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Supplements ‘people should avoid’ – and the supplement that’s the ‘exception to the rule’

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The world of supplements can be difficult to navigate. With pharmacy and supermarket shelves overflowing with various colourful bottles, it can be tempting to stock up on essential nutrients packed inside a little pill. However, “more is not better”, Dr Subashini M, Director of Science, Health & Wellness at Holland & Barrett told Express.co.uk.

There are various nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to work properly. 

For example, iron, calcium and vitamin C are needed but small amounts are sufficient to keep everything going as it should, the NHS explains.

Dr Subashini M shared: “More is not better, so avoid taking supplements that you don’t need, go above the recommended dosage or take something because someone else has chosen a supplement for their individualised needs.”

The health service shares similar advice explaining that most of us don’t actually need supplements.

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They explain that people should be able to get vitamins and minerals from following a healthy, varied diet.

What’s more, the NHS warns that taking too many supplements or taking them for too long could be “harmful”. 

However, one size doesn’t fit all. Certain people who are at risk of deficiences can benefit from some supplements.

So, if your doctor recommended a supplement course, you should stick to their medical advice.

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Even though supplements are not necessary for everyone, there is an “exception to the rule”, according to Dr Sara Kayat, Superdrug’s Medical Ambassador.

She explained that the one supplement to keep on your list is vitamin D.

The doctor added: “Vitamin D is mainly made through a reaction from the sun on our skin, but during the months October to March in the UK we are not often able to make enough vitamin D. 

“The Government therefore suggests that during those months, adults in the UK take a 10 micrograms supplement of vitamin D.” 

One way to meet this target is to incorporate enough food packed with the sunshine vitamin in your diet.

According to the NHS, good sources include:

  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods (certain fat spreads and breakfast cereals).

Dr Kayat warned: “Many people choose to take supplements even if they are reaching their recommended daily intake through their diet in the hope that ‘extra’ might better their health even further.

“However, there can be dangers in taking too many, and reaching toxic levels of certain vitamins can leave to conditions including nerve damage, liver damage, blood clots, stroke and even coma. 

“It is therefore always important to ensure you are not taking more than the recommended daily intake, and if you are at all in doubt over whether you need to take supplements and if so, how much, do speak to your doctor.”

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