Vitamins and Supplements: how to choose and not to harm health

There is a stereotype that with the onset of cold weather, in the human body the level of essential vitamins greatly reduces, so the demand for them in pharmacies increases dramatically. We so often hear from different sources that "we need to take vitamins for health", that we almost don’t think whether this is true or not and what real problems the lack of trace elements threatens.

How not to harm yourself by choosing vitamins and Supplements, what to eat so as not to take additional drugs, and how to find out what your body lacks? Many of these questions were answered by Katya Young, endocrinologist, Instagram blogger @wow.so. young and the author of the YouTube channel "Live like Young".

How to choose the right vitamins?

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First, it’s better to consult a doctor and take a blood test, which will reveal what you are missing at the moment. It’s not necessary to make diagnoses based on the description of symptoms on the Internet. The same ailments can be characteristic of different diseases, and it’s impossible to determine the exact problem without the help of a specialist.

Try to buy those drugs in which in addition to the main trace elements the so-called "conductor" contains. In natural form, vitamins are not absorbed very well, and they need the help of other substances that increase efficiency. 

Vitamin complexes are better to take for prevention – they contain many different useful elements, but they are presented in a small volume. If the body has a clear lack of a particular vitamin, it is better to take monotherapy medicines, for example, vitamin C, zinc or iron.

Prevention and treatment of beriberi is a process that requires a course of treatment. There is no point in drinking a huge dose of the right vitamin at a time and calming down – at best, it won’t give you any results, and at worst, it can cause serious side effects.

When choosing drugs, focus on your lifestyle. For people who often exercise, some substances are needed, and for those who don’t sleep enough or keep a certain diet, others will be useful. 

Specialist's opinion

Is this truth or myth, that fall and winter the amount of vitamins decrease in the body?

On the one hand, the diet in winter, especially in Central Russia, is less saturated with the main sources of vitamins, which are considered to be vegetables and fruits. But in fact, the necessary trace elements can be found in other products, for example, there’re a lot of them in the liver, tongue, sauerkraut and root vegetables. This question should be considered more deeply: health depends not only on the amount of vitamins in the body, but also on whether a person is able to assimilate them. For example, in stress and in a bad environment, the absorption of vitamins from food is reduced. To talk about the dependence of the amount of vitamins on the time of year is very superficial, it’s necessary to consider specific cases.

What mistakes do people make most often when self-medicating?

The most important mistake is that in the case of self-treatment, people don’t have a guide to their own body, but there is a guide to what someone once helped. People are waiting for the "magic pill" effect. Yes, it can happen, but only if the gastrointestinal tract is put in order, and now such problems occur in every first.

A device for measuring the level of vitamins

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A few years ago, scientists created a device for home measurement of vitamins and minerals. In order to find out the result, you need to connect a pencil-like device to your smartphone and open a special program. Next, you should apply the stick to the selected points on the body, and the program itself will tell you what trace elements are missing in your body and how they can be filled. 

Of course, this device won’t give the same result as medical samples, but tests show that 70% of the information received by users through the application corresponds to the data of the blood test.

Specialist's opinion

What consequences can a lack of vitamins lead to?

Lack of vitamins can lead to quite serious consequences. The most common is chronic fatigue syndrome, when vital resources run out like a battery. This can be a symptom that something is missing in the body. But it’s not enough, it can also be a signal of serious hormonal problems.

Vitamin deficiency

Not only the lack of vitamins is harmful for the body, but also their overabundance. It’s very difficult to "Overeat" vitamins, which are contained in ordinary food, most often this disease occurs after abuse of drugs. There is an opinion that "vitamins don’t happen much", so - this isn’t true. Symptoms of Vitamin deficiency can include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and heart problems. In the most serious cases, an excess of trace elements can trigger the formation of kidney stones and problems with the gallbladder.

What foods do contain the most essential vitamins?

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If there are no serious disorders in the body, then you can make up for the lack of vitamins with the help of some products. It’s important to remember that bad habits, even such non-obvious as the abuse of coffee and tea – are the main enemies of our health: they prevent the elements from being fully absorbed and quickly remove them from the body.

Vitamin A-carrots, broccoli, peaches, pumpkin, cod liver, etc.

B-group Vitamins-cereals, beans, mushrooms, meat, eggs, leafy green vegetables, etc.

Vitamin C-tomatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rose hips, currants, citrus fruits, etc.

Vitamin E-spinach, nuts, avocado, shrimp, fish, asparagus, nuts, fish, etc.

Vitamin D-is formed in the body under the influence of UV rays, it’s also found in large quantities in oily fish.

Iron-meat, offal, fish, poultry, legumes, spinach, apples, dried fruits.

Specialist's opinion

What vitamins are combined with each other and with what additional products is it better to take them?

What matters most here is not how to drink, for example, vitamin C with vitamin E, but in what form to take them. If these are inorganic compounds of minerals, they’ll be absorbed worse and cause side effects, such as nausea. And if it’s chelated forms of trace elements (with the presence of an amino acid molecule. – ed. note) or vitamins in the active form of pro vitamin, the effect will be better. It’s necessary to take chelated forms of minerals and active forms of vitamins, but the cost of such drugs is high. But in this case, it’s not necessary to worry additionally about whether they will be assimilated or not. All this can be found in multivitamin complexes, and in the case of taking inactive forms, there may be some consequences.

Is it worth taking vitamins and Supplements that are designed to maintain youth, beauty of the skin and hair?

Once again, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the reception of specific substances is not so important. The key point is he ability of the body to absorb them. Before you go and take a lot of money to the pharmacy, you need to adjust the digestion. Proper digestion begins with a healthy attitude to food. At least, it should be taken in a calm state - then the parasympathetic nervous system is activated and the normal bile flow is adjusted, a sufficient amount of hydrochloric acid is formed, and the food is digested as fully as possible, respectively, all the necessary substances will be absorbed better. It’s necessary to chew carefully and to serve food beautifully. And if there are any problems, they need to be solved in tandem with the doctor.

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