The lowdown on vitamins that work and which vitamins are right for your body

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VITAMIN, mineral supplements, and other vitamins are big business.

They are used by around 20million people, and this number is growing rapidly as people search for ways to improve their health.

Taking vitamins is good for you so long as you take the right ones

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Vitamins can be good for you if you take the right onesCredit: Getty

A new University of Reading study has found that vitamin B6 can reduce anxiety and depression.

But is popping pills really ­necessary for good health?

Sun on Sunday Health spoke to leading independent pharmacist and clinician Michael Sam-York, who says: “If you are relatively fit and healthy, you do not need any supplements.

“But if you are not getting your five a day, if you have a hectic lifestyle or have a restrictive diet like veganism, then your body may not be getting what it needs. Taking a supplement may be the quick fix you need.”

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Here is his guide…

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Supplements are recommended for CERTAIN groups.

Pregnant mothers should take Folic Acid to lower the risk of spina Bifida in their babies.

Vitamin D is the most commonly prescribed supplement by GPs.

The NHS recommends that everyone take vitamin D supplements throughout the year, even though they are made from sunlight.

It is essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.

A blood test can be ordered to verify your accuracy. These are easily available online and cost very little.

If you’re not sure I’d recommend going for 1000iu (international units) or 25micrograms daily.

This should be enough to ensure that you receive your daily recommended intake.

Is it safe to buy online?

YES, it is safe — but ALWAYS buy from a registered ­pharmacy.

Scroll down to the bottom of any website page to see a badge containing a registration number.

That information can be viewed at pharmacyregulation.org.

It will inform you if the business is trustworthy.

Avoid eBay because many sellers aren’t verified. Amazon can be good — but again, check the seller.

Make sure your delivery has the Kite or XE mark. Also, seal the bottle. If you are in any doubt, don’t use it.

It is always better to be cautious when it comes your health.

Top 10 Men’s Games

These are the top nutrients for men, and how they can benefit you:

  • Omega-3: To maintain a healthy brain, and joints
  • Vitamin D: Supports healthy bones and teeth.
  • B12: To increase energy levels
  • Zinc: To improve sex life
  • Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory
  • Maca root: A herb that can boost a man’s fertility, energy levels and reduce stress
  • Ginseng: Boosts energy levels
  • Magnesium: A healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels
  • Vitamin C: Muscle development and immunity
  • Thiamine: Increases energy levels and libido

Is there any scientific proof that they work?

THERE is limited evidence that most supplements and vitamins work, and most of it is anecdotal so beware of the ­placebo effect.

It is okay to give them a try, but you should be open about your experiences.

If you don’t notice a physical difference or improvement in symptoms, then don’t carry on taking it.

There is no point in ­wasting your money. Try it, but don’t expect miracles.

SHOULD I STICK to THE RECOMMENDED DAY AMOUNT?

It is there for good reason. You won’t be hurt if you drink too much. Your body will expel any excess. You will end up with very costly urine.

Some have side effects. While rare, taking too much ­vitamin A, D, B6, niacin or E can lead to potentially harmful outcomes.

Packaging must clearly state whether there are side effects to taking too much.

Supplements should not be taken by everyone.

Pregnant women, for example, shouldn’t take vitamin A as it can have an adverse effect on the baby.

Any reputable supplier will say on the label who can and can’t have it.

Is there a supplement that can help me sleep better?

It has been shown that CAMOMILE and vitamin B6 as well as lemon balm, magnesium and CAMOMILE have helped.

Many CBD supplements also claim to help you sleep but make sure you buy a reputable brand from a ­reputable supplier.

Top 10 Women’s Choices

These are the top nutrients for women and their benefits.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamins for healthy bones, teeth, muscles and skin
  • Omega-3: Boosts brain function
  • Folic acid: This lowers the risk of neural tube defects for babies in pregnant women
  • Iron: About one in four Americans is considered to be deficient in iron. Iron can help with anemia and heavy periods.
  • Zinc: Zinc is good for your eyesight, blood flow, and wound-healing.
  • Magnesium: To improve heart health, regulate blood sugar levels and elevate low mood
  • B12: Extreme tiredness and energy boosting
  • Turmeric: An excellent anti-inflammatory. Use it as a spice or supplement to your food.
  • Evening primrose oil: Reduces menopause symptoms
  • Vitamin B6: Aids sleep

B12 IS BEING NOW OFFERED IN INJECTION FILTER TO AID WEIGHT LOSS. HOW DOES IT WORK

IT is said to boost energy, ­metabolism and help you shed unwanted pounds.

If you’re considering it, I suggest speaking with your GP first. They will then order a blood test in order to confirm your levels.

A doctor can prescribe medication to increase energy levels if your levels are really low.

This is often the case if a patient seems very tired.

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Tried and tested

The average man requires 55g of protein per day, while a woman needs 45g.

