People ask me about supplements all the time.
After 25 years of research and after using hundreds of various supplements I feel confident in sharing my views on the subject.
The search for the best supplements is daunting to say the least. And I hardly think there is many that fall into the category of “one size fits all.” There are millions of supplements available and every company tells us that they have the best.
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For a more extensive amount of information on supplements and a great deal of other healthful ideas — grab my book “Breaking Free From The Medical Matrix.” It might get you excited about your health.
While you may think that grabbing a brand name multi vitamin off the shelf in the store is all there is to it .. that could not be further from the truth. To be honest, there are quite a number of them that are truly not worth a dollar of your money.
If you don’t bother with reading ingredient labels and are satisfied that the TV told you that “name brand” is what you need then, this article may not be your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you want supplements that are going to give you the best for your money then read on.
Do we need supplements?
I believe so because the average person does not eat enough varied foods in a day to receive the proper amount of the vital minerals and vitamins we need to maintain our health. Yes, even if you eat super clean. And if you eat dirty your definitely in need of supplementation.
One area where both conventional and alternative professionals often agree is the need for vitamins and minerals.
What Do We Need?
Following is a guideline set by the Institute of Medicine for what they consider “upper tolerable limits.”
Boron: 20 mg./day
Calcium: 2,500 mg./day
Vitamin B Complex: 3,500 mg./day
Copper: 10,000 micrograms/day
Folic Acid (folate): 1,000 micrograms/day (from synthetic sources; there is no limit for natural food sources)
Iodine: 1,100 micrograms/day
Iron: 45 mg./day
Magnesium: 350 mg./day
Manganese: 11 mg./day
Phosphorus: 4,000 mg./day (up to age 70); 3,000 mg./day (over age 70)
Selenium: 400 micrograms/day
Sodium: 2,300 mg./day
Vitamin A: 10,000 IU (international units)/day
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 35 mg./day
Vitamin B6: 100 mg./day
Vitamin C: 2,000 mg./day
Vitamin D: 2,000 IU/day
Vitamin E1: 500 IU/day
Zinc: 40 mg./day
Some of those measurements are very low, in my opinion. However it’s a basic place to start.
Consider (as an example) the upper tolerable limit for vitamin C; 2000 mg. per day. I doubt that would even keep a cold at bay and I, personally, would not think of dropping my intake of daily Vitamin C that low.
Anyone with a heart condition of any kind may find the suggested daily intake of magnesium to be far too low. How much magnesium you need in a day would depend on which form you’re taking because they do not all act the same in the body.
There are also two other factors that one should consider when looking at these recommendations: the absorption rate of these supplements and the body’s ability to absorb various supplements. While the recommendation suggests 350 mg. of magnesium a day, it does not mean your body will absorb 350 mg.
Basically, figuring out the right amount of supplementation of any given vitamin, mineral, or herb is a trial-and-error run. I highly suggest seeking professional help from a Naturopathic Doctor or a certified Nutritional Counselor to get started on the right path.
Let’s Keep this Simple
My book goes into depth on this topic if you want to learn more. But, For now let’s talk about finding a few basic supplements that are of a quality to be helpful to us.
All the years in practice and the many client assessments I have done has given me a good amount of insight on the supplemental needs of a variety of people. It varies from person to person as far as how much of what they need. It also varies greatly when it comes to additional supplementation for various health issues. What doesn’t vary to much is the basics that nearly everyone should consider in their daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
Where to Start
The Multi Vitamin: I encourage it. However — and — unfortunately, I have not found any multi to have enough of some of the vitamins and minerals we need. They may have enough of some of the less common minerals and vitamins – at the same time – they rarely have enough of the more common ones we need.
You could certainly take several capsules a day to try to get enough (example) Vitamin C, D or Magnesium. However, at the same time you may end up getting to much of something else such as iron, zinc or copper.
It is rare for me to suggest taking the RDA (recommended daily allowance) on most supplements, but, in the case of the multi vitamin/mineral, I do suggest it — for the reasons stated.
Besides the Multi
My next suggestion is to add Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, CoQ10, and Omega 3. And Men… listen up… You, especially need magnesium.
These suggested extras are mostly due to the fact that you will “generally” not get enough of any of them from most Multi’s and they are very important to our overall health.
I Can’t Tell You How Much
I cannot tell you how much of any of those supplement to take a day. Mostly because everyone is different and while one person may be deficient in a vitamin and/or mineral, the next person may be deficient in a different vitamin and/or mineral. Without doing a complete nutritional assessment there would be no way for me to know. I can only share what I do.
