Dr Dawn has experienced over 30 years in the NHS, in hospital medicine and General Practice. She is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and holds the Diploma of Child Health.

If you’re eating a healthy diet you shouldn’t need supplements. But there may be times when you need to boost specific nutrients, as Dr Dawn Harper explains

Vitamin A

The Department of Health recommends all children from six months to five years take drops with vitamins A, C and D.


Women planning to have a baby and those in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy need to eat more folate-rich foods and take a 400mcg supplement to prevent birth defects.

Vitamin D

The Department of Health advises all breastfeeding and pregnant women, adults over 65 years and anyone who doesn’t get much sun to take a daily 10mcg vitamin D.


As we get older our appetites may reduce and post menopausal women may need a supplement.


Teenage girls and women with heavy periods, or people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, may need an iron boost. If you’re concerned, ask your GP for a blood test.


Good for the production of healthy sperm, but there is no firm proof that supplements should routinely be used to help sub-fertility.


Some evidence shows a daily zinc supplement may reduce the length of cold symptoms. A healthy diet should be enough, but if you often get a cold, give it a go.

*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.