Dietary supplements-Vitamins and minerals…

Saturday Mar 27, 2010

Dietary supplements – a very confusing and mysterious subject for many.  People might use supplements for a number of different reasons.  Some top reasons may be to: improve overall health, prevent/cure a disease, or because they heard about it from family/friend/media, etc. Majority of people believes that even if they are not using dietary supplements now they should start using them. The reason behind this is that people think that supplements are a part of a healthy lifestyle, or are necessary to maintain good health. However, this kind of philosophy is not very accurate.

The following are some reasons why you should be using dietary supplements: if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant, have a food restriction (e.g. vegetarian, don’t eat milk products, restricting calorie intake, etc), or are an elderly person. For healthy adults who eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods there should be no need to be consuming dietary supplements. I personally see it as a pure waste of money.

As an example, let’s look at vitamin C.  Did you know you can get your daily recommended dosage of vitamin C from eating just one orange (as well as many other fruits or veggies)?  Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin; therefore any extra that your body doesn’t need it will dispose of through urine (the same applies to the B-complex vitamins). Too much vitamin C (over 10,000mg in one serving) can actually be toxic to the body and have a free radical-like effect.

The dietary supplements are not evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – therefore, there is basically no regulation of the manufacturing and the claims that are made on the supplements.  If you decide to use a dietary supplement after all, always choose one that has been at least tested by a “Third Party Evaluation” (independent testing to evaluate quality control issues such as: labeling accuracy, purity, strength, and ability to dissolve). Here are some reliable links to “Third Party Evaluation” (much of the information found online is misleading and incorrect, however these are authoritative sources).

If your body is deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral it will have a tendency to absorb it even better (from the food you eat).  If you are already getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs (from food) it will usually decrease absorption of these substances.  Therefore, by taking extra vitamins and minerals in the form of dietary supplements there is a great chance that your body will not absorb all those exaggerated quantities. As a side note, when these supplements are made in factories the manufacturers try to compress as much as possible into one pill to make it as small as possible in order to make it easier for a consumer to swallow. This compression decreases the likelihood that the pill will dissolve in the stomach and get absorbed in the intestine. Alternatively, consuming vitamins and minerals from natural sources will result in better absorption by your body.

In conclusion, you should really focus on eating a healthy diet, including all the “food groups” and trying to get at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day (different colors will give you diverse nutrients).  You should only start supplementing your diet if your health care provider or dietitian suggested you to do so. If you still choose to use supplements, use ones that have been evaluated by a third party and never think that you can substitute a good, healthy diet with supplements. Good diet, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise – are still your best sources for optimal health!

This was just a very general supplement discussion, if you have a question about a specific vitamin, mineral, ergogenic aid, or supplement – please let me know and I will be happy to discuss it.

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17 Comments »

I’m glad you mentioned B complex, because on top of taking 700mg of Buffered Vitamin C, i take the B complex from Whole Food. The pills are in powdered form consolidated into a pill, so my question is do you think that it actually get absorbed? Well, i can honestly say I sort know because of what you mentioned about the super yellow urine, but what about pills that are NOT powdered form, but more of a solid … do you think those have the same absorption affect?

Another question: Since you mentioned pregnancies etc., prenatal vitamins … What do you think about women who are NOT currently pregnant taking those vitamins?

Thanks! Great info!

March 27th, 2010 | 2:35 pm

Good questions!

Supplementing with B complex tablets can result in bright yellow urine, which is due to the body eliminating excess riboflavin (vitamin B2, which is a yellow powder in its dry concentrated form).

I believe that the powdered form is digested more easily compared to the solid form, but in the end your body will absorb only what it needs and the rest is excreted in the urine. This happens with the vitamin C as well – although, you probably cant tell because it is clear in the urine.

B complex vitamins are believed to give energy. This is not very accurate though, they are involved in energy metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Getting more B vitamins than you need will not increase the rate of these processes. The best way to get more energy is to eat healthy, exercise, and get lots of sleep.

I would not recommend taking prenatal vitamins for women who are not trying to get pregnant. Most prenatal vitamins contain a combination of different vitamins and minerals, as well as: Iron, folic acid, and calcium. You should generally not supplement with iron, folic acid, or calcium without the recommendation of a doctor, or a dietitian.

March 27th, 2010 | 4:24 pm
Gabriel Rogg:

Thanks for the great write-up. Content is good. I would hope to be back tracking.

