Home / Exercise & fitness / Nutrition / Supplements


What do we mean by supplements? Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health. A lack of a particular vitamin or mineral can lead to a deficiency disease. We have some basic information and facts for you:

  • Over 45% of households bought nutrition supplements in the UK last year (2001); £350 million was spent on supplementation and is still rising. Vitamin C is the top selling supplement in the UK
  • Supplements are powerfully promoted as a way of optimising health and helping to treat certain conditions. Good health and decreasing your risk of disease is still dependent on achieving a healthy, balanced diet and including a wide variety of foods as part of an active lifestyle
  • Supplements contain concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals and are available in tablets, capsules, powders and liquids. They are not a substitute for a healthy diet and taking a supplement does not make a poor diet better
  • Supplements may be taken as single vitamins, e.g. vitamin C, or as combinations such as selenium ACE or multivitamins and multiminerals. You can also buy natural oils, such as fish oils which contain omega 3 fats, which can help to protect against heart disease. Herbal remedies and natural substances promoted for their health enhancing effects, e.g. Royal Jelly are also available
More on supplements...

More facts include:

  • Scientific studies into the effects of different nutrients on the risk of cancer and heart disease continue. Many studies have looked at the effects of eating more fruit and vegetables, which have been shown to reduce the risk of both of these diseases
  • Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidant vitamins and minerals, e.g. Vitamins A, C, E and selenium, and other antioxidants may be found in certain foods such as phyto oestrogens in soya, lycopene in tomatoes and flavonoids in tea and red wine
  • It is not currently known whether individual vitamins and minerals help to protect the body against disease or whether it is a combination of nutrients, such as those found within foods such as fruit and vegetables
  • Megadoses of individual vitamins are not currently justified by scientific evidence and may even be harmful. Vitamin A is toxic in large doses as it is stored in body fat. Cod liver oil, Evening Primrose Oil, multivitamins and minerals and selenium A, C, E all contain vitamin A and many people take combinations of these supplements without realising the potential harm
  • If you take too much of one particular vitamin or mineral it can upset the balance of other vitamins and minerals within the body
  • If large doses of vitamin C are taken, i.e. 500mg to 1000mg when the requirement for adults is only 40mg, the body is only able to absorb a small amount and the rest is passed out though the urine. Rebound deficiency can occur when large doses are suddenly stopped. The body gets used to a higher level of vitamin C and if the supplement is stopped the body can become deficient in vitamin C
  • Look at your diet first and make changes to include a range of nutrient dense foods. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat, fish, beans, pulses and low fat dairy products. If you suspect that you need to increase your intake of any particular vitamin and mineral, positively include foods rich in that particular vitamin or mineral regularly in your diet
  • Taking iron supplements without medical supervision is not advisable as it may cover up a more serious condition. Too much iron can be damaging to the body. Iron can be obtained from foods such as offal, red meat, poultry, fish, peas, beans, pulses, green leafy vegetables, wholegrain foods and fortified cereals. It is wise to include these foods rather than relying on a supplement
  • You may need to consider taking a supplement if you are;

    • Planning to get pregnant
    • Eating haphazardly and grabbing foods without thought
    • On a reducing diet and cutting daily calories
    • Ill or recovering from an illness
    • A vegan
    • Suffering from a food allergy or intolerance
    • Following a fad diet which excludes total food groups

** This fact sheet provides you with basic information about healthy eating. It is not a substitute for medical or dietetic advice and you should contact your GP for further information

Exercise & fitness
Exercise basics
Exercise benefits
Antioxidants •
Healthy eating •
Minerals •
Supplements •
Amino acids •
Chronium •
Creatine •
Sports drinks •
Echinacea •
Folic acid •
Protein •
Tea tree oil •
Vitamins •
Specialist fitness
Personal training
Fitness classes
Fitness goals
Fitness guides
Gyms & clubs
Health & Fitness links
Leisure Jobs
Personal trainers
Sports shop
Useful tools
Sports & fitness articles

  Bookmark this page | Contact Us | Advertise on Gymuser.co.uk

Terms & Conditions | Privacy statement

All content is Copyright © Gymuser 1999 - 2015

The information that you find on GymUser whether it's relating to exercise, fitness, or health is purely for information and is not intended to replace professional or medical advice. GymUser does not offer any medical advice or information across it sites or within it's newsletters.

If at any time you feel ill you should consult your doctor or GP. Likewise we recomend that before you undertake any form of fitness, exercise or even weight loss programs.