Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the benefits of taking nutritional supplements?"
I'm 30 and try to eat a balanced diet. Do I need to take nutritional supplements as well?
The benefits of nutritional supplements depend on your diet in combination with the special needs your body has. In general, a balanced diet with sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables without a lot of saturated fats and sweet sugars contains most vitamins and minerals your body needs. Exceptions to this rule occur in young children who are growing and may not get enough vitamins and minerals in their diets, and older adults who may have the same problem. In most cases, men and women your age do not need nutritional supplementation, but certain exceptions apply. Anyone with a chronic illness that causes interruptions in food intake may need dietary supplementation. You should not begin any vitamin supplementation without first speaking to your doctor. This is because taking too much of some vitamins and minerals can be toxic. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. You can pose this question to him or her. Your doctor will ask you questions about your diet and determine if there are any vitamins or minerals that may need supplemented. Your doctor may want to order some simple blood tests to look for essential nutrients such as vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12. These are vitamins and minerals that need supplementation more than others.
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