may be the cause. It is important to be honest with your doctor about your diet, medications, and vitamins you currently take to ensure you get proper treatment to help restore your body's balance for optimum health. They may take blood tests or conduct other examinations to find the cause of your symptoms, and they may prescribe temporary supplements to see if they can counteract the ill effects you are experiencing.
Planning Your Right Vitamin Diet
Once you know what vitamins you need, it is time to plan a diet that will meet your body's nutritional needs.
The best way to get your body's vital nutrients and adequate vitamins is through a healthy, balanced diet. Food sources such as lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk, and fortified products are rich in vitamins and nutrients, but it may not always be possible to meet your body's needs through diet alone. Often frozen or microwave foods have lower nutritional value than fresh foods, and if your diet has a large amount of processed foods then vitamin supplements may be required.
For many people, daily vitamin supplements are necessary. Choosing a multivitamin is a good beginning and can help restore a basic dietary balance, but often additional supplements will be necessary. Always consult a doctor or nutritionist to determine what additional supplements you need, and avoid taking unnecessary supplements. Too high a dosage of different vitamins can lead to unintended health problems from vitamin toxicity.
The key to discovering "what vitamins are right for me" is to be knowledgeable about what vitamins you need for your health and lifestyle and to educate yourself about the need for different vitamins in your diet. LoveToKnow Vitamins is here to help you learn about vitamins, supplements, and their effects, and for more information about healthy eating, visit LoveToKnow Diet.