Monday, January 9, 2012

Should You Take Supplements?


Often I am asked about supplements and their role in a healthy diet. My take is that while vitamins and minerals are essential to life, the human body cannot self sustain this requirement. Therefore, it is imperative that we eat a well-rounded, low fat diet in order to obtain an adequate variety and supply.

Unfortunately, Americans have become infatuated with supplementation. Mega-dosing has become a common practice for both athletes trying to improve their performances and the “average Jane or Joe” trying to compensate for inadequate nutrition.

Research indicates supplementation is ineffective in improving athletic performance in a well-nourished adult. That’s to say if you are eating well, taking additional doses of supplements won’t give you an edge.

In fact, excessive amounts of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) may prove toxic since they are stored in the body and not easily excreted. Even some water soluble supplements such as vitamin B-12 have been shown to cause toxicity in mega-doses.

While most individuals don’t “need” diet supplements, 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. Further research suggests that youths and pregnant, lactating and postmenopausal women need 1,500 mgs a day.

While some women reduce their consumption of dairy products to avoid fat, they also decrease their chances of getting the calcium they need by this omission. Iron Deficient Anemia is another concern for active women because they lose iron through sweat and the menstrual cycle.  In these cases, supplementation may be helpful.

Experts agree that eating a healthy diet is best. Combining this with an inexpensive once-a-day multiple vitamin & mineral supplement is more than adequate insurance for getting your recommended daily allowances.

However, if you're unsure of your nutritional needs, seek the advice of your doctor, registered dietitian or pharmacist.


And always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

 

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

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