To get straight to the point, most people don’t need extra vitamin pills because of a varied diet. A multivitamin (food supplement) is also no substitute for healthy eating. By eating different kinds of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, you get all the important nutrients you need. Some vitamins or minerals are even harmful when (too much) use over a long period of time.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables provide relatively few calories and many vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres. It is also a source of carbohydrates. In addition, fruit and vegetables contain a large number of so-called bio-active substances. These are: carotenoids, lycopenes and flavonoids. It also contains a lot of water and dietary fibres, which gives it a full feeling.
It has not been shown that swallowing vitamin tablets in the winter months helps to increase your resistance and / or less likely to become ill.
Children and the elderly
For a number of groups of people it is advisable to take extra vitamins.
Advice to take vitamin D every day applies to:
Children up to 4 years
Pregnant women and women over 50 years old
Older people and people with dark skin
And beyond that:
Vegans: vitamin B12
Women who want to become pregnant: extra folic acid
When breastfeeding: give the baby a vitamin K supplement for 3 months. This also applies to babies who drink less than 500 ml of artificial food per day
What is a food supplement?
Supplements usually contain synthetic or industrially produced vitamins, minerals or bioactive substances. They work in the same way as natural vitamins in food. A difference is that your body absorbs the nutrients contained in pills more easily than those from eating.
Food supplements come in many forms: pills, powders, drops, capsules or drinks. They are used as a supplement to the daily diet. On average there are 3 types:
Supplements with only 1 vitamin or mineral
Multisupplements: combination of vitamins or of vitamins and minerals (think of a multivitamin tablet or vitamin B-complex)
Nutraceuticals: these are bioactive substances in the form of a food supplement.