Supplements are a tricky thing. When it comes to eating a mainly wholefood diet, mindful eating usually takes care of looking after your vitamin and mineral needs, but do you know when it’s worth taking hold of a little helping hand?
I’ve actually resisted writing about supplements for a long time now. I’ve never been a big believer in topping up my diet in any other form than food, having been raised without pills wherever possible (of course, medication, vaccines, and painkillers did all feature), and I’m also very wary of giving health advice as I’m in no way a qualified to do so.
However, over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out Viridian’s High Five Multivitamin and Mineral capsules* and alongside them, I’ve researched a little into the mighty multivitamin and its benefits. What I’ve come to realise is that while I personally may not be in desperate need of topping up my vitamin and mineral reserves, they are a complicated thing to look after and everyone has different requirements. Multivitamins cover all bases.
For me, what’s interesting is the range of side-effects that the lack of vitamins and minerals can cause – from tiredness, drowsiness, and lack of energy, to diseases like scurvy – showing that while you may think you need another coffee at work, or are all too frequently popping a painkiller, it may be a lack of a certain vitamin or mineral that is causing your body to try and communicate its issue.
My personal experience with this multivitamin has been a bit mixed really, as my urine (gross, I know) turned a bright yellow the days that I took the tablet, showing I was in fact consuming too much vitamin B. That being said, the High Five Multivitamin is supposed to have higher levels of vitamin B5, so it may be that it’s simply too strong a version for my body. In terms of other vitamins and minerals, it is possible to have too much of those as well (note, certain vitamins are stored while others are flushed, so overdosing is possible yet rare), but I personally didn’t note any other real negative. In fact, I felt more alert and happier when supplementing my diet. I general though, I don’t think I need to take a multivitamin, although I would definitely recommend Viridian for anyone looking to do so, as their range is clear and easy to understand, with many vegan and organic options that come in glass jars.
Now that the winter is upon us, it’s also especially good to find a secondary source of vitamin D, other than the sparse bursts of sunlight that we’re too busy indoors to really appreciate! For this, I’ve also tried Viridian’s Organic Vitamin D capsules*. They too are vegan, and it may actually be worth investing in these if you are plant-based vegan and hiding inside all day, as the general sources of vitamin D are the sun, fish, eggs, and fortified foods such as cereal. In this time of year, plant-based sources alone might not be enough, so these tablets are a good alternative as they are a concentrated version of vitamin D from mushrooms. I personally found these tablets had no adverse affects either, so would happily recommend them to anyone who believes they’re in need of a top-up. Each capsule contains 400iu, and the RDA is from 200-800, meaning 1-2 capsules per day is plenty.
Finally, while I’ve already established that I’m no doctor, I would recommend speaking to one if you do believe you’re genuinely lacking in a certain vitamin or mineral. Supplements are a good way to top up, especially if you can have your concerns verified by a health professional. If you’re looking to find out more about the exact amounts of vitamin and minerals you need in your diet, try this article by Harvard Health. And of course, you should always take supplements alongside a healthy diet too – they are in no way an alternative to eating well!