It is equivalent to about two portions of meat or fish, nuts, or tofu.

High-quality proteins are full of essential amino acids, and rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Now protein powders, drinks, and bars are big business.

Jane Atkinson examines the drinks that pack a punch.

MyProtein and Vimto have teamed up to create new flavours

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Vimto and MyProtein have joined forces to create new flavoursCredit: Supplied

WHEY POWDERS: MYPROTEIN & Vimto have teamed up again to create two limited-edition drinks.

Myprotein Limited Edition VIMTO Clear Whey Isolate Orange Strawberry, and Lime.

Whey is made from milk. The isolate bit indicates that it has been subject to a process to increase its protein and reduce the amount of carbohydrate per serving.

Mix it with water. It took some time for it to combine and you will have no lumps.

The taste is amazing if you like super-sweet drinks – like crushed Love Hearts. It is however very costly.

89kcal, 20g protein and less than 0.5% fat per 26/400ml portion (£28.99 for 520g, myprotein.com)

Bodyhero's plant protein are adding new flavours

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Bodyhero’s plant proteins are now available in new flavorsCredit: Supplied

PLANT PROTEIN BODYHERO has just launched its second plant-based protein milkshake flavour – Madagascan Vanilla.

It is made from European pea protein, which has been isolated from yellow split peas. Also contains 5g of prebiotic fibre from chicory root. This helps you feel fuller for longer.

This handy, 330ml recyclable container is Vegan Society-approved. It is free from dairy, gluten, wheat and artificial flavourings or colours.

Good news: The drink has 137kcal, 20.4g protein and 1.7% sugar per 300ml.

The bad news about this is that it tastes chalky and watery if you don’t get it from the fridge. (£2.95 for a 330ml carton, bodyhero.com)

Upbeat drinks take the hassle away of mixing up a drink

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Mixing up a drink can be made easy by using upbeat beveragesCredit: Supplied

READY-MADE DRINK: THIS is described as the UK’s first clear whey isolate protein drink.

Upbeat’s Protein Energy is available in a refreshing tropical flavour, with 15g of protein, 180mg of caffeine and 4000mg of BCAA per 500ml for focus and energy.

This eliminates the hassle of having to carry a heavy protein shaker or adding protein powder to your water.

It was on sale this month and tastes almost exactly like a Flat Lilt drink.

It was wonderful. Sometimes protein stuff can be very strong. This didn’t.

This sugar-free and lactose-free liquid is great for providing instant hydration, body boosting protein, and focused energy.

After taking it, I found that I was able to concentrate better. I will buy it again. (RRP £1.99, upbeatdrinks.com)

Ask Dr Jeff

Dr Jeff Foster is Central Recorder on Sunday’s new resident doctor and is here to help you

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Dr Jeff Foster is Central Recorder on Sunday’s new resident doctor and is here to help you

Q) I’M a 30-year-old man and work nine to five in a call centre.

I don’t have children and my job is fairly stress-free so I don’t understand why I feel tired all the time. I feel tired every day, even though I sleep well. What’s causing this?

Stephen Holmes, Manchester

A)Tiredness is the number one reason people visit their GP.

Our greatest challenge is to determine what is medical, psychological, or life-induced.

 In terms of lifestyle factors, it is always worth ­looking at diet, exercise and sleep.

Too much or too little of any of these could affect your energy. While work hours are not excessive or stressful, it’s important to take some time to yourself to reflect and allow your mind to wander.

If you’ve excluded any other causes, it would be a good idea to consult a doctor to rule out medical reasons for tiredness.

These symptoms can be very diverse so it is important to note any additional symptoms.

An example: A decline in sexual desire might indicate a decrease in testosterone levels. Feeling short of breath or tired could be a sign that there is anemia.

Q) I’M a woman aged over 50 and really enjoy gardening but for the first time in my life I think I have hayfever.

My eyes get itchy and streamy all the time. I also have a constant sneeze and irritating cough. My skin reacts to grass and leaves, and if I touch them it causes me to get raised red marks that itch and burn.

What can I get from the pharmacist to help me with this? I don’t want to bother my GP as I know how busy they are.

Leslie Froom Taunton Somerset

A) Hayfever can be very common. Although we tend to think about hayfever as runny noses and eyes, sneezing, and sometimes a red rash, it can also cause pains and fatigue, breathing problems, and flu-like symptoms.

Hayfever can make it impossible for some people to go to school or work.

Hayfever is treated by pharmacists who can offer over-the counter topical drops for the eyes, sprays to the nose, and oral antihistamine tablet prescriptions.

If after taking your pharmacist’s advice you are still struggling, doctors can prescribe a strong antihistamine called fexofenadine.

For those who really need it, there are prescription steroid nasal sprays and antihistamine drops. Inhalers are also available.

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