We all know vitamins and minerals are important, but it’s often hard to keep track of which does what, and identify when we have a deficiency.
A lot of the vitamins we get come from what we eat, but according to Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency, some of us need to consider taking supplements, particularly vitamin D, Omega 3 and, for pregnant women, folic acid.
Here’s a quick guide to these vitamins and minerals, which you can get from your local Boots.
What is it? Vitamin D is essential for helping you absorb calcium to help you build strong, healthy bones and teeth
How do we get it? It is produced by the body from direct sunlight, and can also be found in some food, such as oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks.
Who needs a supplement? Young children plus those who spend a lot of time indoors, such as in a care home, or those who cover their skin outdoors.
What is it? The two key Omega 3s (EPA and DHA) are known for their brain and heart health benefits.
How do we get it: They are found in oily fish, like salmon and sardines and we need about two portions of fish a week to get enough.
Who needs a supplement? Those who struggle to eat the recommended portions of fish a week (e.g. vegans and vegetarians) should consider taking a supplement containing DHA.
What is it? Folic acid is a form of folate (a B vitamin) that supports the development of healthy babies in the womb. Plus it can reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida, and also supports maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.
How do we get it? Folate is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, oranges and beans, and folic acid can be found in fortified foods, such as breads, pastas and cereals.
Who needs a supplement: It can be very difficult to get the right level of folic acid needed through diet alone. Pregnant women and those trying for a baby should take a supplement containing 400µg of folic acid every day, from the point at which you start trying to conceive until you are 12 weeks pregnant.
For more information on vitamins and minerals, visit the Boots website!