Confused about whether you need to supplement your diet with some vitamins or not? The answer is yes, if you fulfil any of the criteria below.

Let’s face it, many of us don’t get around to meeting our daily nutritional requirements through our meals. The resulting deficiency of vitamins and minerals can lead to all kinds of health problems- from skin problems to depression, allergies and poor vision. That’s why your doctor may recommend vitamin supplementation.

Here are some signs that indicate the need for vitamin pills:

#1 You don’t eat regular, well-balanced meals that include whole, home-cooked food and plenty of vegetables and proteins.

#2 You are a picky eater who doesn’t eat enough, or eats too much of one food group, i.e. too many carbohydrates like pasta and bread based meals, or high protein meals without enough healthy carbohydrate component such as vegetables and whole grains. Vegetarians and those on a dairy free or gluten free diet may also need supplements.

#3 You suffer from a chronic medical condition like asthma or stomach problems, or take medications that are likely to affect your absorption of nutrition from your meals. Certain conditions such as low bone density, or vitamin D deficiency, also call for specific vitamin and mineral supplements. Get a prescription from your doctor to ensure the best benefits.

#4 You eat too many fast, processed foods and drink too many carbonated drinks – especially diet sodas – which leach vitamins and minerals from the body.

#5 You are very active, and go in for demanding workouts or play active sports. Extra demand on the body calls for super nutrition, which probably means supplementation with protein, vitamins and minerals. Read up to inform yourself on the ideal diet and nutritional requirements, to maximize your performance and ensure peak health.

Remember to always take your vitamin pills with, or close to a meal, because your body will absorb this better. Also, bear in mind that smoking and drinking alcohol can inhibit the absorption and metabolism of Vitamin C.

Last but not the least, studies show that the body absorbs certain vitamins better from specific foods. For instance, Vitamin B9 or folic acid is more easily absorbed from fortified cereal grain products, than leafy greens and legumes.