What can vitamins do?
It should be possible to get all the vitamins required from a healthy and balanced diet, but sometimes vitamin supplements can help. But can a vitamin supplement really turn a bad diet into a healthy one?
Vitamin supplementation is very beneficial but not just for weight loss or to replace a diet with nutrients. Their primary function is to fill in small nutrient gaps. They are ‘supplements’ intended to add to your diet, not to take the place of real food or a healthy meal plan. Thus, one needs to make sure to get all nutrients from food plus from the extra supplementation that fulfils nutrient needs. Parents of teenagers must know “Food First and Then Supplements”.
Vitamins do play major roles in areas such as:
Growth: Vitamins such as vitamin D & B are important for cell growth, and are especially needed during teenagers’ growth spurts. These vitamins are also used in energy metabolism, and so their requirement increases as teenagers’ need for extra calories increases.
Restricted diets: Some teenagers decide to become vegetarian or vegan, either for health or ethical reasons. These can be healthy diets, but care should be taken to eat a wide and balanced range of foods, including all the right vitamins. It is hard to get enough vitamin B12 in a vegan diet, and vegan-friendly vitamin supplements can help.
Hormones: Girls in their teens who have started their periods may find that vitamin B6 in food or as a supplement, helps with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). If taken as a supplement, it should only be taken as per a recommended dose by the doctor.