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Updated on November 17, 2020

Tips to Help you Choose your Supplements

Eating a well-balanced diet is the most natural way to get all the nutrients you need to lead a healthy lifestyle.  However, there are times during your life when you may need some extra help to supplement the balance of foods required in a healthy diet.

What extra supplements you need depends on

  • Your age
  • Your medical condition
  • Your current diet that you are taking
  • Your lifestyle

Click to view Sunnybrook Hospital video on Do you need supplements

Your doctor or pharmacist can help explain the following facts to you

  • What are the benefits
  • How much do you need to take
  • How long do you need to take
  • What are the possible side effects
  • Will the supplements interfere with the medication you are taking

During Pregnancy

Folic acid should be taken by women before getting pregnant and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the baby.  Iron supplement may also be required to maintain the extra level of haemoglobin production to prevent iron-deficient anaemia during pregnancy.

Food sources of

  • Iron are lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and nuts
  • Folic acid are leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale), nuts & seeds, legumes (beans, peas, lentils)

For Healthy bones

In sun-deprived countries especially during the winter months or patients with or at risk of Osteoporosis, Vitamin D and Calcium supplements may be encouraged to keep bones healthy and strong

Food sources of

  • Vitamin D are oily fish (such as salmon or mackerel), eggs and red meat
  • Calcium are dairy product (such as milk, cheese, yoghurt), anchovies and ikan bilis, green leafy vegetables (kale, watercress)

For ARMD

Patients with Age-Related Macula Degeneration (ARMD) may find that supplements containing Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Omega-3 fatty acid, Zinc, Vitamins C & E can help slow down the deterioration in vision. 

Food sources of

  • Zinc are high-protein foods such beef, fish and lamb while non-meat sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, whole-grain cereals and whole-wheat bread
  • Omega-3 fatty acids include eggs, salmon and tuna
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli

For Brain health

Vitamins B6 & B12, folic acid, and antioxidants such as L-theanine, turmeric & Vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acid, Gingko Biloba and Acetyl-L-Carnatine help to maintain brain cells health.

Drug-Supplement Interactions

Some supplements may have interactions with the medications you take so do discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before starting on any new supplements

  • Gingko Biloba may interact with blood thinning medications such as Warfarin, Plavix or Aspirin
  • Vitamin B12 absorption may affected by Omeprazole in the treatment for GERD
  • Iron absorption may be reduced by Antacids in the treatment of gastric reflux

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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