Do You Only Need a Multi?
Recently a guest on The Today Show commented that you should not take any supplements except for a multi-vitamin. I strongly disagree!
Every single biochemical process in our body requires a vitamin or mineral to go from “point A” to “point B”. If you do not have those vitamins and minerals in your body, those biochemical processes just will not work properly. So if you are missing any of those nutrients your biochemistry goes from “point A” to “point X” instead.
The amount of each nutrient in many multi’s is based on the RDA. The RDA was established to recommend an amount of each nutrient needed to prevent diseases such as Scurvy and Rickets. The RDA levels do not necessarily reflect good health.
Eat a Balanced Diet
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you eat a balanced diet, you don’t need to take supplements.” The problem here, I think, is that no one really knows what a balanced diet it and I doubt that anyone is actually eating one. Even the government changes it’s idea of a good diet every few years. We’ve gone from the “Four Basic Food Groups” to “The Food Pyramid” and now we have “The Food Plate”.
I suspect that nutritional deficiencies are the real basis of aging. Our bodies are incredible at compensating for all the bad things we do to it. When we don’t eat right or exercise, or when we smoke or drink to excess, we don’t get the right nutrients or we use them up faster. Our body compensates as long as it can. Eventually though, it can compensate no longer and we age and die. We simply cannot function well without the right amount of nutrients.
Each of us is biochemically different. The amount of Vitamin C you need may be very different from the amount of Vitamin C that your friend needs. A multi-vitamin provides a limited amount of each nutrient but does take these biochemical differences into consideration.
The Importance of Magnesium
I love magnesium! It is my favorite mineral. Magnesium is needed in over 350 biochemical processes. Obviously if you are low in magnesium, your biochemical processes will not be working as they should. Magnesium is thought to be low in approximately 80% of the population. This is because we don’t eat the foods containing it and we do eat foods like cow’s milk products that can block the use of magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency is difficult to measure. A blood test doesn’t give you an accurate answer. Magnesium is found intercellularly, so a deficiency won’t show up in the serum.
In my practice, I have used injectable magnesium to treat depression, anxiety, migraines, asthma, high blood pressure, reflux, menstrual cramps, constipation, insomnia and muscle aches, pains and spasms. It helps focus and concentration and calms but energizes. Many multi-vitamins do not have enough magnesium to have a positive effect.
What Do We Need?
So do we need a multi-vitamin? Yes, I think a multi is a good idea to be sure to get at least the RDA of many nutrients. But we also need additional vitamins, minerals and other nutrients like essential fatty acids. I do a test with my patients, that evaluates these many nutritional levels and to determine which supplements my patients need to take. Generally, I recommend a multi that contains no more than 500mg of Calcium because of the associated increased risk for heart attacks and I usually recommend additional Magnesium, Vitamin C, EPA/DHA, CoQ10, Vitamin E and Evening Primrose. I then add whichever nutrient is low from the testing.
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