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Supplements - just in case?

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If you search for vitamins and/or mineral deficiency on the internet you will get thousands of hits. Most of the pages are run by companies or persons who in turn sell vitamins and minerals. In most cases, you run the risk of ending up on pages run by people who have little or no knowledge or education in the field, but instead are sharing expert advice based upon what they themselves believe or have experienced. 

Of course, you could have a mineral or vitamin deficiency. But if you eat a varied diet and are healthy in general, nor a large consumer of alcohol, we rarely have any other problems than getting enough vitamin-D since the sun is absent over large periods of the year in the Nordics. Women who are menstruating can have a problem getting enough iron and in the long run might risk a iodine deficiency as salt without iodine (f.ex. sea salt) is increasing a lot. Children, the elderly, and pregnant women are therefore recommended to take supplements (see further down) but everyone else if just fine eating good and wholesome food! 

But a multivitamin tablet a day can't hurt right? Yes it can. There are studies that show that it can even have a negative effect on your health. You should also be careful to not overdose vitamins and keep them away from children. 

Supplements, where vitamins and minerals belong, are defined as foods. It is the producers themselves that are responsible for the contents of the tablets sold and there is no control agency that monitors the content, or that the supplements even contain what is stated on the jar. Several studies have proven that supplements sold in gyms stating they will increase your performance do not contain one single molecule stated on the label. They did however contain several substances classed as doping, which of course meant they increased performance, but at a great risk for the consumer.  

If you feel tired, down or sick - go to a doctor and have them take a blood test. Healthcare personnel make no extra money by informing you of a deficiency or if everything is ok (in contrast to the supplement sales persons). It could just as well be something else affecting your health so why start experimenting on your own instead of getting proper assistance? As always, we recommend eating proper food, with lots of vegetables, and exercise regularly - it will do miracles.

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About the authors Jessica & Maria

Challengize health tips are written for us by Jessica Norrbom and Maria Ahlsén, both with PHDs in medicine. Since 2013 they run their own business Fortasana working mainly with diet, training and health from a scientific perspective. Maria and Jessica have written several books and regularly lecture focusing mainly on popular health myths and explain what is actually true from a scientific perspective when it comes to diets, trends and newspaper headlines.

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