Save 15% off on your first order. Use coupon: FIRST15 at checkout. Shop Now!

Search
Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin Supplements – The Pros and Cons of Vitamin & Multivitamin Tablets

Considering taking vitamin supplements to improve your health?

While vitamin supplements have gained popularity, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of adding them to your routine.

With multiple options available in the market including multivitamin supplements, Ayurveda-based supplements and others, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is right for you.

When it comes to vitamin tablets or multivitamin supplements, there’s so much hype about their potential benefits that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.

In this article, we will learn about

  • Types of vitamins & the function they serve,
  • How Ayurveda & vitamins are related,
  • Health benefits & side-effects of vitamin supplements

Whether you’re interested in Ayurveda-based supplements or considering a multivitamin to fill the nutrient gaps in your diet, we’ll provide the information you need to make an informed decision.

Vitamins & the function that they serve in our bodies

Vitamins Fruit & Veggies
Source: Canva

Vitamins are essential micronutrients or spark plugs of the human body, tiny yet powerful agents that help keep our engines running smoothly. 

They are the essential nutrients our bodies can’t produce on their own, so we need to get them from our foods or supplements.

From boosting our immune system to helping us see in the dark, each vitamin has a unique power to keep our body functioning at its best. 

Types of vitamins

Classification of the Vitamin Supplements
Source: Canva

Vitamins are broadly classified into two categories – fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.

1. Fat-soluble Vitamins

These vitamins dissolve in fat and can be stored in our body’s fatty tissues. 

These vitamins are typically found in foods high in fat, such as nuts, seeds, oils, and fatty fish, and these require dietary fat to be absorbed and transported throughout the body. 

Fat Soluble vitamins are:

Vitamin A

It is the defender of our vision and skin health. It helps maintain the health of our eyes, ensuring clear vision and protecting against age-related deterioration, along with supporting the health of our skin, keeping it soft and supple.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is our hero for bone and muscle health, helping us absorb the calcium and phosphorus our bones need to stay strong. It supports our immune system, helping us fight off infections and illness. 

The rich sources of Vitamin D are fortified milk, cereals, and fatty fish like salmon. 

Vitamin E

It is our protector against free radicals, helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, and strengthens the body’s natural defence against illness and infection, supporting our immune system. The rich sources of Vitamin E are nuts, seeds, and plant oils like rapeseed (vegetable oil), sunflower, soya, corn, and olive oil.  

Vitamin K

It is our trusty sidekick in blood clotting and bone health. It helps our blood clot properly and supports the formation of strong, healthy bones.

The rich sources of Vitamin K are Green leafy vegetables like turnip greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuces, and oils such as Soybean and canola oil.

2. Water-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored in the body to the same extent as fat-soluble vitamins. And these can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream and transported by water.

Water soluble vitamins are:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C protects our cells against damage and keeps our immune system strong. It also supports the production of collagen, which keeps our skin looking young and fresh.

The rich sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits like indian gooseberry, oranges and grapefruits, broccoli, potatoes, and brussels sprouts.

Vitamin B

It is a group of eight different vitamins, each with unique benefits. These vitamins are essential for healthy brain function, metabolism, and red blood cell production, along with playing a significant role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.

There are many different types of vitamin B.

  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (B5)
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
  • Biotin (B7)
  • Folate (B9)
  • Cobalamin (B12)
Vitamin B1 – Thiamin

It plays an essential role in muscle contraction and the conduction of nerve impulses. It is responsible for the catabolism of proteins into amino acids. 

Vitamin B1 is found in Fortified breakfast cereals, pork, fish, beans, lentils, green peas, enriched cereals, bread, noodles, rice, sunflower seeds, and yoghourt.

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Riboflavin helps in the healthy development of skin, the lining of the digestive tract, blood cells, and brain functioning. 

The rich sources of Vitamin B2 are egg, pork, chicken, salmon, milk, and other dairy products.

Vitamin B3 – Niacin 

Vitamin B3 helps to convert nutrients into energy, create cholesterol and fats, create and repair DNA, and exert antioxidant effects.

Vitamin B3-rich foods are red meat, fish, brown rice, fortified cereals, bread, nuts, seeds, legumes, and bananas.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid 

It helps convert food into glucose, synthesising coenzyme A, which is involved in synthesising fatty acid and cholesterol. Also, it plays a significant role in the production of red blood cells. 

The vitamin B5-rich foods are fortified cereals, mushrooms, avocados, nuts, seeds, and dairy milk.

Vitamin B6 –  Pyridoxine

It is crucial for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous and immune systems healthy.

