Part X of "So, What Does SHE Do?" Vitamins
A health coach's take on how to handle vitamins and minerals
So this is of course, a very personalized topic. Just because I'm remarking on what I'm doing for vitamin intake, doesn't mean you should do exactly the same thing. The rationale is more what you should be after.
First, YES- vitamins should be a consideration for most if not all people. Most people are low or even dificient in some area.
For example, some factors to consider are:
- People that live in the north usually don't get enough Vitamin D. Those that don't get outside often anywhere usually don't either.
- People that sweat often can have certain minerals and electrolytes drop even multiple times a day.
- Some people don't get enough iron and some people get too much depending on what they eat or other medical conditions.
- Many people don't get enough potassium. And thanks to the US having a law that states that no one supplement can contain any more than 2% of potassium, it's a tricky one. This is because certain health conditions, medications and foods can make potassium levels go too high, and it can cause problems, like a heart attack. People have also OD'ed on potassium. So it's basically up to the food we eat to manage our levels of intake.
- Deficiencies of certain vitamins can actually cause diseases and medical conditions, like anemia, osteoperosis, neurological issues, and a bunch of others. The only way to figure out if you are deficient is to have a doctor diagnose it after a blood test.
- The normal American diet includes a lot of foods that don't contain a ton of nutrients, unless they are fortified, like cereal. Take white bread, for example. It has next to nothing for vitamins and minerals.
- If you're losing weight, you aren't eating as much, therefore less nutrient intake. The %'s on the labels are based on a 2000-calorie diet.
So, where to start then? Here's some ideas.
1. Track your food for a normal day and see what you get enough of and what you don't.
2. Google the USDA's Recommended Dietary Allowances for your age and gender to see where you're supposed to be.
3. Get a blood panel done to see if there's an issue and see if your medical professional has any recommendations.
What if you just want to be proactive?
Multivitamins aren't a bad way to start. They should have a label on the back stating the percentage daily allowance. Remember that you don't need to get over 100% of everything because your food will account for some of it, especially if your diet contains a lot of whole foods.
So what do I do?
I take only two of the serving size of three multivitamins. I also take a magnesium/calcium/zinc/vitamin D supplement once a day. I also take 2 Omega 3/6/9 pills each day.
So why this particular cocktail?
1. I had 2 medical professionals tell me to take Omegas because in the past I had hypercholesterolemia and this would help me control the levels.
2. I had another doctor diagnose me with a Vitamin D deficiency and I had to go onto a prescribed high dose supplement for awhile. I don't want to get that way again because of the risk of diseases associated with low D levels.
3. I had another doctor recommend magnesium for sleep, cyclical hormone changes associated with the migraines I get and for general anxiety. Seriously the magnesium was a game-changer I think.
4. I did a micronutrient analysis and figured out exactly where I was low. I also found out that my multivitamin was making me get too much of certain things, so I LOWERED the dosage to make things closer. I get the correct amount of most nutrients now, according to what I eat, even WITH the calorie deficit to lose weight.
But see a trend with getting a doctor involved based on blood test results? The numbers are what you want.
So, it's a complicated subject that is EXTREMELY personalized and different by person.
But I'll tell you what, if just popping a few vitamins each day reduces the risk of serious diseases down the road, I'm all about it.