You Asked, Dr. Willis Answered

You Asked, Dr. Willis Answered

by Sally Walters

Every year on March 30, National Doctors’ Day celebrates the dedicated medical professionals that help and contribute to the community day in and day out. Now more than ever, we should honor our physicians, and thank them for always putting their patients first, for all the late-night calls, for the never-ending shifts, and for all the sacrifices they make daily so that we can be safe and healthy. 

For this National Doctors’ Day, we discussed supplements with Dr. Simon Willis and got some answers to your most-asked questions.

1. At what age should we start taking supplements?

Supplements can realistically be taken at any age, depending on the bodys needs and deficiencies. However, children should not take adult formulated supplements as there are gentle preparations formulated specific for their age groups. The most important thing is to consult with your physician before taking any kind of vitamins or minerals. Your doctor will be able to establish what essential nutrients you might be lacking and can recommend a supplement routine with the proper dosages adjusted to your specific needs.

2. Do I need to take supplements if I have a healthy diet?

A healthy and nutrient-rich diet is crucial for ones well-being. Unfortunately, not all people have access or consume only highly nutrient dense foods. Furthermore, depending on different dietary restrictions, medical conditions, or environmental causes, one might be lacking in specific vitamins or minerals.  

For example, those who follow a vegan diet often need vitamin B12, as it is primarily found in animal products. Pregnant women are recommended to take folic acid to support a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of potential complications to the baby associated with folic acid deficiency. Women with heavy menstrual periods may need to take an iron supplement, while those who are lactose-intolerant should look to get their calcium from other sources outside of typical dairy products. And let us not forget vitamin D, which we not only rely on getting from various dietary sources, but also from our own bodys production in response to sun exposure. Thus, in the winter months or in specific geographic areas where there is not much sunshine, people can have considerable vitamin D deficiency. 

Source: Dr. Willis

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3. What are the benefits of taking vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in some of the bodys most vital functions. This vitamin is important for keeping your body healthy by playing a major role in the development and repair of all body tissues, including helping to maintain and create collagen production. Vitamin C plays an integral part in iron absorption in the body and is known to be a vital antioxidant helping to protect cells from damage. Not only that, but vitamin C may also help protect you against stroke and other cardiovascular diseases and can help to boost your body's immunity against infections.

4. Should we take supplements every day, or can we skip taking them from time to time?

It depends on a variety of factors including the quality of ones diet, particular medical conditions, as well as the type of supplements one is taking. Water-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin C, are metabolized by the body at a much faster rate and usually leave the body the same day or even some hours after being consumed. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins like, Vitamin A, get stored in the liver for weeks to months. Vitamin D is stored in fat cells, so it is often not necessary to be taken every day unless otherwise directed by a medical professional. For most vitamins, there is a recommended daily allowance (RDA) you need for your age bracket which we recommend adhering to as these amounts are typically safe to consume. The best course of action is to follow your physicians recommendations on how much and how often you should take certain vitamins or minerals. 

5. Can supplements interact with prescribed medications?

It is possible indeed that some supplements may interact with prescribed medication. That is also a reason why it is vital to consult with your doctor before starting any supplement routine.  Your physician should have access to your entire medical record and knows which medications you are taking and as well as any current medical conditions you may be suffering from. It is especially important to discuss supplementation with your health practitioner if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you are about to have any form of surgery.

We hope the knowledge you gained from having Dr. Willis answer your questions will help you choose the right supplements for your needs. Stay safe! 

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