by Dr. Danielle Fink
During the warm summer months many people think about their health and wellness. It would be ideal to get all the nutrients our bodies need to maintain us through the food we eat. But most of us don’t eat enough of the “good stuff” to obtain the proper amounts of the vitamins and minerals that medical evidence suggests aid in the prevention of disease. The solution to this problem is to supplement our diets with condensed or concentrated forms of these vitamins and minerals. The most efficient way to do this is by taking a multivitamin.
When choosing a multivitamin or a vitamin regimen it is best to know that not all vitamins and supplements are created equal. It is important to recognize that not all vitamins are manufactured the same way. Many vitamins that you can purchase over the counter are manufactured using chemical processes to create synthetic forms of vitamins and minerals, whereas those supplements that are sold by medical professionals, on the other hand, are derived from materials found in nature (from plants and/or animals). These vitamins don’t include added coloring, artificial sweeteners or preservatives often found in the synthetic vitamins. Vitamins manufactured this way are called “whole food” supplements, and are concentrated supplements created from natural raw ingredients.
Synthetic vitamins may be friendlier on the pocketbook. But, the consumer needs to be aware that the molecular structure that composes these vitamins can sometimes be slightly different than the structure found in nature. It is the slight differences in structure that allow the vitamin to be absorbed differently in the body, or completely unrecognized and eliminated as waste. To be certain that the chosen vitamin contains a digestible form of a particular nutrient, you need to read the label and know what to look for.
Research has shown that specific vitamins have a positive effect on the human immune system and protect people from common illness. Look for the following vitamins and their recommended daily intake amount in your multivitamin.
• Vitamin C – a widely known vitamin used to “boost” immune function. 500-1000 mg daily is the suggested intake because the body cannot store this vitamin.
• Vitamin A – (beta carotene)-aids in the reduction of infectious illnesses. Suggested daily intake: 10,000-25,000 International Units (IUs) daily. (Most multivitamins contain around 10,000 IUs)
• Vitamin E – look for d–alpha tocopherol the natural form of Vitamin E and avoid the synthetic form (dl-alpha tocopherol). Research has shown that those with low blood levels of vitamin E are more prone to infection than those with high levels of vitamin E. Suggested daily intake: 400-800 IUs per day.
• Zinc – among its many other uses has been shown to help prevent a weakened immune system. The suggested intake: 15mg daily.
• Magnesium – in its digestible form (Magnesium Citrate), has been found to be utilized in over 300 different processes in the human body.
• Calcium – look for the digestible forms: Calcium Citrate and Calcium Lactate, but avoid the difficult to digest form: Calcium Carbonate. Calcium has been found to aid in bone health, bone formation and bone strength.
In addition to a quality multivitamin, it is important to include the following in your daily supplement regimen:
Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) – 4,000-10,000 IUs daily. Vitamin D deficiency can be detected by a blood test called 25(OH) D and levels should be 50-80mg/mL all year round from a combination of diet, supplements and the sun. These levels of Vitamin D have been shown in multiple studies to aid in the prevention of cancer and heart disease and improve overall health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil in the following forms:
- EPA –this is very important for decreasing inflammation (the reason why this supplement has been found to help protect the heart).
- DHA – this is very important especially for nervous system development throughout life. Omega 3s have also been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and provide a protective factor against Alzheimer’s and dementia. The recommended daily dose for an adult is 1,000-3,000 mg (1-3 grams) daily.
- CoQ10 – Research suggests, that among other uses, CoQ10 produces energy that is used to repair and maintain immune system cells, it has been found to be a powerful antioxidant, and it is important in building strong heart muscle cells. The suggested intake: 100 mg or more daily.
Each of these vitamins has beneficial effects on the immune system and has also been shown to improve heart health.
Keep in mind that the overall health and disease prevention benefits received from vitamin supplementation are enhanced through healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.
Dr. Danielle Fink uses Symptom Survey Maestro to indicate stress on a particular system in the body (ie digestive system) at McMahon Chiropractic and Physical Therapy at (715) 834-4516.