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The Thing About Supplements Is That One Size Does Not Fit All

It should also be pointed out that taking vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements will not make up for an unhealthy, unbalanced diet.

05/07/2017 03:58 SAST | Updated 05/07/2017 06:47 SAST
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There was a time when healthy food was expensive and nutritious diets were difficult to maintain. People, therefore, had to take supplements. Specific vitamins and minerals were suggested by doctors in order to avoid diseases. Strange as it may sound to some people, these days, healthy food is plentiful for those who can afford it and, inexpensive common foods are fortified with vitamins.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are rare, and vitamin toxicities have become a concern. It should be noted however that millions of people around the world are starving and therefore malnutrition is rampant. Authorities have now set safe upper limits on the intake for certain vitamins and minerals.

A good question that has been put forward is: Are vitamins dangerous? The answer is just as challenging. Vitamins and minerals are natural, but they are not always safe in unnatural doses from synthetic forms. The goal is to have vitamin levels in the healthy zone. Just like food, water, oxygen, sunshine, too much or too little has adverse effects.

In the hospital setting, minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphate, chloride, magnesium are measured to determine safe levels. This pattern repeats itself many places in life. It appears that this pattern applies to vitamins as well.

Most medical doctors use vitamins to restore and prevent deficiencies. Scientific research support reasons or purpose for prescribing and recommending pills, and therefore only people who need vitamins benefit from them. People who do not need vitamins do not benefit them.

Some people who may need vitamins include the following: people who have a disease of their intestines, (celiac, gastric bypass, crones, and ulcerative colitis) vegans, people with impoverished diets from third world countries, or who live in institutions; people over 50 years old; people who are pregnant and nursing.

Taking vitamins should be very individualised, as with most medical treatments, there is no one size fits all approach.

The following groups may also benefit from vitamins: chronic alcohol drinkers, people who are on chronic medications that cause vitamin deficiencies, smokers, marathon runners and those who exercise excessively.

Taking vitamins should be very individualised, as with most medical treatments, there is no one size fits all approach. It should be based on the person's blood work, various diagnostic tests, existing medical conditions, and lifestyle. This is explained by the concept of bio-individuality, which means every individual is unique with individualised nutritional needs and personal differences in body chemistry which influence health and the foods needed.

Below is a list of some of the most common essential nutrients that have upper limits that should be adhered to. It should be noted that these vitamins and minerals can be dangerous.


Nutrient

Max dose for adults

Effects of very high doses

Important facts

Vitamin A

3,000 µg/d

Abnormalities in utero, liver toxicity

Important in eye health, and skin conditions.

Vitamin D

4,000 IU/d

(the max daily allowance for those older than 71 yrs old is 800 IU/d)

Hypercalcemia, which can lead to decreased renal function and hypercalciuria, kidney failure, cardiovascular system failure, and calcification of soft tissues.

Normalizing this deficiency will extend life, increase energy levels, reduce the occurrence of infection & will improve any disease state. However, monitoring blood levels is key.

Vitamin E

1,000 mg/d

Bleeding

It's best when used topically for great skin.

Vitamin B3

35 mg/d

a headache, blood pressure, and gastrointestinal distress

Maintains a healthy cardiovascular system

Vitamin B6

100 mg/d

Muscle numbness, confusion.

Maintains healthy blood vessels, supports brain function, helps treat anaemia.

Folate

1,000 µg/d

Masks neurological complication in people with vitamin B12 deficiency. Applies to synthetic forms

Support a healthy pregnancy, supports heart health, protects cognitive function.

Vitamin C

2,000 mg/d

GI disturbances, kidney stones, excess iron absorption.

One of the vitamins depleted in stress, dehydration, famine, exposure to toxins

It should also be pointed out that taking vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements will not make up for an unhealthy, unbalanced diet lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables. Supplements are best viewed as insurance against gaps in the diet and against increasing toxic pressures from the environment.