Vitamins & Minerals

Do you ever wonder what the best supplement is for you? The choices are overwhelming. There are so many claims and counter claims. Even when a supplement sounds good, how can you tell the quality of the manufacturer?

For 2010, I am offering quarterly lectures on vitamin and supplements. For one hour you can hear a summary of key nutrients and get your questions answered. The schedule is posted just to the right.

In the first lecture, we discussed the vitamins that make up the basic multivitamin pill. Vitamins are small molecules that are necessary to make your metabolism go. You can live without them, but are at risk of developing debilitating vitamin deficiency diseases. We do not see these in the developed world, but they are making a comeback. This is due to the impoverished food supply, and that will be addressed in another lecture.

The fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin E. These vitamins are classed together because they are toxic in high doses. Vitamin A is necessary for vision and you need only a small amount. You can easily make Vitamin A from its precursor, carotene, and you will often find them mixed together in supplements. Vitamin D has much been in the news. It was only recently appreciated that adults need more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Most experts now recommend 2,000 IU per day and not the old 400 IU you may recall from your last review of the multivitamin label. Vitamin E is best taken as “natural” Vitamin E or mixed tocopherols. The B Vitamin family and Vitamin C are water soluble. The B vitamins work a a family and you need a minimum of each one for best effect. Vitamin C is relatively easy to obtain from citrus and as a supplement.

There are other nutrients that should also be part of your daily supplement. These are the essential fatty acids and minerals. If you have two servings of a high fat fish weekly you have the fatty acids covered. Otherwise, you should take a supplement. Here, it is important to choose a quality supplement. The high fat fishes, because, they are top predators, are at greatest risk of containing environmental contaminants, such as PCBs.

Finally, you probably need more calcium than you get in your daily diet. Calcium supplements are bulky and usually are not a part of your multivitamin. You can decide how much calcium you are getting in your average daily diet and add a supplement up to 1,200-1,500 mg total daily intake.

The basic daily essential is a multivitamin, adequate Vitamin D/calcium and essential fatty acids/Omega 3s. The is the base upon which you will build additional nutrients to meet your special needs.

These lectures will be offered quarterly. To find out the next lecture offering call 831-622-1994 to hear a recorded message. There is no charge for these lectures, but do bring your questions!