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Anniki Sommerville


Anniki Sommerville is a published author of 5 books including 3 non-fiction books - How to Be a Boss at Ageing, More Orgasms Please and The Big Quit. She regularly writes for Red magazine and Grazia on women's health, ageing and more.

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Do I need to take supplements?

There is a lot of information out there about supplements but what is the latest and do we really need to take them?

There is a lot of buzz and noise out there when it comes to supplements and sometimes it can feel confusing in terms of what supplements are truly necessary to maintain a good level of health (versus taking supplements to address a specific health issue).

The majority of people do not need to take vitamin supplements regularly and can get all the nutrients and minerals they need by eating a healthy diet which includes fruit, vegetables, protein and healthy fats.

Many people choose to take supplements but taking too much or taking them for too long could be harmful. The Department of Health and Social Care also recommends certain supplements for some groups of people who are at risk of deficiency. Here are supplements that are definitely recommended to take depending on your lifestage:

Folic acid supplement in pregnancy

If you're a woman who is currently pregnant, or you are trying for a baby or could get pregnant and are not on contraception, it's recommended that you take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day. You should continue to take this supplement until you are 12 weeks pregnant. Folic acid supplements need to be taken before you get pregnant, so start taking them before you stop using contraception or if there's a chance you might get pregnant.

Folic acid can help to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. To read more about folic acid, check the NHS website for more information.

Vitamin D

The advice is that during the autumn and winter months (so from the end of September through to about the middle of March) we should look at taking a Vitamin D supplement because we won't be getting enough via sunlight. The sun isn't strong enough to help the body make Vitamin D in the autumn and winter months. It can also be difficult for people to get enough of it via food alone.

Therefore it is worth considering taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

Some groups of the population are at greater risk of not getting enough vitamin D and are advised to take a supplement every day of the year. Speak to your GP to see if you are in one of these groups that needs to take Vitamin D all the time.

Find out more information about vitamin D.

Vitamins A, C and D

Children aged 6 months to 5 years should take vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day. Ask your GP or health visitor for more advice and to see if you qualify for free vitamins for your child.

A GP may also recommend supplements if you need them for a medical condition. For example, you may be prescribed iron supplements to iron deficiency disorders such as anemia.

However, as a rule most people can get all the nutrients they need from eating a healthy, balanced diet.

If you have specific health concerns or nutritional deficiencies, it may be beneficial to speak with your GP or a registered nutritionist who can help determine whether supplements are necessary and which supplements may be most appropriate for you.

Le'Nise Brothers, registered nutritionist and author of the book- 'You Can Have a Better Period' elaborates: "Ideally, we would get most of our daily nutrients from well balanced meals that include high quality protein, healthy fats, lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables and a variety of fibre. Think of supplements like the cherry on top, giving you a helping hand on days when you might not have time or energy to eat as well as you would like. Supplements can also play an important role in correcting any nutrient deficiencies, some of the most of common being vitamin D, iron and magnesium".

And finally if you have bladder weakness Jude's supplements have been shown to reduce leaks by 79%. Read more about our supplements here.

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