Multiple Vitamin Need

Multiple Vitamin Need: Overview

Vitamins are essential to life.  They contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food.  They are considered micronutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared with nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water.

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If the likelihood of a person being deficient in a particular nutrient (based on RDA requirements) is 2%, then multiplied across 40 nutrients the chance of being deficient in at least one of them becomes 55%.  Considering that the likelihood of some nutrient deficiencies is much greater than 2%, the chance of the average person being deficient in at least one nutrient is almost certainly higher.  Taking a multiple supplement for insurance purposes is therefore wise.  Additionally, if optimal health is a practical and reasonable goal, why settle for less with a marginal nutrient status?

Treatment and Prevention

Select populations will benefit from specific supplementation as in the following examples:

  • Prenatal vitamins are important for pregnant women
  • Folate supplementation with early pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects in newborns
  • Daily vitamin/mineral supplements with antioxidant nutrients can reduce infections in the elderly by enhancing immune function
  • Premature infants need supplemental iron and vitamin K to maintain health
  • People on poor diets or selected medications which deplete key nutrients, or who abuse alcohol or narcotics are likely to be deficient in micronutrients and should see improved health with supplementation
  • A 1989 study found calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese were low in teenage girls.  Calcium, magnesium and iron were low in adult women.  Calcium, magnesium and zinc were low in older women.  Calcium and zinc were low in the diets of two year olds.  Magnesium was low in the diets of teenage boys and older men.

Supplementation does not mean you are free to eat as poorly as you like.  Supplements do just that – they supplement a good diet.

Conditions that suggest Multiple Vitamin Need:

Nutrients

Vitamin A Requirement

A healthy diet will help prevent the complications of vitamin A deficiency.  Foods rich in vitamin A include milk, cheese, liver, kidney, cod oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and most leafy green vegetables.

Counter-indicators
A Good Supplementation Level

Risk factors for Multiple Vitamin Need:

Addictions

Alcohol-related Problems

An interesting study showed significantly decreased levels of anxiety among a group of alcoholics treated with megavitamins.  Over a 21-day period, the group took approximately 3gm of vitamin C, 3gm of niacin, 600mg of B6, and 600 IU of vitamin E per day.  A comparison group received only inert gelatin capsules.  None of the subjects in either group took antidepressants or antianxiety drugs.  Anxiety levels among both groups were measured three times over the 21 days.  They fell dramatically only in the group on megavitamin therapy.

Symptoms - Food - General

Long-term/short-term low-carb dieting or discontinued low-carb diet

Atkins followers risk a number of serious nutrient deficiencies [Journal of the American Dietetics Association 86 (1985): p.460].  When cutting calories, it's especially important to eat nutrient-dense diets, but the Atkins Diet presents a double whammy; it restricts the healthiest foods like fruit and unrestricts some of the unhealthiest.  The American Heart Association states: "Individuals who follow these diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake..." [Circulation 104 (2001): p.1869]

Diets such as Atkins' maximize the consumption of disease-promoting substances like the cholesterol and saturated fat, and industrial pollutants and carcinogens in meat, yet restrict one's intake of fiber and the literally thousands of antioxidants and phytochemicals found exclusively in the plant kingdom (like the carotenoids, lycopenes, bioflavonoids, phytic acid, indoles, isothiocyanates, and so on) that have "anti-aging, anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties" [Obesity Research 9 (2001): p.1S].  As a 2004 medical review concluded, the Atkins Diet is so "seriously deficient" in nutrition that "there is real danger of malnutrition in the long term." [Journal of the American College of Cardiology 43 (2004): p.725]

Realizing that this diet is so deficient in nutrients, Atkins prescribes no fewer than 65 nutritional supplements to help fill the nutritional gaps created by this diet – available on the Atkins web site.  "Who needs orange juice," Atkins wrote, "when a Vitamin C tablet is so handy?" [Atkins, RC.  Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution.  David McKay Company, Inc., 1972]

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Multiple Vitamin Need suggests the following may be present:

Addictions

Alcohol-related Problems

An interesting study showed significantly decreased levels of anxiety among a group of alcoholics treated with megavitamins.  Over a 21-day period, the group took approximately 3gm of vitamin C, 3gm of niacin, 600mg of B6, and 600 IU of vitamin E per day.  A comparison group received only inert gelatin capsules.  None of the subjects in either group took antidepressants or antianxiety drugs.  Anxiety levels among both groups were measured three times over the 21 days.  They fell dramatically only in the group on megavitamin therapy.

Nutrients

Recommendations for Multiple Vitamin Need:

Diet

Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Not recommended
Therapeutic Fasting

Major nutritional deficiencies may best be corrected prior to the start of a lengthy fast.  Supplementation during a fast is also a possibility.

Vitamins

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KEY

Weak or unproven link: may suggest
Weak or unproven link:
may suggest
Strong or generally accepted link: often suggests; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
often suggests; often increases risk of
Definite or direct link: suggests
Definite or direct link:
suggests
Strong counter-indication: often contraindicates
Strong counter-indication:
often contraindicates
May be useful: may help with
May be useful:
may help with
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for
Caution: is sometimes not recommended for
Caution:
is sometimes not recommended for