Nutrients naturally occur in a complex combination and often rely on reactions of other food components to function properly. For example, the role of vitamin D and calcium are closely related, as well as the role of folate and vitamin B12. Ingesting high doses of one vitamin or mineral may cause an imbalance. Eating a variety of whole foods provides a better balance of nutrients so that each can perform its function.
While most professionals recommend getting nutrients from healthy foods versus supplements, there are conditions and stages in life when supplementation may be necessary. Some examples include:
- Women of child-bearing age
- Women who are pregnant or breast feeding.
- Older adults.
- Those diagnosed with nutrient deficiencies or conditions that reduce nutrient absorption.
Talk with your doctor or dietitian if you fall into these categories. He or she can help you determine the correct supplements and doses for your specific needs.