Almost half of adults in the UK consume vitamin and mineral supplements. However, 90 percent of those products are "devalued" and many have "no measurable benefits," a former adviser to the Government Committee on Drug Safety said. Paul Clayton recently.
In fact, the traditional view is that it's better to get your nutrients out of your diet by eating healthily. But what additions are worthwhile?
We asked specialists from various fields of medicine to find out what they are taking – and why.
Wide open: We asked specialists from different areas of medicine what they needed
UROLOGIST: PREVENT VITAMIN C URINE INFECTIONS
Professor Christopher Eden, 57, is a urology adviser at Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford.
I see many patients – both men and women – with urinary tract infections, which can be debilitating and painful and can only be treated with antibiotics.
Professor Christopher Eden (57) suggests vitamin C to prevent urinary tract infections
One of the main causes of these infections is alkaline urine, as this environment is ideal for the growth of bacteria.
To avoid such infections, and regardless of what I eat that day, I take 1 g of vitamin C daily. (The recommended daily allowance or RDA is 40 mg, which corresponds to a large orange.)
This amount of vitamin C makes the urine slightly acidic and increases the amount of antimicrobial protein called siderocalin that naturally occurs in the urine, making the environment less favorable to bad bacteria and reducing the risk of infection.
MENOPAUSE GP: PROBIOTICS FOR HORMONIZATION
Louise Newson, 48, is a Stratford-upon-Avon based general practitioner and menopause.
Louise Newson, 48, insists that there is a connection between a healthy gut and hormone health
Most people are unaware that there is a close relationship between a healthy gut and hormone health, as hormone receptors in the gut support gut function.
Women who undergo menopause or perimenopause may experience intestinal symptoms such as bloating caused by hormonal imbalances that affect the balance of intestinal bacteria. Probiotic supplements (good bacteria) correct this imbalance and are also linked to the chemical serotonin in the brain, which can improve mood. This is important during menopause.
I make sure to take a probiotic every day, especially one with a high bacterial count, including Lactobacillus acidophilus. I'm looking for one that needs to be stored in the fridge as this is a sign of a quality product.
ORTHOPEDIC CHECK: COLLAGEN FOR PAIN
Professor Tony Kochhar, 45, is an orthopedic surgeon at London Bridge Hospital.
Professor Tony Kochhar (45) takes collagen to avoid foot pain due to tendonitis
After taking statins for several years, I got tendinitis, an inflammation in the foot that caused pain on the outside.
My family doctor told me to stop taking the statins, which helped me, and I now control my condition with diet. I also take collagen (a natural protein in the tendons) to build up the tendon structure and reduce pain.
I take two 1,200 mg of collagen supplements a day and it really helped. Within two weeks of starting, my pains had disappeared.
ONCOLOGIST: Fending off vitamin D to fight cancer
Dr. Anne Rigg, 51, is an oncologist at London Bridge Hospital.
Vitamin D is needed for the general functioning of a healthy body. The reason for taking dietary supplements is that low levels have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, although it is not clear why.
Dr. Anne Rigg, 51, is taking vitamin D because it can help combat breast cancer
One theory suggests that vitamin D can help control the normal growth of breast cells and even stop the growth of breast cancer cells.
The body produces vitamin D from sunlight on the skin when we are outdoors. However, due to the British weather and the lawful use of sunscreen, it is easy to become deficient.
I take the recommended daily dose of 10mcg. [Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are good sources, too, but you’d have to eat them in large amounts to get the recommended daily dosage.]
It is important that you do not overdose, as this may increase the risk of kidney stones: The vitamin absorbs calcium from food, which can build up stones.
OPTOMETRIST: VISION BOOSTING antioxidants
Dr. Rob Hogan, 62, is an optician at iCare Consulting
Dr. Rob Hogan, 62, takes MacuShield, a supplement that can help improve vision
An optician with poor eyesight is of no use to anyone.
But with age and patients, I also see the increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60 years.
Here, the small central part of the retina (the macula) in the back of the eye deteriorates. Therefore, I take MacuShield, a drug that studies have shown to help improve vision and keep the fundus of the eye healthy.
It contains a blend of natural compounds – lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin -, antioxidants found in studies to improve vision and eye health. I take one a day, usually with a meal.
DENTIST: CALCIUM FOR PREVENTING TOOTH
Dr. Milad Shadrooh, 37, uses calcium to protect his tooth enamel
Milad Shadrooh (37) is a dentist in Basingstoke, Hampshire
Every day, I take a varied supplement to maintain good health and, above all, healthy teeth. It contains calcium (an adult's RDA is 700 mg, equivalent to three 200 ml cups of milk), as most people, including me, do not eat enough.
