Because this subject is so large, and there is so much to say about it, I decided to continue to discussing some of the issues/things to be aware of with supplementation. As I mentioned last month, getting your vitamins and minerals from a real food source is the best way to go. In this edition I will discuss some slight misuses and imbalances that supplementing can cause, and where to find in food sources if and when it is available to you.
For starters, Vitamin C has become a popular cold remedy, so many people take too much of this when sick. Vitamin C is important in helping to support proper production of adrenal hormones, and is usually a good idea in times of stress. Recommended daily dosage for Vitamin C is 400mg and food sources include: red pepper, strawberries, and tomato. However, when taken in large too large of an amount as a supplement, the observed side effect is an imbalance of Vitamin A. As Vitamin C increases, the relative Vitamin A becomes low. One of the most important nutrients for anyone with cold/flu or sinus symptoms is actually Vitamin A, which you can get from eating vegetables such as butternut squash, carrots, and collard greens (my favorite cure all). Recommended daily doses for Vitamin A is 2,500 IU. A side note: pregnant women must be careful not to get too much Vitamin A from supplementation as high doses can cause birth defects and liver toxicity. “The government considers 10,000 IU to be the maximum amount of preformed vitamin A that you should get from supplements, animal sources, and fortified foods – combined – each day.” (Taken from: http://www.babycenter.com/0_vitamin-a-in-your-pregnancy-diet_675.bc)
Vitamin A interacts with Vitamin D and thyroid hormone to directly impact the way your genes are transcribed, helping teach type of cell its specific job. Vitamin D helps the body regulate its calcium levels, boosts immunity and discourages autoimmune disorders (such as inflammation), lowers blood pressure, and may reduce osteoporosis and breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Recommended daily dosage is about 2,000IU, plus 10-15 minutes of direct midday sun on arms and legs or face and arms at least 3 times per week. Food sources: canned pink salmon, canned sardines, Vitamin-D-fortified milk.
Poor Calcium utilization rather than deficiency is more of the problem. 2 teaspoons daily of apple cider vinegar may help maintain the proper pH to help calcium work properly. Substances that can deplete calcium include: excess carbohydrates, caffeine, and phosphorous, which are in most soft drinks in large amounts. Calcium must be balanced with magnesium. Too much calcium can cause magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is necessary for most enzymes to work, including the ones important for metabolism. The recommended amount of daily calcium is 1000-1200mg/day and can be found in food sources such as yogurt, Chinese cabbage, and white beans. The body can only absorb 300mg maximum at a time, so if you don’t eat 3 servings of dairy a day, take your calcium supplements at 2-4 different times during the day, depending on the amount in your pill. Calcium carbonate is absorbed best with food, calcium citrate without. The recommended daily amount of Magnesium for women is 320mg and 420mg for men. Magnesium food sources are found in almonds, Swiss chard, lima beans. The recommended amount for women is 320mg/daily and 420mg/daily for men.
Any amount of stress can diminish the small intestines ability to absorb nutrients. Stress can also come from the use of antibiotics, even from months or years ago, since these drugs destroy natural bacteria in the large intestine potentially changing the function of the entire intestinal tract. A good remedy for this is L-Glutamine Plus, since it has 4 types of acidophilus cultures (probiotics, or “good bacteria” like the ones found in yogurt). The amino acid in this supplement is the energy source for the villi in the intestinal tract thus rebuilding it.
Your quality whole food multivitamin should supply you with most of the daily recommendations of each vitamin and mineral that you need. However, it still is hard to fit EVERYTHING into those pills, so make sure to eat a well balanced diet and use your multivitamin to SUPPLEMENT that. In addition to your multivitamin you should consider a calcium supplement and fish oil capsules which supply EPA and DHA Omega 3-fatty acids (1g/daily). Your body cannot make these fats, but you need them to survive. Food sources include: wild caught salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, but Fish oil capsules allow you to get all the disease fighting health benefits without the heavy metal toxicity and pesticide build-up in fish and should be considered.
One last thing I want to mention is the supplementation of protein. Please find a powdered protein that you can tolerate. I like Whey Protein by Biochem or Jarrow Formulas, but there are many others. Find one without artificial ingredients, colors, flavors etc. Some clients I have had say they like the Publix Greenwise powder. Most people are not getting enough protein even when they believe that all there eating and getting all of their vitamin supplementation as recommended. You would need to eat it at every meal plus supplement, to hit this one on the nose. I learned this by using www.myfitnesspal.com, which I have mentioned in the past. It is a great guide for figuring out how to balance your diet. If you have fitness and health goals you are trying to reach, and are finding that there is still something missing, this may be it. Take a little time for yourself and find out about YOU and where you are lacking where your health is concerned, check it out!
Your assignment for this month is to find a good multivitamin (recommendations in last week’s blog), and the supplements to compliment it, including. I know most of you have had New Year’s Resolutions for getting healthy and fit, so please, if you don’t have time to do a bunch of research, or if you think your fitness memberships might only motivate you for about 2 months :-), then let this be the minimum thing you do for yourself and family. You have to take care of your insides, and then your outside will come along with even less effort.
30% Exercise 70% Nutrition.
Resources: In Fitness and In Health (Dr. Philip Maffetone), Master Your Metabolism (Jillian Michaels), Daily nutrient intakes recommended by The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.