Which Supplements Do I Need?
People are coming to realize they can’t get everything their body needs from food alone. In our world today it is just too much work to grow and raise everything yourself. Even then you can’t insure the soils you use have everything needed to feed the plants that feed you or your animals that in turn feed you. So beyond the basics what is a person to do?
The most scientific thing you can do is to be tested. What you are looking for is a micronutrient test. These can be ordered online without a prescription. Some of the mall ‘test anything’ stores may also carry them. These tests look at your blood and determine your levels of known nutrients. It doesn’t look for all the tiny micronutrients that science is not aware of, but nobody can do much with that yet. Based on the results you would either change your diet or supplement to bring up the levels of those nutrients that are measuring low.
The other way to go about is a sort of trial and error. Based on how you are feeling, or your ‘symptoms’ if you will, you can look for those nutrients that have been shown by others to improve those ‘symptoms’. If you do this you will want to continue until you see improvement, or ninety days, whichever is first. Of course if you have an adverse reaction you would quit immediately. Ninety days is a key because of the typical ‘cell turnover rate’ of the human body. At that point all the cells in the body have been exposed to the supplement, so you can see if there are any real changes. A lot of times the change is so slow and subtle that we don’t notice it until we suddenly stop a supplement.
Here are some common vitamins and the conditions or symptoms that they are traditionally linked to. This is not saying this WILL help you, that would be diagnosing and prescribing and none of us want to do this. These are simply based on history, nothing more.
This is one vitamin that your doctor can actually check the levels of. The problem is the definitions of how much is enough and how much is too much. The test is called a 25(OH)D. Everyone agrees that levels below 50 ng/ml is too low. This level has been linked with immune system disorders, cancer and depression. Above this is where the controversy lies. Some say optimal is between 50 and 75 are optimal. Others bring that up to 80. The real discrepancies are the ‘toxicity’ levels. Some people say 100, others bring the optimal level up to 125 and the toxicity levels don’t start until 200. What is interesting is that there are numerous listing of what too little Vitamin D can cause, but not much available on symptoms of too much Vitamin D. If you can’t get enough from sunshine look for a D3 product, not a D2 since the threes are more absorbable to the body.
If you have IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome there are studies that indicate that increasing your B6 intake may be helpful. It has also been shown to be helpful with such issues as carpal tunnel syndrome, menstrual and premenstrual problems, depression, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, kidney stones, endometriosis, and morning sickness. In combination with vitamin B12 and folic acid, vitamin B6 may also help protect against Alzheimer's disease.
Most people are afraid of getting too much of a fat soluble vitamin. With Vitamin A this is a real concern. Vitamin E does not act the same way. The body will get rid of any excess Vitamin E that you take in. Vitamin E is used for the proper functioning of many organs, nerves and muscles. It is considered an anticoagulant, or blood thinner. The biggest concern is the quality. Because it is oil if it is handled improperly it can go rancid. Heat and light turns almost all oils rancid. Rancid oil is toxic to the body, no matter how good it was for you before it became rancid. Choose your brand of Vitamin E very carefully.
This is one most of us have heard about and even taken since we were kids. We can get great big bottles of it really cheap at any grocery store. It is used for colds and flu because of its great antibacterial properties. The problem is that the majority of vitamin C on the market is not natural. It is a chemical called ascorbic acid that mimics the effects of vitamin c, but it does it indiscriminately. Because it is not natural the body doesn’t handle it well. So what is the answer? Get your C from foods, but make sure they are real foods. Most people think orange juice, but what we get in the store is not the liquid that comes straight from an orange. It may have been at one time, but there are not guarantees. The oranges may have been picked green. The juice is almost always pasteurized, which kills the vitamin C. In addition chemical flavors are added, so that it always tastes the same. Instead of buying any bottled product claiming to contain vitamin c reach for the whole foods instead. Vitamin C can be found in: Strawberries, Citrus fruits, Acerola Cherry, Black Currant, Papaya, Kiwi fruit, Bell Pepper, Guava, Melons, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, chard, and spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and tomatoes.
These are just a few of the better known vitamins. You can see that the subject of supplements, with their myriads of variations can be extremely daunting. Someone should write a book, but they would need to update it at least yearly because of the wonderful information that is coming to light each and every day.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author(s). Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the authors. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.