Many experts suggest that supplements aren’t necessary when the diet is complete. Unfortunately in North America, the diet is pretty much never complete. Can you believe that 68% of the population is deficient in calcium, 90% in chromium, 75% in magnesium, 80% in vitamin B6, and 95% in omega-3 fats?
In fact, in a recent study, even athletes’ diets didn’t measure up. In this study, the diets of 70 athletes were analyzed for vitamin and mineral intake and not a single one met the recommended daily amount. All of them were deficient in between 3 and 15 nutrients.
Beyond this, other research has shown the following:
· Less than 3% of men and 5% of women get the minimum number of fruits and veggies per day (3-5 servings).
· On average, women get only 80 g of protein per day (when their needs are closer to 120-140 g) and men get only 120 g of protein per day (when their needs are closer to 170-190 g).
I’m definitely not one to promote unnecessary nutritional supplementation. However, with the deficiencies above, folks have to either improve their food intake tremendously or they have to start supplementing their diets with things like:
1. A good, broad spectrum multi-vitamin: I prefer Isotonic supplements due to their superior delivery and absorption. These supplements are drinkable, you absorb 95% of what you are taking, and it is absorbed within 5 minutes. (Compare this to the pill form supplements – absorption may take up to 4 hours and typically only absorb 15-30% of what you think you are getting!)
2. Fish oil supplements – Omega III especially: Helps maintain normal cholesterol levels, protects the heart and overall cardiovascular health, maintains healthy levels of C-reactive protein, promotes a healthy complexion, and enhances mood. 4-6 capsules a day is typical for my clients.
3. B - Complex: Deficiencies in Folic Acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 or biotin may result in feelings of fatigue. Adequate levels will decrease stress and improve mood, increase energy, promote cardiovascular health, promote normal cognitive performance, and much more! Again, Isotonic supplements are best.
4. Vitamin D: A deficiency in this supplement has been linked to various types of chronic diseases including: cancer, heart disease, depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many more. Living in the Northeast puts individuals at further risk of deficiency because sunlight, a major source of Vitamin D, is not produced in our bodies more than 6 months out of the year!
5. A sufficient antioxidant (such as OPC-3): Antioxidants play a role in scavenging free radical that are produced by normal daily activities and environmental factors – stress, air pollution, exercise, poor diet, lack of sleep, etc. They also demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, help maintain joint flexibility, improve asthma/allergy symptoms, improve complexion, and much more!
I also recommend the following:
4. Conjugated Linoleic Acid: This supplement helps to reduce overall body fat, assists in promoting lean muscle mass, targets stubborn belly fat, and promotes the utilization of body fat as fuel.
5. Calcium: Protecting bone mass is critical…especially for women. Adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life is important to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, support your cardiovascular health, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and maintains healthy immune functions and general wellbeing.
These are some of my top strategies for helping you to get into awesome shape. Trust me, these strategies work fantastically if they’re consistently applied.
For other ideas and suggestions visit: www.lifestylenutritionvt.com or feel free to contact me with any questions.
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD