GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – With so many vitamins and supplements available on the market, it can be hard to know what one should take and what is unnecessary. An Upstate medical professional helped break down which supplements are beneficial.
Brandi Giles, a nurse practitioner with Bon Secours St. Francis Health says ideally, we would get all of the nutrients we need from our diets. “As Americans in general, we don’t get a good, healthy, balanced diet of fruits and vegetables and good proteins and good fats, and things like that. So, a lot of times a multi-vitamin is needed to help supplement our dietary intake,” Giles said.
Giles spoke about the most important vitamins for women. She said, “For women, you definitely want that calcium, and that vitamin D to help that calcium, get into the bones, especially as we age.”
Likewise, she addressed another vitamin that is especially important for women of a certain age. “If you’re of child bearing age, even if you’re not planning to get pregnant, folic acid is a good idea,” Giles said. Folic acid is a type of B-vitamin.
Giles explained why folic acid is so important. She said, “It prevents spinal cord deformities such as spina bifida.” She continued, “You need to have those good folic acid stores in your body before you get pregnant.” In fact, the Centers for Disease Control says women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, at least one month before pregnancy and during the first three months of pregnancy.
Giles also explained the importance of buying vitamins and minerals that have been certified by third party organizations like United States Pharmacopeia, also known as USP. The non-profit group tests and verifies various brands of vitamins and minerals to ensure that the supplement actually contains what it purports to contain. Other third-party groups, like USP, include ConsumerLab.com and NSF International.
Taking Vitamin C for immune health, also topped Giles list of suggested vitamins. She addressed a recent fad supplement: taking Vitamin B12 to boost one’s energy. Giles said, “That’s only true if you are deficient. So, if you’re deficient of vitamin B12, then yes, that can, taking vitamin B12 can improve your energy levels.”
For more information about how to stay healthy, tune in to hear the experts at Bon Secours every Saturday at 10 a.m. on 106.3 WORD radio.
To submit a question to the Ask the Expert series, visit: https://www.wspa.com/ask-the-expert.