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Vitamins and Minerals: What You Need to Know

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Last Updated Dec 02, 2020

The nutrients that we gain from food are only as good as the quality of the soil in which the produce is grown.  The essential nutrients in food can also be depleted by things such as freezing, processing, refining, storage, and even the air.  As each person requires a different amount of vitamins and minerals depending on their individual activities, vitamin and mineral supplements may be necessary.  This is especially true in modern times as stress, environment, drugs, and pollution are all unavoidable and can deplete vitamin and mineral levels. 

Antioxidant Supplements

Antioxidant levels in the body need to remain high in order to optimise health and wellbeing, and to help fight against disease.  It is best to choose an antioxidant supplement that has standardised herbal extracts to ensure that it has the appropriate amount of active herbal ingredients.  Choose a complete antioxidant as these contain more than one antioxidant nutrient.  Antioxidants tend to work better when they are combined.

Colloidal Minerals

Plants absorb metallic minerals from the soil through their roots and convert them into colloidal minerals.  These minerals are 98 percent absorbable into the body and they help to facilitate the absorption of vitamins.  Choose a colloidal mineral supplement that contains at least 70 colloidal minerals.  They are commonly available in a liquid form.

Calcium Supplements

When you are buying calcium supplements, it is important that you look at the amount of elemental calcium that they contain.  Elemental calcium refers to the amount of calcium in the supplement that is available for your body to absorb.  It is also important to check the recommended dosage or serving size on the label.  It is generally accepted that between 1000 and 1500 milligrams of calcium is the daily requirement.  Don’t forget to factor in the amount of calcium that you get from your diet when choosing your supplement.

Also look for co-nutrients in your supplement.  Calcium is best used by the body when other nutrients are also available.  Vitamin D and magnesium are the most important to look out for. 

Multivitamins

Multivitamins come in a variety of forms including tablets, powders, liquids, and chewables.  When choosing your multivitamin, ensure that it has 100 percent of the essential nutrients – vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, D, E, and folic acid.  However, keep an eye on the other nutrients.  Certain vitamins can actually be toxic in high doses.  Too much vitamin A has been associated with an increased risk of hip fractures, and too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and stomach upsets, for example.  A good multivitamin should also contain minerals such as chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, and zinc.  At least 50 percent of your daily requirement of these minerals should be obtained from your multivitamin.  The rest is likely found in your diet. 

Be aware that the cost of the multivitamin is an indicator of its quality.  A cheaper vitamin is usually full of fillers such as starches and silica, while a high quality multivitamin is all natural and does not contain filler.

Originally published on Aug 19, 2008

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