Supplements, do you need them?

We get asked by patients everyday what vitamins or supplements they should take. With a healthy diet you will most likely reach your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals. But sometimes a little boost from supplements doesn’t hurt. Let your personal pharmacist help you get the nutrients you need with their personal recommendations.

Before you start taking a vitamin or supplement, ask yourself the same questions about it as you would any other medication. How long should I take this for? What is the recommended dose? What are the possible side effects? As your personal pharmacists, we are here to answer all these questions for you so you can feel confident in your overall health and wellbeing.

Shelves of Vitamin bottles

First things first, let’s take a look at your diet and what you are eating!

We recommend eating a variety of foods in order to gain the daily vitamins and nutrients you need. The natural vitamins we get from food also comes with other essential nutrients such as fibres and proteins. Vitamin or mineral supplements can compensate for some dietary deficits. However, they should not be relied upon, or give you an excuse to eat poorly. Canada’s Food Guide recently had a long-awaited update. For healthy eating, ideas check it out here.

Should I be taking a multivitamin?

Hands down, this question gets asked every single day, and the answer will vary per person. Multivitamins are not all the same and are tailored to different needs and different groups of people. Different multivitamins are made to target particular groups of people. Men or women, people 50+, and pregnant women for example. These multivitamins will differ in the doses of vitamins and minerals they contain. As your personal pharmacists, we can help you determine which multivitamin will be right for you.

If you are taking a vitamin or supplement, make sure it meets the standards set by Health Canada. Quality products are identified by an 8-digit NPN (Natural Product Number). This means the product has been assessed by Health Canada and determined to be safe, effective, of high quality, and is licensed to be sold in Canada. Be wary of products that do not have NPN’s and are sold online. These products are not necessarily held to the same high standards.

Is there anything we suggest as Pharmacists when it comes to vitamins and supplements?

Vitamin D! With the long winter months we experience here in Calgary the sun’s rays are not strong enough to trigger our body to produce vitamin D. There are few foods that actually contain vitamin D, this is one thing we do suggest for a supplement. Our picks for a vitamin D supplement would be our own brand of Atoma vitamin D, or another favourite is the Genestra brand Vitamin D Drops.

hand holding vitamin supplements

The most important thing to remember when choosing vitamins and supplements, is that some may interact with any current medication you are taking. If you are currently on, or looking at adding in a vitamin or supplement, it is important to inform your pharmacist to avoid any drug interactions. Talking with your pharmacist also ensures that you will be taking the supplement correctly to get the most use out of it.

For more information or for any specific questions, please make sure to reach out to us.

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