Your diet alone won’t do it

Published 8:44 pm Friday, November 20, 2009

When I do nutritional consultations, one question usually comes up: Can I get adequate vitamins and minerals from the food I eat.

The answer is, absolutely not. Not without over eating.

In fact, in 2002, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association published an article by two Harvard researchers. After studying 30 years of English language articles about the relationship between vitamins and chronic disease, they recommend that all adults take one multivitamin daily.

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The researchers stated that a large portion of the general population has less than optimal intakes of vitamins and minerals, putting them at increased risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.

Before we explore the function of certain nutrients and the amounts necessary for optimum health, lets talk about what exactly vitamins and minerals are, and why they are so important.

A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism.

A mineral is a solid, inorganic substance that has a specific characteristic chemical composition.

Why are vitamins and minerals so important? This is the way I explain it to my clients. Lets say that you are a car. A sports car. A Ferrari. Youve got a great engine, great sound system, chrome wheels, navigation system, but you dont have spark plugs. You cant really use any of it.

In other words vitamins and minerals are the catalyst, or the match to the gasoline if you will, that allows chemical reactions to take place in the body.

Here is a list of nutrients, what they are needed for and the allowances I recommend for adults.

* Vitamin A (needed for healthy cardiovascular system, eyes, skin, and a strong immune system). Recommended daily allowance: 5000 IU.

* Vitamin B1 (needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates, and hormonal production). Recommended daily allowance: 50-100 mg.

* Vitamin B2 (needed for energy, proper vision, healthy immune and nervous system). Recommended daily allowance: 50-100 mg.

* Vitamin B3 (needed to metabolize fats, to help prevent several cancers). Recommended daily allowance: 50-100 mg.

* Vitamin B6 (needed for healthy cardiovascular and nervous systems, and help with menstrual problems). Recommended daily allowance:&bsp; 50-100 mg.

* Folic acid (needed for healthy blood vessels, immune system, and nervous system. Also, to help prevent birth defects). Recommended&bsp; daily allowance: 400-800 mcg. &bsp;

We will continue this list in the next column. If you want to get started with your supplement program, there is one multivitamin I recommend and one I do not.

Surprisingly, while it is very popular, one of my least favorite vitamin/mineral supplements is Centrum. I dont like the allowances, and the pills are hard and dont dissolve easily. The best one Ive&bsp; seen is from a company called Solaray, and its name is Provide.

In my next column Ill also tell you how to take and how not to take your supplements.

David Crocker of Landrum has served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., strength coach, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, and Converse college equestrian team. He taught four semesters at USC-Union. David is also a regular guest of the Pam Stone Show.~ Diet & Exercise written by David Crocker