When you consider starting a family it makes sense to ensure you are getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet for healthy development of the feotus. There is plenty of guidance available on which supplements to take before and during pregnancy, and fairly consistent messages they are too. In the UK, the NHS choices "Vitamins and minerals in pregnancy" website summarises these succinctly.
There is not, however, the same level of consistency in guidance on which supplements to take either outside of pregnancy or for women or men, for young or old.
We have all been told to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and to avoid processed foods. But we don't all know which, if any, supplements would help us at any point in our lives. It depends on our own existing diet.
This probably explains the vast range of different products out there.
On New Year's day I happened to be in Boots, the health and beauty store, and decided to finally buy a small pot of vitamin tablets.
I plucked up the courage to actually ask the store assistant what the difference between the various types was, and which would be the best option for me: courage needed since I assume it's something everyone is knowledgeable about but me.
She was very helpful and asked me what my aims were, why I thought I needed some and whether I ate a balanced diet. I confirmed that my diet was balanced, but probably not in favour of the nutrients it should be. I even told her that I don't eat nearly enought fruit and vegetables and that I never seem to have any energy.
She told me that the vitamins shouldn't be seen as an alternative to a good diet, only a supplement, (a very good point), and recommended the multi vitamins with ginseng.
Ginseng? I didn't have a clue what it was (and after googling it still aren't really sure). "It's good for energy levels" she said. Brilliant. So I bought some.
I've taken them everyday in January and, despite my daughter getting tonsillitus and all sorts of viruses going round, I haven't yet been ill. I have more energy, definitely, and, well, let's just say my trips to the toilet have been more gentle and soft.
So far I am impressed and will continue to take them. I just wonder whether to get some cod liver oil ones too? My joint's are getting a little, em, crunchy.
Do you take vitamins? If so, when and why did you start and which ones do you take? Would you recommend it, or do you feel we should avoid supplements and improve our diets instead?