March 28th, 2010 | 9:36 am

Very good blog article. I’ll be coming back for more. 🙂

April 23rd, 2010 | 7:36 am

Is it harmful to drink lots of green tea? Also, Is it normal to feel dizzy when dringking green tea?

April 23rd, 2010 | 10:44 pm
does extenze work:

It is excellent to have the chance to read a good quality article with useful data on topics that many are interested on. The fact that the data stated are all first hand on live experiences even help more. Go on doing what you do as we enjoy reading your work.

April 24th, 2010 | 8:01 pm

To date, the only negative side effect reported from drinking green tea is “insomnia” due to the fact that it contains caffeine. There does not appear to be any significant side effects or toxicity associated with regular green tea consumption.
Some Side-effects of taking a green tea extract are: Excess gas, upset stomach, nausea, heartburn, stomach ache, abdominal pain, dizziness, headache, and muscle pain. All of these reported events were rated as mild events. It is considered safe for healthy individuals to take green tea polyphenol products in amounts equivalent to the EGCG content in 8-16 cups (800mg) of green tea per day. more research is needed though to determine higher dosages, and long term effects.

April 25th, 2010 | 3:25 pm
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April 30th, 2010 | 8:39 pm

Very interesting topics.I am looking this type of topics, I need more informations because everyone knows “Health is wealth” is very much known to all and everyone wants good health.That means no one wants to leave this wealth. So, Let us build a food habit discipline, keep pace with work, rest and or exercise to Achieve good health, The ultimate wealth.

May 4th, 2010 | 2:04 am

Thank you 🙂
You can enter your email address under “receive updates” on the right side of the home page.

May 4th, 2010 | 6:44 pm
...:

Not always do you encounter good writing with interesting information like yours. You are really relevant on the topics you create which is very helpful to many. Carry on the excellent work so we have something to hope for.

May 10th, 2010 | 8:27 pm

Much of the information that you hear about creatine supplementation is usually incorrect. Here is some science based information about creatine to take into account. The body usually synthesizes all the creatine it needs on its own, and most of this creatine is transported to the muscle cells (~95%). Thus, consuming additional creatine decreases the body’s production of creatine, negating some of the effects of creatine supplements. Most studies indicate that creatine levels in muscle cells do indeed increase (by ~20%) with supplements, but the increase reaches a maximum within a couple of days (here is where the “creatine cycling” comes from). Also its important to remember that most initial increases in body weight are due to water retention!
If you want to increase your muscle mass, you should increase the calorie intake in your diet by ~20% (from carbohydrates and protein) and increase the intensity of your workout!

Its a great idea to keep a log!
Good Luck…

May 11th, 2010 | 8:39 am
Mark Yalon:

This is the kind of indo I’m looking for. I just started working out for real. I want to do things the correct way, and that includes which supplements to take. I am a 17 year old male, and about 155 pounds. Thanks for your help.

May 11th, 2010 | 11:02 pm
Kipu Inad:

Great discussion. And I REALLY like that you practice what you preach. That’s when you can tell a post has come together.
And I’m also fascinated by how fresh you made the routine [admit it: what you just shared has been regurgitated millions of time. ;-)].
Ben Johnson said people don’t need taught as much as they need reminding.
Good work.

May 17th, 2010 | 10:46 am
Lise Flennoy:

Great, this is exactly what my wife and I needed to learn

June 7th, 2010 | 8:08 am
Ronald C, Elrod:

The advice that you give about eating a healthy diet, excercise, and adequate sleep being enough to stay heathly is good, but isn’t always true, 100% of the time. Each person is different, requiring different amounts of vitamins and minerals, exercise, etc. I am disabled due to a back injury, so exercise is difficult for me, if not out of the question. Walking is difficult at best. I don’t have a job (due to my disability), so until I get started on disability benefits, I can’t even see a doctor on a regular basis. So, as you can see, not everyone fits into one ‘perfect’ mold.

June 29th, 2010 | 9:43 pm
Pablo Bendetti:

Hi, what vitamins should I take while on the veggie fruit and tuna diet? I plan on eating lots of fruits, veggies, tuna, boneless skinless chicken breast, and boiled eggs. Possibly whole wheat bread too. I can’t bring myself to drink plain water regularly, so I will be drinking propel water or juice most of the time (unless you have a healthier suggestion). So, my question is what vitamins would I be missing out on with this diet? Any suggestions on a multivitamin or anything of the sort? Also, any suggestions on the best types of fruit and veggies to eat would be awesome. Thank you!

August 6th, 2010 | 6:20 am
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