Nutrition and Dietary Supplements – Part One

Nutrition and Dietary Supplements – Part One

This blog is about a simple and inexpensive start to a nutrition supplement program. As a registered dietitian/nutritionist, I get a lot of questions from clients about what nutrition supplements they should be taking. That’s a difficult question, because a nutrition supplement program is so individualized based on each person’s own needs. However, there are some basic recommendations that I have included below, followed by more explanation. Please always check with your physician before starting new supplements.

  1. Multivitamin/Multimineral general supplement. A single tablet can only contain those supplements needed in relatively small quantities.
  2. Vitamin C, 500 mg at least twice daily, more if needed or recommended by your doctor.
  3. Calcium 500 mg maximum/Magnesium 250 mg, before bed.
  4. Fish oil capsules, EPA/DHA, 300–600 mg taken with food in the middle of two different meals.

Vitamins are complex molecules, which act as catalysts in the body to help reactions and processes occur. They are present in various foods and may be stored in fat or in the body fluids. Fat soluble vitamins tend to stay in the body longer and can be toxic if taken in excess. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. All other vitamins are water-soluble vitamins and are excreted more rapidly, and thus, need to be replenished more frequently.

Minerals are important for electrical conduction or body structures, like the bones. Some minerals are used in large quantities. Others are only needed in tiny amounts, but they are still vital for certain enzymes to work properly.

A good, basic vitamin/mineral supplement usually supplies those vitamins and minerals that are needed in only small quantities, but some other supplements are required in amounts that are too large to fit into just one tablet.

B vitamins – a multivitamin will cover the minimal needed supplementation, but for anemia, elevated Homocysteine levels (a risk for heart disease), or other medical conditions, extra may be needed.

Vitamin C – the body needs lots of vitamin C every day. It is highly concentrated in the adrenal glands and used in large quantities if one is under stress. A 500mg tablet twice daily is what I recommend for most people. Usually, you can take a 500 mg tablet up to six times daily if you are experiencing a lot of stress, have a cold or virus. Check with your doctor on this.

Please see part two of this blog for more explanation on Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Fish Oils, Omega 3 fatty acids and flax seed.

Stacey Wald, LAPC, RD

Photo Credit: Public Domain

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