There are frequently conflicting arguments surround nutrient supplements. Do you take them? Do you need them? Could they be harmful to your health? Are vitamin and mineral supplements really just creating expensive urine?!
In the 1930’s, a new concept – the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) - emerged. The RDA is a suggested daily value or quantity required for essential vitamins and minerals that people should ingest, and you can find these on the back of your vitamin box. As a result, diseases such as Scurvy (from a vitamin C deficiency), Pellagra (Vitamin B3 deficiency) and Rickets (vitamin D and calcium deficiency) were prevalent before the rise of vitamin awareness, and the RDA give the levels of vitamins and minerals that you required in order to prevent diseases like these.
But now a new concept in vitamins and minerals has now emerged – the concept of optimum daily intake of vitamins and minerals. In this model as opposed to the RDA, you need take vitamins and minerals not at a level to merely prevent death and disease; you take vitamins and minerals for optimal health, i.e. levels considered high enough to function and live at your best.
This shift in mindset is becoming increasingly important to patient health. The world has changed, and keeps on changing. We are constantly exposed to increasing levels of pollution, radiation, and chemicals, not to mention that the pace of life is more stressful, on a psychological, social, and environmental level. Trying to supplement this with diet alone is futile, even an organic one: our soil in which fresh fruit and vegetables are grown has become progressively more nutrient depleted, especially of the metals we require as micronutrients. Year after year, crops are planted into the same fields and pesticides remaining in the soil also bind our metal micronutrients in complexes, leaving them unavailable to the plants we eat.
So, in order to reach optimum daily intake of many essential vitamins and minerals, kilograms of suitable foodstuffs may be required – impossible on a healthy 2000 kcal/day diet! Thus vitamin and mineral supplementation is essential for your best health status. Your optimum daily requirements are best discussed with your doctor, and will vary according to age. These values can differ in men and women, and with health conditions.
Make sure that you are getting all the necessary dietary input that will help you look and perform at your ultimate best!