Vitamins & Mineral Supplements

By none on September 30, 2008

Almost half of adult Americans regularly take vitamin and mineral supplements. Although we should derive most of our vitamins and minerals from food, a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement provides added assurance the body is receiving much-needed nutrients.

Today food is grown in soil that is largely depleted of nutrients due to harvesting crops, irrigation and erosion. Consequently, food is not as nutrient dense as it once was. Years ago, a few servings of vegetables and fruit were all that was needed daily. Nowadays, to make up for the deficiencies in our food supply, it is necessary to eat five to ten servings of vegetables each day. Many people – including some health professionals – believe the American diet provides all nutrients the body needs to function optimally. If that were true, many of today’s diseases would not be as prevalent as they are. For example, to ingest the recommended 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium daily, you would need to drink about 4 glasses of milk, eat 8 cups of cottage cheese, or 10 cups of cooked spinach!

A daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is highly recommended for pregnant women and the elderly. Remember that supplements are in addition to a healthy diet, not a substitute for one. (For information on purchasing vitamins and supplements, Click Here.)

Some of the more common recommended daily vitamins are:

Multi-vitamins: A multi-vitamin formula combines the major and most important vitamins and minerals, usually in one capsule or tablet. Every brand offers a different dosage of each nutrient, so read labels carefully before purchasing. Multi-vitamins are also available for ‘special needs’. For example, there are formulas specifically designed for men and for women, pregnancy, athletes, and seniors.

B complex: Often called a “stress formula,” the B vitamins support functions of the nervous system (brain and spinal cord). They are helpful for mood enhancement, memory, movement, and sleep. The B vitamin family includes folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, B12 and others.

ACES: An antioxidant formula containing vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral selenium. This formula is sometimes used for allergies and to boost the immune system.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Vitamin C is the world’s most well known vitamin. Its benefits range from collagen formation (anti-aging) to preventing colds. Look for vitamin C with bioflavonoid (the way it’s found in nature).

Multi-mineral formula: Multi-mineral preparations are available in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. Most formulas contain the most important minerals – calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, and manganese. Trace mineral formulas (containing boron, selenium, molybdenum, and many others) are available as well.

Calcium/Magnesium: Two important and often deficient nutrients in the American diet are calcium and magnesium. They usually appear together in supplement form. The most common preparation is a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. Look for brands that include Vitamin D in the ingredients as well, as it has been known to increase the absorption of the calcium/magnesium.

Herbal formulas: Use of medicinal plants in the treatment and prevention of disease was practiced before the arrival of modern medicine, and is once again being embraced today. Various herbs that are used medicinally include: black cohosh, saw palmetto, oil of oregano, tea tree oil, Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng and Siberian ginseng, Kava Kava, Ma Huang, and St. John ’s wort.

Herbal teas: A tisane, or herbal tea, is an infusion made by combining boiling water and a plant. The infusion of any plant other than the evergreen shrub (Camellia sinensis), or tea bush, is considered an herbal tea. Herbal teas can be made with fresh or dried leaves, roots, flowers, or seeds. Popular herbal teas include chamomile and peppermint.

There are also many other supplements available for therapeutic use. Some of them include:

  • colloidal silver
  • 5HTP
  • acidophilus
  • DHEA
  • chitosan
  • colostrum
  • glucosamine
  • glutamine
  • amino acids
  • MSM
  • SAM-e

By none| September 30, 2008
Categories:  Eat

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