Written by: Joel Totoro ,ND
Thorne Staff, U.S.
A Straight Answer
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about the need for multi-vitamin-mineral supplementation. Some people say you get everything you need from the food you eat. But can you?
The answer is, “If you are relatively healthy, yes, you probably could.” Do most Americans eat a diet that will provide them with sufficient amounts of all the health-giving vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health? The answer is, “Probably not.”
Due to the state of the current food supply and because very few Americans eat the recommended five daily servings of health-giving fruits and vegetables, many nutrition experts agree that a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement taken daily could help fill the nutrition gap.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans don’t typically eat a diet that will provide them with all the nutrients they need. By their definition, adults should be eating 1.5-2 cups of fruit daily and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.
In a CDC 2013 survey by state, only 13.1 percent of the entire U.S. population met sufficient fruit intake (ranging from 7.5 percent in Tennessee to 17.7 percent in California). In this same survey, only 8.9 percent of adults met the recommended daily vegetable intake (ranging from 5.5 percent in Mississippi to 13.1 percent in California).
Common vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the United States
A recent report from the CDC revealed some shocking statistics about the nutrient status of Americans. Some of the highlights of the report are:
Who is especially at risk and why?
Suboptimal levels of vitamins and minerals are especially common in certain groups of people, either because they are not consuming an optimal diet or because of health conditions – or both. Increased nutrient needs may be seen in:
- Individuals of any age with a chronic health problem
- Elderly people, because of low appetite and lack of interest in food, poor absorption, medications, and/or chronic disease
- Children, because they can be very picky eaters
- Teenagers, because their diets generally include too much fast food and not enough fruits and vegetables
- Individuals on strict diets that exclude whole food groups (for example, vegans may be at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency because B12 is primarily found in animal products)
- Women of childbearing age – who may be at risk for iron deficiency, in particular; needs increase during pregnancy as well. (NOTE: Always be sure to use a supplement specifically designated as a prenatal vitamin if you are pregnant, in order to assure that you get enough of certain vitamins and not too much of others.)
Suboptimal Intake is Especially Common in Americans over Age 50
Suboptimal intake of several vitamins is common in the general population, particularly among aging Americans. In a study of 4,381 adults age 51 or older, less than 50 percent of them received adequate amounts of vitamin E, the B-vitamin folic acid, or magnesium from diet alone.
Other vitamins and minerals that were difficult to acquire in sufficient amounts were vitamins A, B6, and C, and the mineral zinc. When people added supplements, 80 percent or more were able to meet the average daily recommendation for vitamins A, B6, B12, C, and E; folate, iron, and zinc.
A healthy diet increases the benefits of a multi
An excellent multi-vitamin/mineral nutritional supplement is good “dietary insurance” and a small investment to make to ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients daily, particularly if you aren’t eating a balanced diet.
In addition to providing nutrients your body needs to function physically, at least one study found that supplementing with a multi-vitamin/mineral for 28 days could improve mood and ability to handle stress. Even greater health benefits can be realized when you eat a healthy diet in addition to taking a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.
We believe a good multiple-vitamin and mineral formula is the starting point for every individual’s supplementation needs and that it should contain all the essential nutrients. We also believe that by using the purest, most bioavailable raw materials – without adding any unnecessary additives or preservatives – absorption and utilization of the nutrients will be maximized and health outcomes will be optimized.
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