Vitamins and Minerals
How to figure out for yourself what you should be taking.
I was writing an informational email just now and thought it turned out really good. So I decided to post it for you!
This is a topic that always seems to be a miscellaneous category, but I should cover it every so often.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes a controversial topic. Every so often you hear about a company that violated a labelling law, and that people weren’t actually taking what they thought they were taking.
The truth is there are many laws and “check and balance” systems that do protect us and keep this from happening. We hear about it because the system worked and caught something that went wrong.
It’s safe to say that when we buy a vitamin or mineral supplement, we are getting what’s on the label. The laws are harsh enough to make them be careful.
But the big question is, what should we really be taking to begin with?
So let me get this out of the way… I’m not a doctor or a registered dietician. I’m not legally allowed to answer this question.
But I am licensed and trained to steer you in the correct direction to help you answer this yourself.
I'm going to put the link in the comments from the USDA that is your starting point.
It is the recommended amount of every vitamin and mineral by age and gender. This is for your average normal and healthy person. If you have a certain condition that would make this amount different, then a doctor is the person to determine that for you.
And then they should be able to tell you exactly what from that table in the link needs to change. For example, if you have a deficiency or an absorption issue, you should be told how to “make up” for it. Don’t speculate or guess.
If you suspect or aren’t sure if you have something going on that would make your intake different from the amounts in the table, go get a blood panel done.
Then you can find out exactly your unique actions to take to be in the healthy ranges again! This is a good way to be proactive about your health.
Also, did you know that vitamin deficiencies are linked to certain cancers? Heck, I would much rather take my vitamins everyday, knowing I could be preventing cancer later in life! Taking vitamins are a chance I’m willing to take!
I wrote an article in the PAFE Blog a bit ago, about what I do about supplementation. My choices are not my recommendations for you. They are based on what doctors and nutritionists told me and recommended to me, based on blood panels I had taken.
The title is Part X of "So, What Does SHE Do?" Vitamins.
From there, I used the tables to figure out what kind of multivitamin to take, and how much.
See, I eat whole fruits and vegetables, and very healthy foods, so I know I get a lot of the nutrients I need. I used an app called Cronometer to figure out its impact on my needs. Then I chose a multivitamin and other supplements that can fill the gaps.
Fun fact: the recommended amount of my vitamin is 3 tablets, but I actually only need 2. My diet safely takes care of the rest.
Going through the numbers with the help of the above resources really empowers you to know what’s right for you in regards to supplementation.
So let’s review this in four steps:
Step 1: Get a current blood panel to check for deficiencies and get a doctor’s input for anything that could be problematic down the road.
Step 2: Log a few normal days worth of your diet into Cronometer to see what you tend to be low in.
Step 3: Compare your numbers with the tables on the USDA site. Cronometer helps with this too, since their numbers should be the same as the USDA’s or a similar organization’s numbers.
Step 4: Choose supplements that fill in the gaps. If some things are a little over, it’s okay. Your kidneys filter the excess out. Avoid being a few hundred percent over anything unless the doctor tells you differently. Sometimes people can develop toxicity to too much of anything.
Still need help? Let me know. My CNC certification legally permits me to make recommendations based on the table above. It does not permit me to decide if you need more or less of anything.
Example question: “I live in WNY where people tend to have low Vitamin D. How much should I be taking?”
My response is: “Start with making sure you are taking the recommended amount according to the table. If you suspect you might have a deficiency, go see a doctor and they’ll have you do a blood panel. If they determine a deficiency, they will prescribe the correct amount, based on your results, for a certain amount of time to correct that.”
Which they will do. I’ve been there. I would never trust myself to figure that out.
I do trust myself with taking actions to prevent a deficiency though.
Some vitamins for thought! I hope you found this helpful! Let me know if I can assist you more!