I use a quality whole food supplement over synthetic supplements any time I can. With synthetic supplements I read the ingredients label and look for the least amount of extra “junk” as possible.
Vitamin C, D and Magnesium are at the top of my list and I rarely forget those 3.
Vitamin C: I use 1000mg capsules of Vitamin C and take a minimum of 3 a day (that’s 3000mg.) If I have a twinge of a possible bug coming on I will double or even triple that dose. If I am going to attend a function around lots of people I will do 5000 to 7000mg the day before, day of and day after. Same goes if I am under extra stress for any reason. There have been times I have taken upwards of 10,000mg a day.
Your probably thinking I am running to the bathroom quite often, taking those doses of Vitamin C. But I am not. Because… if your body needs it you will not run to the bathroom. That is actually the gauge for how much C I need. To bowel tolerance. And, its the gauge that many use.
There are “whole food” vitamin C’s out there. The problem I have with them is that they cannot cram enough of it into their tablet or capsule to be worthwhile. You have to take so many pills to try to get what’s needed. The issue then, becomes the expense. And while it’s a factor that whole food vitamins absorb better with less waste and are utilized better by the body, than synthetics … it’s still the expense and the thought of taking so many capsules on top of what I already take.
Vitamin B Complex: Thankfully there are “whole food” Vitamin B Complex supplements and as I said, I prefer them over synthetic any chance I get. The RDA on “whole food” vitamin B Complex is usually in the ball park unless your under a lot of stress. A good B complex is great for stress.
Vitamin D: I personally prefer the liquid drops because I can add them to my water and forget about it. Plus, you do not have a variety of added “junk” that you might get in the capsules. Very cost effective as well.
The suggested dose of Vitamin D varies. I have read 1000iu a day and also 2000iu a day. I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Why? Because Vitamin D is Fat soluble and is stored in the liver and the body’s fatty tissues when you get more than you need. Your body stores it and uses it as needed over a period of time.
Because of the way the body handles D you can take a smaller dosage daily. (Example: the RDA). Or, you can take more, less often. I generally take 5 or 6 drops about every 4 or 5 days. (Drops being about 2000iu each.) If your more comfortable with the RDA on a daily basis then that works just fine.
The best way to get our D is from the sun – of course. This is not always possible. Those of us who live in the north are deprived of bright, direct sunlight most of the winter and that makes it even more important to supplement. People who work indoors all day long are also, generally, deprived of enough D.
Magnesium: Magnesium citrate is the most common form used. But is it the best for everyone? Some other popular forms of magnesium are taurate, malate and glycinate.
It’s important to note that magnesium along with many other minerals have a fairly poor absorption rate. There are many factors that can disturb the absorption of magnesium and other minerals, such as individual digestive issues; medications such as diuretics and antibiotics that disrupt the healthy functioning of the kidneys; aging; disease; stress; and illness. Under these circumstances, much of the magnesium is often excreted rather than absorbed when it passes through the kidneys. So, once again, one size does not fit all. The RDA can mean very little in many cases.
A person with a heart issue may require far more magnesium than the next person and alternatives to the standard magnesium citrate can be a wise choice.
I have AFib (Arterial Fibrillation). I take a combo of taurate, malate and glycinate. Thankfully it comes as a combination in capsule form and it has never sent me scurrying off to the bathroom. Sadly, few Doctors seem to be aware of the positive impact of these various “other” forms of magnesium. I know, I have educated a few.
Vitamin B12, CoQ10, and Omega 3 go on the list of my staple supplements and most likely — should be on your list as well.
If we are taking a good B Complex why do we need the extra B12? Without writing a book I will just say — because there is not enough of it in the complex. There just isn’t.
The Magnificent Seven
A Multi,Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, CoQ10, and Omega 3. Those are what I call the Magnificent Seven because your immune system will thank you.
My book contains an in depth look at this subject with a lot of discussion on the functions of various vitamins and minerals, more on why we need them and how they help us. That’s only a small portion of the book. There is much more. FIND IT ON AMAZON
Linda Carlson – Certified Nutrition & Wellness Counselor (retired) with 25+ years background.
Disclaimer This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide or replace medical advice. Neither Linda Carlson nor OnlyToday website takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information within this article. Always seek your Doctor’s advice, even if they don’t know a thing about the topic