Vitamins - Theyíre for Everyone
During the year 2000, two days research on the Web caused me to realize vitamins and minerals represent a story with many open questions our science and medical research falls well short of answering. Our culture has gotten as far as identifying approximate daily amounts recommended for five different groups of people: children, men, women, people over 50 (post menopausal women) and over approximately 70. Food is the best way to get them, but most of us need dietary supplements since our usual diets come up short. The only absolute certainty our research has produced is we need them to be healthy and survive.
My supplements choice has been based on the over 50 crowd and was made in the year 2000.
After pouring over Web material found year 2000, I could only reach two conclusions. 1. Taking a multivitamin plus a few additional supplements is good health insurance. 2. Choose a reduced whole-foods multivitamin with as much "correct quantity" vitamin & mineral "insurance" potential as possible for your gender, age and health status. Add to a multivitamin if needed, vitamin C, E, Calcium and Selenium. (No one has it all worked out. Every manufacturer has an opinion and multiple multivitamin formulas.)
You may need to take additional vitamins C and E plus calcium separately because they represent enough bulk no one puts the full daily amount into a multivitamin. Don't be surprised if multivitamin tablets are "large" and / or require more than one per day; whole foods versions in particular. One taken with breakfast and one with dinner will ďget you up and running" more evenly each day.
There are many good whole foods vitamins manufactures. With much cross checking formulas from multiple manufacturers (whatís in the multivitamin formula and at what quantities) I found one that looked right for me. (I hope the analysis will not be needed again anytime soon. Itís a lot of work.)
Most mass produced vitamins are manufactured chemical concoctions (one major manufacturer's multivitamin had a chemical in it, banned in Europe, which made me queasy. It was listed plain as day in the ingredients label). The personal discovery that chemically-produced vitamins from major companies can also include potentially harmful chemicals in addition to many open research question for vitamins and mineral indicated need for a solution.
Use a brand of vitamins that uses only reduced whole foods even though it will likely be more expensive. Whole foods have elements that combine in metabolic relationships we donít understand yet. These metabolic relationships are likely the difference between the body absorbing and utilizing a vitamin / mineral or passing much of it through with the waste. (A whole food is not the same as saying "from natural". Nicotine is natural.) One exception to the whole foods manufacturer's list stood out; Solgar. Reading through much material on their website, it seemed straight forward they had their act together, but I couldnít find the words whole food anywhere. I called them. They opt out of industry semantics defining "whole food" (year 2000).
(I consider myself a "chemically insensitive" person. Meaning I can consume coffee and go to sleep if normally tired. I mention this because Iíve been taking Solgar produces for a decade [as of 2010] and though I canít put a label on it, Iím convinced they make a difference. The chemically manufactured stuff never did. Since Iím one of those show me people, it suggests the assessment has meaning.)
Added 4/2011: From three sources (medical doctors from different disciplines) the recommendation is to ensure an intake of Omega 3 as an added supplement to your diet if you are not getting it daily from food. It is equally important the source provide two forms of this fatty acid: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can be obtained from deep-sea, cold-water fish such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. Looking up fish oil led to expensive supplements. My fallback, based on looking up Omega 3 instead of fish oil, became Solgar at substantial savings. Your choice should meet the International Fish Oils Standard (IFOS) for removing contaminants. Omega 3 discussion is complex. Omega-3 supplements made from terrestrial plants lack the beneficial longer chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) of fish oil (terrestrial Omega-3 examples lacking EPA and DHA: flaxseed oil; [terrestrial plant-fed] chicken's eggs; [terrestrial plants-fed] farmed salmon, etc). The estimated ratio EPA / DHA is from 1:1 to 4:1 based on probable evolutionary human diets. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to our body's wellbeing. Ingest fish oil with meals to lesson possible reminders of consumption.
Below is a small portion of my multivitamin comparison chart from 2000 with recommended daily requirements (3 sources listed). Yes itís old, but I did my homework. Once was enough. You can find more recent info if youíre inclined.