The sad state of nutrition today
Decades ago, when our soils were rich in nutrients and people grew and prepared the majority of their own food, it was relatively easy to get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals from the diet.
Fast forward to today, and things are quite different. In many regions, the earth is lacking the natural nutrients it once did, and millions of busy people rely on fast and processed foods to feed themselves and their families. As a result, most nutritionists and researchers agree that the majority of people in our country are deficient in many vitamins and minerals. This is why taking a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement is so important.
How much of each vitamin and mineral do I need?
Several decades ago, The National Academy of Sciences’ United States Food and Nutrition Board developed the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) to help determine how much of each nutrient the average person needs. The Food and Drug Administration approved the amounts and lists them on supplements as well as the Nutrition Facts panel you see on most foods and drinks. What most people don’t realize is that these RDAs are the absolute bare minimums needed to prevent most serious health conditions. In other words, the RDAs help prevent illness, but don’t encourage optimum wellness. This is why so many multivitamin formulas contain higher levels of many nutrients than the RDA amounts—the supplements are designed to enhance and improve overall health, not just barely maintain it. A high-quality multivitamin, with its higher doses of nutrients, should safely and effectively deliver optimum levels of nutrients to adults of all ages.
What should be in the multivitamin I choose? Is there anything that doesn’t belong?
Ideally, the multivitamin you choose should contain generous amounts of all of the major vitamins as well as most of minerals. In fact, “multivitamin” is sort of a misnomer—it should really be called a “multivitamin and mineral supplement.”
For example, your multivitamin should contain vitamin A, either by itself or in conjunction with beta carotene, all of the B vitamins (including B1, B3, B5, B6 and B12), vitamins C, D, and E. Key minerals to look for on the label include calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, selenium and copper. One mineral that should not be included is iron, as we now realize that adults do not need the iron supplementation that we did as children. Phosphorous, iodine, manganese and chromium are also all beneficial minerals and should be part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Other healthful nutrients may also be included in the formula. These may include bioflavonoids, silica, bromelain, DL-methionine, and chlorella. Any or all of these would be nice “bonus” nutrients in your multivitamin and mineral supplement.
While some formulas are a “once a day” tablet, others give you the option of how many capsules or tablets you may take. This way, you can spread your nutrient boosts throughout the day and tailor the amount that you take to your particular nutritional needs. Either way, taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good way to reach the levels of nutrients needed, not just for minimum health, but for optimum health.
Balch and Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Third Edition, 2000, pages 13-34
Various internet sources