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Vitamin supplements – should we take them?

I was recently told about this article which was published in Nature as a News Feature. It is a long and detailed article looking at what we know about vitamin supplements for the general population. It concludes that studies need to be designed better and we need to be better at analysing the data in order to be able to have the evidence base needed. Many people take vitamin supplements without knowing whether they need to or not. There are companies providing services to check vitamin levels but the science behind these is not always evidence based in itself, and they are often very expensive. As a nutrition professional we need the information to steer people on the right track and not leave them in the hands of the marketing companies. As the article suggests, we need the studies.

 

Disclaimer. I do not recommend anyone takes vitamin supplements without advice from a health professional, or unless you fit into one of the following categories:

Women planning to try for a baby and those who are pregnant: folic acid supplementation recommended by the Department of Health

Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Vitamin D supplementation recommended by the Department of Health

Children between 6 months and 5 years (unless they are consuming 500ml or more of formula milk a day): Vitamin D supplementation recommended by the Department of Health

Over 65s: Vitamin D supplementation recommended by the Department of Health

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