Micro-nutrients: Vitamin Supplements

Description, dangers of overdose, groups most at need and healthy start scheme.

Vitamin supplements

Vitamin supplements

- Vitamins are essential for a healthy diet, so many take vitamin supplements.

- The Food Standards Agency (FSA) reported £220 million was spent on vitamin and mineral supplements in 2006; the most popular were cod-liver oil capsules and multi-vitamins.

- FSA also found the highest amount of usage was among the age group of 50-65 year olds.

The Dangers of vitamin overdose

- too much vitamin A can cause liver damage.

- too much vitamin C can cause diarrhoea - people take too much in the hopes that it stops the common cold or just prevents it.

Groups that may need vitamin supplements

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- most people dont need vitamin supplements as we get enough in out diets.

Women who are planning to get pregnant

- need folic acid supplements, and should carry on for the first 12 weeks - believed to prevent of spina bifida.

People with limited exposure to sunlight

- mostly asian women who get no sunlight, can take vitamin D to replace it.


- may need to take vitamin B12 to reduce the risk of pernicious anaemia

People who are malnourished due to illness

- may have trouble eating/swallowing and may need to take supplements to maintain a balanced diet.

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Elderly people

- supplements only needed if have trouble swallowing or eating, or loss of appetite.

Athletes in training

- should only take supplements when vital, but vitamins in food are a lot better for you.

Healthy start scheme

- government funded scheme founded in 2006

- low income families are issued with vouchers every week which can be exchanged for : milk, fresh fruit, fresh veg, and instant formula.

- free vitamin supplements also available, mostly for children.

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