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MicroManagement - Pay Attention to Vitamins and Minerals

Author: Roon Frost
Source: Taste for Life, July 2005

An estimated 80 percent of American adults take nutritional supplements, primarily vitamins and minerals, or micronutrients. The main reason? We need to compensate for nutritional inadequacies in the modern American diet, cited since the 1960s as a contributing factor in a variety of diseases from atherosclerosis and diabetes to high blood pressure and stroke.

Diets high in processed (trans) fats, refined sugar, and caffeine increase the risk of health problems, as do escalating environmental pollution of the food supply and 24/7 lifestyles. No wonder the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that a major portion of our population ingests less than 70 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamins A, B complex, C and the essential minerals calcium, magnesium, and iron.

A Healthy Approach

People who use vitamin supplements tend to exhibit more positive behaviors in terms of health than others, finds a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Nurses' Health Study shows that long-term use of vitamin E and high intakes of vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) may protect vision. Taking folate and vitamin B12 appears to help slow cognitive decline among older people, as does taking antioxidant vitamins. Vitamin D helps reduce the risk of fracture in older persons. For a complete list of micronutrients and their benefits, see the pullout chart on the following pages.

For optimal "micro" management, take a balanced multivitamin-mineral formula, since micronutrients work together. For example, beta carotene plus vitamins C and E work with several minerals (copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc) to delay or prevent a number of degenerative diseases including certain types of cancer. B vitamins are best taken together because of their close metabolic interrelationship.

Who Needs A Multi?

While most individuals will benefit from micronutrient supplements, young children (please see "The Right Stuff for Kids" in our upcoming August issue) and women are particularly at risk for dietary deficits. Pregnancy and breastfeeding make enormous demands on a woman nutritionally. But so does athletic competition-and only 36 percent of female college athletes surveyed take a multi today, according to a recent assessment by Simmons College nutritionists.

Two-thirds of Americans are currently overweight, and reducing the amount of food in a weight-loss plan makes a multivitamin-mineral particularly useful. "Virtually everyone would be helped by a rational program of supplementation," says Annette Dickinson, PhD, former president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, "and it's never too late to begin."

"Dietary Supplements in Weight Reduction" by J.T. Dwyer et al., J Am Diet Assoc, 5/05
An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals by Jane Hidgon,PhD ($59, Thieme, 2003)
"Fracture Prevention with Vitamin D Supplementation: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials" by H.A. Bischoff-Ferrari et al., JAMA, 5/11/05
"A Life Cycle Micronutrient Perspective for Women's Health" by K.A. Bartley et al., Am J Clin Nutr, 5/05
"Long-Term Nutrition Intake and 5-Year Change in Nuclear Lens Opacities" by P.F.  Jacques et al., Arch Dphthalmol, 4/05
Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, and James F. Balch, MD ($23.95, Penquin Group/Avery, 2000)
The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book by Shari Lieberman, PhD, CNS, and Nancy Bruning ($15.95 Penquin Group/Avery, 2003)
"Traditiaonal and Nontraditional Supplement Use by Collegiate Female Varsity Athletes" by N.H. Herbold et al., Ins J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 10/04
"Vitamin or Supplement Use Among Adults...13 States,2001" by L.S. Balluz et al., Public Health rep. 3-4/05


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*Many of the statements on this web site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or other government, research or academic body; any that were are so marked. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diabetes or any disease. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. Not intended to diagnose or prescribe for medical or psychological conditions nor to claim to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure such conditions. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Any products advertised are from third parties. You should read carefully all product packaging. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program. Do not discontinue the use of prescription medication without the approval of your physician.

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