You may hear us often talking about how you should be taking supplements to better your health - but what are the actual benefits?
Read on to find out what supplements will best improve your health, signs to look out for for vitamin deficiencies, and what vitamin does what in your body. For a more in depth and bespoke discussion about what supplements are right for you, book a consultation here.
Before making any drastic lifestyle changes you should always consult with your GP first.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that your body needs in specific amounts to work properly, with the most common supplements including calcium, fish oil, vitamin D and folic acid. You can find most nutrients naturally in foods, for example: calcium in milk, folic acid in spinach, iron in turkey, omega-3 in flaxseed, vitamin D in tuna and vitamin A in sweet potatoes.
We need these nutrients to stay healthy - calcium and vitamin D to protect our bones, folic acid to produce and maintain new cells and vitamin A to preserve our immune system and vision, for example.
It is however said that around 90% of people do not get the recommended amount of important nutrients from food alone due to dieting, poor appetite or general changing nutritional needs caused from exercising more or a general malabsorption that comes with age.
An important note to make about supplements is that taking too much or too little could be harmful to your health. You should consult with your GP in regards to the recommended dosage for you and your health needs.
Some vitamin deficiencies are easy to spot and resolve. For example, an iron deficiency can cause anaemia, fatigue and a weakened immune system and brain function, most commonly seen in young women, children and vegetarians. Another common vitamin deficiency is vitamin D, presenting as muscle weakness, bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. A deficiency in folic acid, commonly found in older individuals, can cause pins and needles, mouth ulcers and even memory problems.
If you feel unwell or want to know more about how much of what vitamin to take, you should always consult a doctor first. Any symptoms mentioned can also be a precursor for a range of other issues.
A great way to know what supplement is right for you is through a blood test. We offer both a full blood test and a well-person check at the practice, with results back as quickly as the next day. These blood test results can help enable our doctors to create a bespoke supplement package for you, improving your physical wellbeing.
A full blood test and phone consultation to check your kidney, liver and blood functions in your body costs £120, and can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with results back the next working day. This is commonly known as the DL2 blood test.
Our more thorough well-person check is a comprehensive 45 minute assessment with one of our GPs: a full medical history, lifestyle review, physical examination, spirometry-lung function, ECG and urinalysis. The blood test within this appointment looks at your kidneys, liver, cholesterol and lipid profile as well as a full blood count. A follow up 15 minute phone consultation with our specialist GP will discuss the results and next steps. Click here to find out more, or email email@example.com to book in your appointment.