Illness, age, diet preferences, and some gender-related conditions may put you in a spot where you can't get all the nutrients you need from food alone.
Digestive illnesses, unfriendly drugs, injury, and chronic illness
Certain metabolic disorders and diseases of the digestive organs (liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and intestines) interfere with the normal digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. Some medicines may also interfere with normal digestion, meaning you need supplements to make up the difference. People who suffer from certain chronic diseases, who have suffered a major injury (such as a serious burn), or who have just been through surgery may need more nutrients than they can get from food. In these cases, a doctor may prescribe supplements to provide the hard-to-get vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
oj^NG/ Checking with your doctor or pharmacist before opting for a supplement you hope will have medical effects (make you stronger, smooth your skin, ease your anxiety) is a smart idea. The bad old days when doctors were total ignoramuses about nutrition may not be gone forever, but they're fading fast. Besides, your doctor is the person most familiar with your health, knows what medications you're taking, and can warn you of potential side effects.
Vitamin B12 is found only in food from animals, such as meat, milk, and eggs. (Some seaweed does have B12, but the suspicion is that the vitamin comes from microorganisms living in the plant.) Without these foods, vegans — vegetarians who don't eat any foods of animal origin — almost certainly have to get their vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods.
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