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Vitamin/Mineral Supplements

By Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

Can a pill replace your dinner?  The answer is “no”!  Dietary supplements are just that, supplements.  They complement your current diet.  Do you need to take a dietary supplement?  If you are healthy and generally eat a balanced diet, probably not.  Your doctor or registered dietitian may recommend one if you…

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.  You need more nutrients, especially folate and iron.
  • Are a woman capable of becoming pregnant.  Consuming enough folate offers a safeguard against spinal cord defects in the developing fetus.
  • Are on a restrictive diet.  You most likely will not consume enough food to meet the dietary requirements.
  • Are a vegetarian.  You may need extra calcium, Vitamin D and B12, iron and zinc.
  • Have limited milk intake or sunlight exposure.  If you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, you may not be getting enough Vitamin D needed for healthy bones.
  • Have a health condition that affects nutrient absorption.
  • Are unable, or unwilling, to regularly consume a healthy diet.  A picky eater would be a good example.  A good multivitamin/mineral supplement can help fill in the nutrient gaps.

Remember that some vitamins are stored within your body for a long time, others are not.  It is imperative to follow the recommended dosages on the labels.  More is not always better and can be harmful in some instances.  Nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA.   Therefore, labels on supplements may be very different.  Be sure you read the label to see what is contained in the supplement.  You can visit www.mypyramid.gov to see how many nutrients you are consuming.  If you think you or your child may need a supplement, consult your doctor or registered dietitian.

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By Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian
Categories:  Kid's Health & Safety

About the Author

Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

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