Health Canada recommends
adults have 75 mg to 90 mg of vitaminC a day. But does it matter if yourvitamin C comes from an orange ora pill? Yes, say many researchers andhealth professionals.
Most foods have vitamins andminerals that are found in themnaturally.
Healthy foods also have othernutrients not found in vitamin andmineral supplements, says HollyThompson, an adult outpatientdietitian with Alberta HealthServices’ Nutrition & Food Servicesdepartment. “There are thousands
Healthyfood is yourbest sourceof vitaminsSupplements are not areplacement for healthy eating
of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) in
food, some of which we haven’t even
She notes, “The whole is greater than
the sum of its parts. If you compare an
orange to a vitamin C supplement, the
fruit gives you fibre, folate, potassium,
magnesium, beta carotene and other
nutrients, whereas the supplement
only gives you vitamin C.”
As well, some nutrients in food
improve how well other nutrients (such
as vitamins and minerals) are absorbed
in the body.
Vitamin and mineral supplements
are often called vitamins and are made
in a lab from sources such as plants,
animals, bacteria, starch and yeast. For
example, vitamin D can be made from
wool or fish oil. Vitamins can also be
“Supplements are not a replacementfor healthy eating,” says Thompson.
“Most people can meet their vitaminneeds by eating healthy foods.” Insome cases, vitamin supplements maybe required if a person can’t get thenutrients they need from food. Forexample, women who are pregnant,breastfeeding or trying to conceiveneed a multivitamin containingfolic acid, vitamin B12 and iron
Some nutrients in food improve how well other nutrients are absorbed in the body.