Do I Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?
To take vitamin and mineral supplements or not to take them- that is the question. I had always been under the impression that medical providers should recommend that people obtain their recommended micro-nutrients from foods that they eat. However, there is data showing that that may not be the best advice. In my ebook, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I discuss the supplements that I recommend for mid-life people on weight loss and health maintenance plans.
Recently, a group studied the vitamin and mineral intake of Americans and discovered that, in general, although only about 10% of Americans are showing outright deficiencies, some populations are at higher risks for deficiencies than others.
The most common nutritional deficiencies noted included vitamin D, dietary fiber, calcium and potassium. These were listed as public health concerns for the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in 2016.
Studies indicate, and common sense would agree, that when vitamin and supplement intake increases, the deficiencies and inadequacies decrease. There has been an insufficient study to show that supplements affect chronic disease outcomes, and some of the data is conflicting.
So…what are we to do? Are we to take supplements or not?
If you are a non-Hispanic black, or are over 60 years old then you have an increased risk for vitamin B6 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency can include: anemia, dermatitis, swollen tongue, depression, confusion and weakened immune system. Mild deficiencies can be asymptomatic.
If you are non-Hispanic black, Mexican-American then you are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
Deficiencies of vitamin D can lead to bone issues, muscle weakness and compromised immune function. I discuss this in detail in Sunlight and Fitness after 40
Few foods contain vitamin D; it is produced from sunlight, and darker skinned people and those who use sunscreen have reduced synthesis leading to deficiencies.
If you are female, non-Hispanic black or Mexican American then you are at risk for low iron.
Iron deficiency can lead to reduced physical capacity and progress to anemia (low blood counts if not managed). However taking additional iron without verifying that you are iron deficient can be harmful.
This study found that supplement users were actually the healthier people. The supplement users didn’t use them to compensate for bad diets. This group used them as a part of a healthy lifestyle that included moderate alcohol drinking, exercise, and nonsmoking.
So if you are reading this fitness blog, you are likely the ones who are taking the supplements to improve your already healthy lifestyle.
So What Vitamin and Mineral Supplements are Recommended?
This study found the following vitamins and minerals low in many American diets:
Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, Choline, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
What are the Doses Recommended?
Many ask me the recommended dosages for each supplement, and there is not one answer to that. The dosage depends on the product that you purchase. The amount of each vitamin and mineral provided by different products vary. This means that following the bottles recommended intake is the safest way to ensure that you are not under or over dosing yourself.
This chart helps identify foods with the needed vitamins and minerals, and in the last column are the recommended daily amounts. (I didn’t paste it in the blog because it’s pretty long- sorry for the extra click- but you won’t be sorry, it’s a great table).
Vitamin and Mineral Chart
If you are on a strict weight management program, it is very important to ensure that you maintain the micronutrient balance in your body to ensure that you feel the best that you can every day.
If you are thinking about taking the step to lose weight and gain health, or just want to find a fun activity, then buy my book, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. Buy Book Now.
Health Guide You Can Trust
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