Vitamin B6-rich food sources are poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas, bananas, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin B7 – Biotin 

Vitamin B7 is essential for promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails. It also plays a significant role in improving brain function and helps produce haemoglobin. 

The Biotin-rich foods are eggs, salmon, avocados, pork, sweet potato, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamin B9 – Folate (Folic Acid)

Folate (vitamin B-9) is essential in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. It is crucial during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects in the brain and spine.

It is found in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts.

Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA.

The Vitamin B12 foods are poultry, meat, fish, and dairy.

How Ayurveda & Vitamins Are Related?

Ayurvedic Vitamins
Source: Canva

Ayurveda recognises that food is not just a source of energy and nutrients but also a powerful tool for maintaining balance and harmony in the body. And it is emphasised in one of the core principles of ‘Food as medicine.’ 

In Ayurveda, each food has a unique combination of tastes, energies, and properties that can influence the body and mind in different ways. By choosing the right foods, individuals can optimise their vitamin intake and support overall health and well-being without the need for Vitamin Supplements.

Ayurveda recognises that each person has a unique constitution or dosha, known as Prakriti, which can affect their ability to digest and absorb certain foods.

Individuals can optimise their digestion and nutrient absorption by choosing foods that are appropriate for their dosha, ensuring that they get the most benefit from the vitamins in their diet.

For example, Ayurveda recommends consuming a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables to obtain a range of vitamins and antioxidants. These foods are believed to have a cooling and cleansing effect on the body, helping to balance excess heat and inflammation.

Ayurveda has described the concept of Shadrasa or Six tastes in our food, namely

  • sweet (madhur)
  • sour (amla)
  • lavan (salty)
  • bitter (tikta)
  • pungent (katu)
  • astringent (kashaya)

When we consume the food rich in each of these 6 tastes, the vitamin and mineral needs are adequately fulfilled.

The role of Rasayanas in promoting health

Rasayanas for Health
Source: Canva

Rasayana translates to ‘the path of the essence,’ believed to help balance the body and mind by improving the quality of the body’s tissues.

Rasayana is a term used in Ayurveda to describe a group of rejuvenating therapies and herbal preparations that promote overall health and well-being.

The primary goal of Rasayana therapies is to promote longevity and overall health by strengthening the body’s natural healing processes. This is achieved by improving the functioning of various body organs, tissues, and systems.

Rasayana therapies can be administered in various forms, including herbal preparations, tonics, dietary guidelines, and lifestyle modifications. They are generally recommended for people of all ages to help prevent disease and promote overall well-being.

Health Benefits of Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin Tablets
Source: Canva

Vitamin supplements / tablets are essential for optimal health, from boosting our immune system to improving our cognitive function. 

But, in our busy lifestyle and schedule, our poor dietary choices can make getting all the vitamins we need from our daily meals challenging.

And there comes the need for Vitamin supplements. Here are some benefits of taking vitamin supplements:

1. Improved Immune System

Our immune system fights off infections and diseases that attack our bodies. For example, Vitamin C boosts our immune system by producing more white blood cells that help fight off infections 1.

Taking vitamin supplements can help support our immune system and reduce our risk of getting sick. Taking vitamin supplements can help support our immune system and reduce our risk of getting sick.

2. Better Heart Health

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Studies have shown that taking vitamin supplements, such as B vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids, can reduce the risk of heart disease 2.

Vitamin B can help lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage the lining of blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease 3.

3. Improved Cognitive Function

As we age, our cognitive function can decline. Vitamin supplements, such as Vitamin D and B vitamins, have been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline 4.

Vitamin D is essential for brain development and function, while B vitamins help produce neurotransmitters vital for brain function 5.

4. Increased Energy Levels

Many of us struggle with fatigue and low energy levels, especially in the morning. Vitamin B12 is essential for producing energy in the body, and a deficiency can lead to fatigue and weakness 6.

Taking a B12 vitamin supplement or vitamin B12 foods can help increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.

5. Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails

Vitamins such as A, C, and E are essential for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails 7.

Vitamin A helps regulate oil production in the skin, while Vitamin C helps produce collagen, a protein that gives skin its elasticity. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Side-effects, Risks & Concerns associated with Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin Supplements Risk
Source: Canva

While vitamins are essential for our bodies to function properly, some risks are associated with taking supplements, especially when they are taken in excessive amounts. Some of the side-effects of vitamin supplements are:

1. Overdose

It is possible to overdose on specific vitamins if you take too much of them. For example, taking too much vitamin A can lead to liver damage, while an overdose of vitamin D can cause kidney problems. In some cases, an overdose can be life-threatening.

