Tuesday, 24 June 2014

FUEL FOR THOUGHT: Vitamins, Vitamins, Vitamins

‘My name is Sarah and I am a Vitamin Junkie.’

Since I was a child I have grown up taking a vitamin every day. From the Super Ted multi vitamins for kids (do you remember these!?) to Zinc & Omega 3 during my studies to where I am now with three variants I take each day, without fail.

Opinions on vitamins are split quite evenly I think. There are those that turn their noses up to a Cod Liver capsule in favour for regular fish dishes and then there are those, like me, who think vitamins are an important part of long term nutrition.

The importance of vitamins has been highlighted since the Ancient Egyptians. Those smarty-pants knew their stuff when it came to medicine and they found that feeding liver to someone would cure ‘night blindness’ (this is where your eyes don’t adapt to darkness) which was linked to a deficiency in Vitamin A. The knowledge of vitamins grew from there when, for example, in the 1700’s a Scottish surgeon discovered that citrus prevented scurvy. Today however, there are whole hosts of capsules, drinks and powders that offer supplements to prevent various symptoms.

As a runner, I feel vitamins are necessary especially as a non-meat eater. To ensure I remain in tip top condition health wise and steer clear of coughs, colds and general illnesses, I take three supplements a day:

One tablet packed full of essential vitamins from all letters of the alphabet. I love a good multi-vitamin and they are cheap to buy and easily accessible from supermarkets, drug stores and health shops. I take Holland & Barrett ABC Plus (£7.25 or 120 tablets) as after analysing the list of vitamins, it covers everything including iron, magnesium and zinc. Make sure you check the list of vitamins on the back of the pack as brands do differ. I was taking a Boots own supplement for months and realised it didn’t contain iron and so that is when I switched to ABC Plus.

Cod Liver Oil
I have been taking this for yonks! I always remember when I was a little girl my Dad each morning had a spoon of Cod Liver Oil and after trying it in liquid form (which by the way is foul!), I will definitely be sticking to capsules. Cod Liver Oil contains Omega 3, which is such an important nutrient as it helps the body keep a steady metabolism, strengthens bones and reduces the impact of cognitive ageing.

This supplement is particularly crucial for me as osteoporosis is rife in my family and I definitely want to avoid it in later life.  As I don’t tend to eat too much fish, Cod Liver Oil capsules are a fantastic way for me to get all the goodness I need and also keep my bones strong. That and also tonnes of Petite Filous but don’t worry, I eat a lot of fromage frais too.

Skin Hair & Nails
Another favourite of mine and probably the reason why I need my hair trimmed so often! Skin, Hair & Nails tablets are probably in a lot of women’s cabinets and rightly so - I’m blessed to have spot free skin and I do think these tablets contribute majorly to that.

They are quite pricey (120 capsules of Holland & Barrett Skin, Hair & Nails is £18) but if you are looking for ways to rid blemishes, strengthen hair and prevent weak nails these are worth trying. I cannot remember the last time I broke a nail and my hair grows so fast, if I didn’t cut it, I could quite easily take up a role in a Rapunzel panto.

What to look out for...
If you are thinking of taking more than one vitamin, I strongly suggest you analyse the vitamins each capsule contains. This is so you can identify what you could possibly be taking too much of. For example, high consumption of iron can cause side effects (along the lines of constipation cough cough) and as a runner, I keep myself alert to my intake in vitamins to ensure I avoid any health mishaps during my training.

If you are partial to a supplement or two, I’d definitely suggest the above. Or, if you feel you need a boost in some shape or form, head to your nearest pharmacy as I bet there is a vitamin to fix it!

Lipstick Runner.

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