i have been saying for weeks (months?) that i would write a post about the supplements that i use.
well, that time is finally here and i realized that i’ve got a lot to say on the topic, so i am going to make this into a little series: supplements 101!
today, i’ll start with the basic supplement that i believe everyone should be taking: a multi-vitamin.
there are 3 main reasons you should be taking a multi-vitamin:
1. most americans are deficient in at least one nutrient. common ones are vitamin d, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, and even more as you get older. even if you have a great diet, there are likely gaps in your nutrient intake, especially of trace nutrients.
“but i eat a really good diet with lots of fruits & veggies – i believe i get all the nutrition i need to meet the r.d.a.’s from food.”
2. maybe you shouldn’t just be trying to meet the r.d.a. (recommended dietary allowance). r.d.a.’s are set at levels to prevent deficiency diseases (like rickets or scurvy) in the overall population, not to achieve optimal health in each individual. levels necessary for optimal health are unknown and differ for everyone, but they are almost definitely greater than the r.d.a. levels.
further, even the definition of r.d.a. admits that the actual amount of a nutrient needed varies from person to person (source).
you can take in more than the r.d.a. of many nutrients and be totally safe. *i’m not advocating for overdosing on your supplements, though! most supplements have a set “upper limit” that is known to be unsafe to exceed, so do your research and never take more than the upper limit!
3. finally, even if you eat a great diet, the nutrient density of fruits and vegetables has decreased significantly over the past 50 years due to soil nutrient depletion. fruits and vegetables today have lower levels of vitamins and minerals than they did 50 years ago (source). in a culture where we’re consuming fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than we did in the past, it is certain that our nutrient intake is also decreasing.
for more information on multivitamins, check out the nih fact sheet. it gives a lot more information than i covered here!
and for those of you concerned about the safety of taking supplements: supplements are generally considered safe. however, it is very important to keep a couple things in mind.
- supplements will not take the place of a good diet. think of them as something additional you do to full the gaps in your healthy diet.
- always discuss your supplement use with your doctor.
- don’t overdose on your supplements! do your research and find out what the upper limit is for your nutrient of interest. if you take your supplements as directed on the label, you should not overdose.
- when it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for. please choose a good-quality brand from a health-foods store or other specialty store. those options that are 2 for $6 at target/walgreens/etc.,while tempting and budget-friendly, are likely not manufactured well, absorbed well, or providing any health benefits.
and finally, a fun disclaimer:
all information presented here is what i have learned in my own research. i am not a licensed health professional and this information is not meant to take the place of medical advice. always speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
next up in the series: antioxidants, omega-3’s, probiotics, and finally – what i take!
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do you take a multivitamin?
clearly, i do!Pin It