Enamel, the protective coating on the teeth, consists of calcium and is therefore an important mineral that must be used to protect against tooth decay. I also take iron, as a deficiency can cause oral ulcers [as a symptom of anaemia — where the blood contains too few red blood cells],
DERMATOLOGIST: ZINC FOR STRONG NAILS
Dr. Joanna Gach, 49, takes a multivitamin capsule containing zinc, selenium and biotin
Dr. Joanna Gach, 49, is a dermatologist at the University Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
From time to time I take a multivitamin capsule containing zinc, selenium and biotin. These are all helpful in sorting out my brittle nails and maintaining healthy hair.
You can not just take one or the other time – you have to do a course for several weeks to see a difference. As a result, I may take supplementation daily for two months or until I see an improvement.
A 2013 study on 312 people with hair loss found in the journal Annals Of Dermatology found that everyone in the blood had a lower zinc concentration than those with healthy hair.
ORAL SURGEON: VITAMIN B FOR ULCERS
Luke Cascarini, 47, has daily a vitamin drink with a high-dose vitamin B complex
Luke Cascarini, 47, is a maxillofacial surgeon at Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospital in London.
I look into people's mouths every day and am very aware of the need for good oral health.
Every day I take a vitamin drink with a high-dose vitamin B complex, which is necessary for a good oral health.
In particular, a low vitamin B12 level can lead to mouth ulcers and a swollen tongue.
This is because the vitamin is needed to keep the mucous membrane – the membrane inside the mouth – healthy. Since B vitamins are water-soluble, they are best absorbed on an empty stomach – so I take them before breakfast. I hardly get ulcers.
GYNECOLOGIST: PRIMROSE OIL
Dr. Jenni Byrom, 44, takes evening primrose oil for premenstrual symptoms
Dr. Jenni Byrom, 44, is a consultant gynecologist at the Women and Children Hospital in Birmingham.
I take evening primrose oil for premenstrual symptoms like chest pain. I take 1 g of evening primrose oil daily and I find that it really makes a difference.
Some women with chest pain may not have high enough "fatty acids" found in evening primrose oil.
One theory is that high levels of the hormone prolactin (secreted from the pituitary gland) can lead to chest pain.
Evening primrose oil contains a fatty acid, gamma-linoleic acid, which can be converted to a compound called prostaglandin, which is believed to control the effects of excess prolactin.
GP: Vitamin C for the prevention of color disorders
Dr. Sarah Myhill, 60, takes 10 grams of Vitamin C daily in a glass of water
Dr. Sarah Myhill, 60, is a GP in Wales.
As a general practitioner, I'm at the forefront of getting in touch with people who have colds, flu, and other infections. So I take 10 grams of Vitamin C daily in a glass of water before I start my shift. and I will never catch a cold.
I believe that high doses of vitamin C on contact can kill bad microbes – or at least help reduce the severity of infections such as colds and sore throats.
SPORTS CHOIR: SORE MUSCLES SPRAY
Jonathan Dearing, 49, is wearing an oral vitamin D spray and uses it after workouts in the gym
Jonathan Dearing, 49, is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports injuries at the Carrick Glen Hospital of the BMI in Ayrshire.
I carry a Vitamin D oral spray and use it after exercise as it improves muscle recovery by regulating various processes that help them repair and grow.
When I was younger, I played rugby, but today I train for triathlons.
I train every day when I can – all from the 10km road, swimming a mile or going out an hour or two by bike.
After that, I always use a vitamin spray to relieve aching muscles.
MAGNESIUM FOR A STRONGER HEART
Dr. Glyn Thomas, 46, takes a magnesium supplement to treat an extra heartbeat
Dr. Glyn Thomas, 46, is a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist at the Bristol Heart Institute.
I take a magnesium supplement as it can cause an extra heartbeat – something I have suffered for 20 years.
Although harmless, these extra beats, known as premature ventricular contractions, disrupt your normal heart rhythm and sometimes cause heartbeat or palpitations. It is common to have extra beating when you are stressed, anxious or tired.
Magnesium is important in coordinating the activity of the heart muscle and the nerves that trigger the heartbeat. I take 300 mg a day – that's the recommended daily dose, equivalent to two cups of spinach – with the result that I do not get any extra heartbeats.