One-third of Americans take vitamin pills and supplements every day. While certain nutrients are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies, we don’t really need special supplements for all of them. Whole foods have the right balance of nutrients in the exact amounts we need. However, if your diet isn’t the healthiest, then you might be missing out on essential nutrients and will need supplements to make up the deficit. There is a plethora of dietary supplements but in actual fact, you only need a few of them to be healthy.
When Are Supplements Advised?
People following specific diets or those who have been unwell may be advised to take certain minerals and vitamins. A strict vegetarian diet may require a supplement containing vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and zinc since most of these are usually present in animal products. Someone with lactose intolerance might need a calcium supplement. A pregnant woman will need to take at least 0.4 mg of folic acid a day together with a diet rich in folates. This is essential to prevent defects in the baby she is carrying. Anyone recovering from surgery along with older adults may be prescribed a vitamin and mineral supplement.
The Essential Guide To Vitamins And Minerals
Of the huge variety of supplements available to us, we only need to take very few of them. In fact, most of them we get through foods anyway and so we run the risk of suffering from toxicity if we have too much. Toxicity never occurs through whole natural foods. High doses of calcium, for example, interferes with the body’s absorption of iron, zinc and, manganese. If you are confused about the supplements you need, here is a handy guide to the essential vitamins and minerals and how much of them you need.
The sunshine vitamin is very important as it acts more like a hormone, regulating many metabolic pathways. If you are living far from the equator or are exposed to less sunshine, you might need to take it in supplement form to ensure you’re getting enough. You can’t get this vitamin from foods, although mushrooms are an exception. For adults, 2000 to 6000 IU of vitamin D each day is considered safe. Since it’s fat soluble, it’s best taken along with olive oil, avocado or fish to increase its bioavailability.
This is vital especially in regulating the functioning of neurotransmitters. A deficiency leads to stress, migraines, insomnia and other nervous problems. 80% of the human population have been found to have low levels of this mineral. A dosage of 350 mg is an average adult’s recommended intake of this mineral. There are numerous supplements to choose from, the best being magnesium citrate, magnesium threonate or magnesium glycinate. Take it just before you sleep to relax your muscles and get a good night’s rest.
Methylated B Complex
Methylation is a process which occurs billions of times each second in our cells. For it to happen, it requires methylated forms of folate and Vitamin B12 to helps our body to properly detox. However, 30% of people are unable to metabolize the unmethylated forms of folate and Vitamin B12 that is present in food. Look for supplements that contain L-5-MTHF or Methyl B12. Deficiency of any of the vitamins in this complex might lead to anemia, mouth ulcers and skin rashes.
Vitamin A is essential for proper vision and bone growth. This vitamin is found in animals as active vitamin A or retinol. In plants, it exists as the precursor carotenoids, which needs to be converted into the active form. However this conversion is quite weak and only 3% actually gets converted into the active form. We need a dosage of 2000 to 10,000 IU which is best got from cod liver oil.
Research in rats with multiple sclerosis symptoms has shown that vitamin K2 plays an important part in inhibiting certain factors in the spinal cord and brain. It also helps prevent osteoporosis by keeping your bone density high. Specific forms of vitamin K called menaquinones are dubbed “MK” with numbers attached, such as MK-4 and MK-7 each having a specific function. Each one is got from a specific animal food source, often grass fed cattle. Mk-4 is the only vitamin K2 found in the brain. Look for supplements that contain MK -4 in higher concentrations.
Your body just cannot store this mineral and so it needs a continuous supply of it. Zinc helps in the production of WBC and thus helps in fighting off infections. Pregnant women are often advised a zinc supplement to help in fetal growth. A dosage of 15 -30 mg per day is generally recommended for adults. Normally a healthy well-rounded diet gives you enough of your daily need, however, if your diet consists mainly of processed foods, you might be deficient in this mineral.