We’ve all heard the stories that taking specific vitamins will help us stay fit and healthy. Many of us will have been given multivitamins by our parents when we were children, so it must be a good thing.
Is it worth it, though? There are some vitamins that you should think about taking all year round, because they may benefit you no matter what the weather or season (including flu season). If you do, then you should talk to your GP beforehand.
#1 Vitamin B12
This crucial vitamin – which you may also know as cobalamin – is required for nerve tissue health, production of red blood cells and brain function. The metabolism of all the cells in the body depends on B12 because it’s used in the synthesis of fatty acids and energy production. It also helps release energy by helping the body absorb folic acid.
Most food sources for vitamin B12 come from animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. So if you follow a vegan diet, you’re more prone to being deficient in this particular type of vitamin; this deficiency can worsen during pregnancy and lactation.
#2 Vitamin C
Also known as ascorbic acid, this essential nutrient helps to keep your body working by aiding many bodily functions. These include healing wounds and maintaining bones, cartilage and teeth. It’s also an antioxidant, so it can neutralise free radicals in your body. Vitamin C is touted as an aid to fight the common cold: a 2013 study from Finland showed that it can shorten the illness (but not prevent it).
#3 Vitamin D
You know that you need it to stay well, but we’re still not getting enough of this group of vitamins. It helps with calcium utilisation (so it aids bone and teeth health), grow cells and support our immune systems.
One of the most common ways to get vitamin D is through light exposure. We get vitamin D3 through our skin, which is then processed by the liver to produce calcitriol (the active form of the vitamin). Calcitriol can also be produced from vitamin D2, which is in oily fish and egg yolks.
However, not everyone can get the correct amount of vitamin D from sunshine or their diet. So you may want to look into taking this vitamin all year round.
When can I start taking these?
Taking vitamins & supplements can be a great benefit to you and your body, especially if your diet means you don’t get enough of the ones your body needs. This might be the case if you’re vegetarian or vegan, and the way to get these vitamins through food is through animal-based products such as meat and dairy. Getting a bit of additional support may help your body to maintain itself and fight infection.
However, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before you start taking them. This is so you don’t take excessive amounts, or they may affect medication you’re already taking.