HOW TO DETERMINE WHICH NUTRIENTS TO SUPPLEMENT?
Often very little consideration is exercised when making supplement choices, or the other extreme prevails and one falls prey to every advertised product and takes too much.
Currently, most other available guides are quite inadequate and very unscientific in their apporach. Simply, to determine what nutrients to supplement one has to address:
- Dietary patterns affecting body nutrient levels
- Current health status
- Personal and genetic family health history
- Environmental demands, work hazards and living location
- Activity level
- Body composition and type
How DIETARY PATTERNS affect supplement needs?
This could fill an encycopedia, so it will be necessary to summarize. Typically, there are some generalizations from the STANDARD AMERICAN DIET that tend to predominate in the United States due to the available foods and processing methods influencing choices.
Using dietary and nutrient surveys these macro food facts tend to surface at high levels:
- Animal protein
- Saturated animal fat
- Sodium from salt
- Vegetable omega-6 oils
- Dairy, now changing more to to low fat
- Sugars and refined flour carbohydrates
- Low nutrient dense foods
Nutrients that often test at low levels:
- Vitamins A, B12, C, D, E, K
- Calcium (at least at current recommended levels)
- These nutrients for certain subgroups; Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, and iron
- Vegetables and fruits
- Whole Grains
- Nuts and seeds
- References click on Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, then chapter 2.
The actual percentages of deficiencies can vary from 15% to 70% in different subgroups of the population.
The Over 50 population is often low in B12 from taking acid-blocking medicine and general aging effects. This contributes to both anemia and dementia. Folic Acid is needed by young women of child-bearing age in higher amounts. Vitamin D requirements will be increasing shortly. Some of these deficiencies are due to overconsumption of macronutrients in foods. Low nutrient dense foods with high calories increase demands for the B vitamins. Alcoholics have low B vitamin levels from this factor.
With the enrichment of white flour and white rice with B vitamins, there are less deficiencies. The ones that do exist are mostly precipitated by disease states, low food consumption, or gastrointestinal disturbances. Fluid intake is often low in the over 50 group and sometimes excessive in the designer waters group.