Monday, August 29, 2011

Should I be taking a Supplement?

Essential to life, vitamins and minerals cannot be made by the body so we must get them from the foods we eat. However, a well-rounded, low-fat diet will provide the average adult with an adequate supply.

As a wellness coach, I’ve unfortunately come across too many Americans that are infatuated with supplementation. Mega dosing has become a common practice for athletes trying to improve their performances and for fad dieters hoping to compensate for inadequate nutrition.

It has been noted that, in a well-nourished adult, excessive supplementation is ineffective in actually improving athletic performance.

Excess amounts of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) may result in vitamin toxicity as they are stored in the body and not easily excreted. Most recently, vitamin B-12 has also been shown to cause toxicity in mega doses.

While most individuals do not need to supple¬ment their diets, women are an exception when it comes to iron and calcium. To counter the loss of bone density associated with osteoporosis, women are encouraged to meet the RDA of 1,000 mgs. However, recent research suggests that youths and pregnant, lactating and postmenopausal women need 1,500 milligrams a day.

Because many women reduce their consumption of dairy products to avoid fat, they unfortunately deny themselves the calcium their bodies need. In these cases, supplementation may be helpful.

Active women lose iron through sweating and the menstrual cycle, making them more susceptible to iron deficiency anemia which causes fatigue, irritability and high resting heart rates.

Experts agree that the best approach is to eat a healthy diet, and, if desired, take an inexpensive time-released multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that offers no more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowances.

If you're unsure of your nutrition needs, seek the advice of your doctor, registered dietitian or pharmacist.

As always – Live Your Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal

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