Healthy Matters: Guidelines for taking vitamins

by Randy Behr
Stripes Guam

Here is a question that I get quite frequently: Should I take a vitamin or not?

First, I want to say that I am not a nutritionist, so if you have any specific questions please refer to a nutritionist or physician.

However, take a look at this. One in three individuals take vitamins and multi-vitamins are the most popular choice.  Vitamins are taken for many reasons, but the two biggest are to increase performance and build muscle.

Here is some general guidance for the average person. Don’t substitute a meal for a vitamin and always attempt to get the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals through your diet. Here are a few reasons why a vitamin may be suggested as a temporary solution:

  1. Erratic eating behaviors.
  2. Eat less than 1500 calories
  3. Pregnant (Folic Acid)
  4. Eat fast food
  5. Vegan (B12 and possibly other nutrients)
  6. Anemic (Iron)
  7. Food allergies or intolerances (Milk)
  8. Heavy smoker/drinker
  9. Ill/convalescent

Another reason to consume vitamins is due to increased exercise.  Our energy metabolism, tissue growth and repair, red blood cell manufacture and free radical defense may be lacking and they depend on these vitamins.  More is not necessarily better though.  High doses are harmful and show no proof of added benefits.

Because of the many options on buying vitamins, I have included a few basic guidelines on how to choose a vitamin:

  1. Antioxidant
  2. 23 Vitamins/Minerals
  3. Amount between 100-1000% RDA
  4. Avoid unnecessary ingredients such as sugar, sweeteners and artificial flavoring.
  5. “Food Form”
  6. Choose vitamin that requires doses of two or more per day, rather than mega doses.
  7. Take with food/water.

Remember, attempt to eat healthy and save your money.

See You In The Gym!

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