How do you know if you need a vitamin supplement?

You don't need a supplement if:

  • you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, in the right amounts across the week, and
  • you are medication-free, and
  • you have no medical ailments, and
  • you have not had surgery, and
  • you are not pregnant

You will need a supplement if:

  • you are on a mission to strip body fat and body weight
  • or you have had blood tests that reveal nutrient deficiencies
  • or you eliminate food groups (whether due to allergy, preference, medical need)
  • or your food choice is less than perfect and could be improved
  • or you restrict your food intake (variety or amount)
  • or you drink too much alcohol regularly
  • or you take medications that interfere with nutrients
  • or you have had surgery to either shift excess weight or improve metabolic health
  • or you are planning to have baby or are already pregnant
  • or you have a health condition that causes deficiencies (e.g. cystic fibrosis)

My book 'this=that: a life-size photo guide to food serves' shows how much to eat and drink to satisfy essential and basic vitamin needs.

Choose the minimum amounts for your age and gender as shown in the book. You will confidently consume the basic amount of vitamins and other essential nutrients from food.

Go the extra step for even better nutrition. More often than not, swap out the 'red extras' for other nutritious foods.

Start with this solid foundation, then build up from there with supplements according to your personal health, medical and surgical needs.

If you take vitamin supplements, you may be surprised to know that you can have too much of a good thing. Discover how much is too much.