People often start taking vitamin supplements when they are feeling run down, tired or depressed.
First, I want to get one problem out of the way because it is something I am asked about every week by dieters who are struggling to achieve their goal weight, only to find themselves looking and feeling awful, with puffy eyes and a debilitating lethargy. I talk about this a lot because I feel strongly about it. It seems to me to defeat the object completely if you strive to look good, and then feel so washed out that all you can do is curl up on the sofa in your robe and watch TV.
As I am a complete believer in eating plenty, eating frequently, and eating carbohydrate-rich foods, which give you energy necessary for your body to function. There are two other causes of tiredness which are not necessarily related to diet, and those are stress and boredom. Feeling tired doesn’t always mean that you need sleep. Many workaholics manage on very few hours’ sleep a night; they have their work to keep them bright and on top of the world. By contrast, having a monotonous and repetitive life can spell boredom, not to be confused with having nothing to do. Many people who feel tired all the time go to the chemist’s and stock up on vitamin pills and alcohol, when in fact a dull or uninteresting life is the cause.
Stress is also very draining and can make you feel ‘heady’, as if you are suffering from flu. Sufferers usually find that a change of scene or some brisk exercise does the trick -suddenly a new lease of life has been found! So recognize these two problems before you reach for the tablets or telephone the doctor, and try these self-help remedies:
Eat a good breakfast with plenty of carbohydrate.
Eat more starch, and do not go for more than three hours without food.
Work in some brisk exercise.
Drink a pint of fresh water – dehydration makes you weak.
Remember: if your symptoms persist, see your doctor for a check-up.
A good diet is a balanced diet, and that means a bit of everything. Supplements are needed if you are a smoker, if you exercise a lot, or do a job which is physically demanding. Our daily iron requirement is 14mg, which is the dose found in most standard iron preparations. I suggest you take a combined multivitamin with iron tablet every day, as iron is lost through perspiration, and the extra minerals, especially potassium, will also help. Loss of potassium and salt causes cramping, and loss of fluid generally makes you feel very weak. It is not generally understood just how great an effect lack of fluid can have on your alertness. Everybody should drink at least two liters of fluid every day, and eat food which has high water content, like fruit and vegetables.
And always remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking vitamins and supplements, and most people should at the very least take a daily vitamin. However, there is a big problem if you’re taking vitamins because you aren’t eating properly or healthy.