Eating nutritious and well balanced meals is a great way to reachn the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of nutrients our bodies need. But with today’s hectic lifestyles, we often find ourselves eating on the run, and we all know fast food is not a healthy choice. Most fast food products are fat and lack the necessary nutrients needed to stay healthy. It’s not surprising that most people rely on vitamin supplements to help fill the gaps.
Below are 7 nutrients most people fail to get enough of thru their diets alone:
1. Magnesium: low levels of magnesium have been associated with osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
2. Vitamin A: there are two types of vitamin A, carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and retinol. Beta-carotene is essential for good eyes, healthy eye tissues and immunity.
3. Potassium: known to lower blood pressure. Potassium supports muscle and nerve function and also fertility. Potassium can be found in many foods, but sometimes it needs to be supplemented.
4. Vitamin E: an antioxidant, important to immunity. Vitamin E has what is considered healthy fat, mostly found in nuts and oils, and also peanut butter.
5. Calcium: most people know that calcium is good for strong bones, but calcium also helps maintain heart and muscle function, and even help prevent high blood pressure.
6. Fiber: helps bowel regularity and lower cholesterol. High fiber foods are filling and low in calories, which is great for people trying to lose weight.
7. Vitamin C: while vitamin c may not cure or prevent a common cold, studies show it does shorten the duration of symptoms associated with the common cold.
Supplementing our diets with vitamins assures us of getting the nutrients we need. Many people assume that since vitamins are an important factor to good health, it’s safe to consume more than the recommended dosage, but many supplements taken in excess can be extremely dangerous.
How do you know if you are suffering from vitamin deficiency or could you be running the risk of vitamin overdose?
Daily Allowance and Regulations
The Institute of Medicine has established some guidelines to help understand the minimum and maximum doses of vitamin supplements;
• The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and Allowable Intake (AL) is the minimum amount of vitamins required to avoid vitamin deficiency.
• The UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) is the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals you can safely take without risking serious side effects or even overdose.
• The FDA uses a different measurement for nutritional intake.
• The DV (Daily Value) is the measurement you’ll find on supplement labels. That number represents the amount of a vitamin or supplement a person needs for optimum health, based on a (2,000) calorie a day diet.
The RDA and DV guidelines may not be exact, but both are designed as guidelines to help us get the nutrition we need to avoid disease and problems caused by malnutrition.
How do you know when it’s safe to take more than the RDA and DV recommends? A good rule is to look at the UL (tolerable intake level). Many times you can take a higher dosage than RDA and DV guidelines suggest, without going over the UL limit. Not every supplement will have a UL label.
The Government has yet to set limits on all vitamins. Many vitamins are without UL, RDA, and DV labels because experts don’t really know the minimum and maximum amounts that can safely be taken without side effects. A complete list of RDA, UL, and DV guidelines set by the Government can be found through The Office of Dietary Supplements . Some combinations of vitamins and daily medications can be extremely dangerous. Always consult your health care provider before taking vitamin supplements.