Why You Need to Take Dietary Supplements

Why You Need to Take Dietary Supplements

Even if you think you are eating a generally healthy and well-balanced diet and feeling quite alright, you are still likely to be nutrient-depleted and therefore need to take dietary supplements. Here are the six main reasons why:

  1. For generations, man has been eating wild or cultivated foods that had much higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and essential fats. Compared to the modern diets of today, the traditional tribal diets provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium, and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs, and animal fats — foods which are now shunned as they were deemed “unhealthful”.

  2. Low level of nutrients in the foods that we eat today as a result of eroding topsoil depleting our mineral supply, industrial farming, and hybridization techniques.

  3. Consumption of over-processed or manufactured foods with little nutritional value.

  4. Total burden of environmental toxins, lack of sunlight, and chronic stress, leading to higher nutrient needs.

  5. Aging, having a strong family history of certain lifestyle conditions like diabetes, weak immunity, and poor digestion will increase our body’s need for nutrients above RDA levels. RDA is the minimum daily level of nutrients needed to sustain life and prevent deficiency, but it does not help us stay in optimum health. Optimal health is achieved by consuming nutrients above the RDA level.

  6. Life situations like pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss/dieting require us to consume higher levels of nutrients which diet alone may not contribute enough of.

"If people eat wild, fresh, organic, local, non-genetically modified food grown in virgin mineral- and nutrient-rich soils that have not been transported across vast distances and stored for months before being eaten...and work and live outside, breathe only fresh unpolluted air, drink only pure, clean water, sleep nine hours a night, move their bodies every day, and are free from chronic stressors and exposure to environmental toxins,” then perhaps, they might not need supplements.

For the rest of us, whom he considers to be all of us, supplements are an absolute necessity".

-Dr. Mark Hyman (Dr. Hyman is a family physician, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader in Functional Medicine)

The Basic Nutrient Plan

  1. A High Quality, High Potency & Complete Multivitamin and Mineral
    The optimum Multivitamins & Minerals supplement should contain all the basic vitamins and minerals to protect against the various deficiencies that can arise when the sufficient amounts are not met through diet. The Multivitamins & Minerals can supply amounts of nutrients which are more than what a diet would provide, and this may be useful to protect against future health conditions.

  2. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EPA & DHA) — aim: 1000mg EPA+DHA daily
    Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are “essential” because our body does not manufacture them. This means EFAs must be obtained through our diets, either from food or dietary supplements. For optimal health and wellbeing, it is recommended that EFAs are consumed on a daily basis. EFAs have been shown to protect/lower the risk of heart attacks by lowering triglycerides and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and prevent blood clots, improve insulin sensitivity, as well as improve nerve function and prevent nerve damage, which are common in diabetics. Good sources of omega-3 EFAs are cold-water fish (salmon, cod, anchovies, and sardines). Note that most of the health benefits linked to omega-3 fats are from animal-based omega-3. Marine algae oil is recommended for vegetarians as the omega-3 EFAs provided are already in the EPA and DHA forms.

  3. Probiotics (and Prebiotics)
    Probiotics are “live” bacteria and yeasts that is beneficial for our body, such as keeping our digestive tracts healthy, ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, reduce flatulence, fight against vaginal yeast and other infections associated with Candida, reduce urinary tract infections and counter bad breath. There are different strains of probiotics and each of them provides our body health with different benefits.

    It is recommended to take prebiotics together with probiotics as prebiotics is food for the friendly bacteria, and therefore, help ensure their healthy colonization in the gut.

  4. Antioxidant Vitamins C and E
    Vitamins C and E are antioxidant vitamins that have been shown to play a role in the prevention of heart disease by preventing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol oxidation and preventing blood clot formation respectively. These 2 factors are believed to be key factors involved in plaque formation on blood vessel walls.

    Besides, Vitamin C is needed for collagen formation, proper wound healing, and maintaining a strong immune system. For healthy adults, aim to consume 1000-2000mg of Vitamin C daily.

    As for Vitamin E, it is required for proper wound healing and maintaining skin health. For healthy adults, aim to consume at least 15mg of Vitamin E daily.

  5. Food- or Herb-based Antioxidants
    Research studies have identified several other food- or herb-based antioxidants that may protect the body against cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other degenerative conditions due to their high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value. Good examples are Vitamin A and carotenes (e.g. beta carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, astaxanthin), Alpha-lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ 10), Green Tea, Ginkgo Biloba, Turmeric, Bilberry, Pomegranate, Mangosteen, Acai, French Pine Bark Extract (pycnogenol), Grape Seed Extract, Lycopene, etc.

  6. Green Super Foods
    Green super foods have been linked with anti-aging properties due to its high chlorophyll content, which helps the body detoxify itself.

    Excellent examples of green super foods are Alfalfa, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Spirulina. Broccoli is another super food which must be mentioned. Apart being high in vitamin C, it is rich in isothiocyanates, flavonoids that help kick-start the body’s cancer-fighting defenses.

    If you are not consuming at least 7-9 servings of fruits & vegetables daily, or consume a diet high in meat, including a green super food supplement into your daily supplement regime is highly recommended.

  7. Calcium and Magnesium
    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body — i.e. 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones and teeth. Calcium is needed for proper bones and teeth formation, blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells, and proper muscle contraction. The importance of calcium in preventing osteoporosis is probably its most well-known role. Women are eight times more likely to get osteoporosis than a man, especially after menopause, due to the decrease in body’s estrogen level.

    The best forms of calcium to supplement are calcium amino acid chelate or citrate, which are absorbed twice as well as calcium carbonate.

    Apart from helping our body to absorb calcium, magnesium is also needed for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, keeping blood pressure at a healthy level and for proper muscle function. As magnesium has relaxation property, thus it is useful for relieving stiff/tensed muscles.

    Like calcium, good forms of magnesium to supplement are magnesium amino acid chelate or magnesium citrate, versus magnesium carbonate or sulphate.

How to Choose Your Supplements?

  1. Purpose — Identify the purpose of taking supplements and get advice from experts to know what is the main supplements/ active content you need.

  2. Quality & Safety — get the brands with trustworthy tested or recognised by authority, such as HSA in Singapore to ensure the quality and safety of consumption.

  3. Dosage & Form — supplements with same active ingredients can be available in different dosage or different form (syrup, capsules, soft gels, tablets, gummies and so on). Get advice from experts to get the dosage and form that most suitable according to age and requirement.

VitaKids Recommends

For Adults

  • A high potency Multivitamin & Minerals
  • A high concentration of Omega-3 Fish Oils
  • A good strength of multi-strain probiotics
  • Calcium/Magnesium complex
  • Vitamin C (>1,000 mg)
  • Vitamin E Mixed Tocopherols (>15mg)
  • Antioxidants
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • A good immune booster
  • A multi-digestive enzyme complex

For Children

  • A high potency Multivitamin & Mineral - Comes in liquid / Chewable form
  • Omega-3 / Omega 3-6-9 Fish Oils - Comes in liquid / Chewable softgels
  • A good strength of multi-strain probiotics
  • Vitamin C (500 mg)
  • Calcium
  • A good immune booster

Tips for Maintaining Good Health

  • Eat healthily and include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep of at least 7-8 hours every night.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive intake of caffeine & alcohol.
  • Reduce your stress levels with effective relaxation techniques.
  • Spend time outdoors, and get some exposure to sunlight.
Back to blog