2. Interactions with medications

If you take prescription medications, vitamin supplements can interact with them in harmful ways. For example, vitamin K can interfere with blood thinners, while vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding when taken with certain medications.

3. Allergic reactions

Some people may be allergic to specific vitamins or minerals. Symptoms can include hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening.

4. Misdiagnosis

Taking vitamins or minerals to treat symptoms can lead to the misdiagnosis of underlying health conditions. For example, taking vitamin B12 vitamin supplements to treat fatigue may delay the diagnosis of an underlying thyroid disorder.

5. False sense of security

Taking vitamin supplements can give people a false sense of security about their health. This can lead to neglecting other vital aspects of health, such as exercise and a balanced diet.

Ayurvedic Approaches to Supporting Vitamin Intake

Ayurvedic Approaches for Vitamin
Source: Canva

In today’s fast paced world, we often rely on processed foods and quick meals so it can be challenging to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.

However, Ayurveda emphasises the importance of eating various foods to support overall health and well-being, including getting essential vitamins.

Ayurveda teaches us that every individual is unique and has a specific Dosha, or energy type, that governs their physical and emotional characteristics.

Bottomline

Vitamin supplements play a significant role in the healthy growth and development of the body, but in busy schedules, vitamin supplements are taking place, and there’s no wrong. 

Like the two sides of the coin, multivitamin supplements have benefits and risks. It is always prudent to seek advice from a healthcare expert before integrating any new supplement regimen to ensure its suitability and safety for your needs.

Also, make sure that you buy top-quality products from trustworthy manufacturers, or go with Ayurvedic vitamin supplements with no side effects.

Although vitamin supplements can promote general well-being, they cannot replace the significance of a nourishing diet and lifestyle. 

To genuinely enhance your health, it is crucial to prioritise consuming a well-rounded diet comprising whole, nutrient-rich foods, exercising regularly, obtaining sufficient sleep, and managing stress levels.

Understanding your vitamins intake and ensuring that you are getting the necessary nutrients through whole food is the best approach. Don’t use multivitamin supplements as an alternative to your nutrient requirements, but add it as a ‘supplement’ to fill the gaps of your diet inefficiencies.

Is it good to take vitamin supplements everyday?

It depends on your individual health status, dietary habits, and lifestyle. If you have a well-balanced diet, then may not need to take a daily vitamin supplement. Taking vitamin and multivitamin supplements may be beneficial for those who either have a specific deficiency or wish to fill the nutrient gaps in their diet. It’s important to follow the recommended dosages on the product label and not to exceed the daily recommended intake. Taking too much of certain vitamins and minerals can be harmful and may cause adverse effects. Dosages can vary depending on the specific nutrient and individual needs. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

What vitamin supplements do I need daily?

To find out which vitamin supplements to take, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian. They can assess your individual health status, dietary habits, and lifestyle to determine if you have any nutrient deficiencies or medical conditions that may require supplementation. Additionally, blood tests can help identify any nutrient deficiencies that may need to be addressed with supplements.

References

  1. Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211.[]
  2. Wu, J. H., Mozaffarian, D., Lai, C. Q., & et al. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids and incident type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Nutrition, 107(S2), S214-S227. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001602.[]
  3. Bonaa, K. H., Njolstad, I., Ueland, P. M., Schirmer, Tverdal, A., Steigen, T., … Arnesen, E. (2006). Homocysteine lowering and cardiovascular events after acute myocardial infarction. The New England Journal of Medicine, 354(15), 1578-1588. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa055227.[]
  4. Annweiler, C., Montero-Odasso, M., Llewellyn, D. J., Richard-Devantoy, S., Duque, G., & Beauchet, O. (2013). Meta-analysis of memory and executive dysfunctions in relation to vitamin D. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 37(1), 147-171. doi: 10.3233/JAD-130452.[]
  5. Douaud, G., Refsum, H., de Jager, C. A., Jacoby, R., Nichols, T. E., Smith, S. M., … Smith, A. D. (2013). Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(23), 9523-9528. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301816110.4[]
  6. O’Leary, F., Samman, S., & Kotler, M. (2018). Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients, 10(12), 1728. doi: 10.3390/nu10121728.[]
  7. Pilkington, S. M., Watson, R. E., Nicolaou, A., & Rhodes, L. E. (2017). Omega supplements and healthy aging. Aging and Disease, 8(5), 611-625. doi: 10.14336/AD.2017.0222.[]