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MULTI-VITAMINS, MINERALS & YOU

Remember when choosing a multi- vitamin and mineral supplement was as simple as A to zinc? Today, due to increasing health awareness of the American public, shelves in health food stores and even supermarkets are stocked floor to ceiling with nutritional supplements. Beta carotene, antioxidants, phytochemicals, chelated minerals, megavitamins, vegetarian formulas, multi- vitamins, stress tabs, PMS formulas- the selection is astounding, and often confusing.

Four out of ten of us are taking at least one nutritional supplement a day, the most popular being the multi- vitamin and mineral formulas. Although nutritionists agree supplements should not replace a well- balanced diet, due to today's busy lifestyle, many of us do not always eat right and find supplements necessary to help us get our recommended daily allowance of nutrients.

Nutrient Reality

According to recent national diet surveys, Americans' daily food intake often falls short in important nutrients. Only one in nine people eats the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables. The average calcium consumption in the U.S. and Canada is two- thirds of the RDA level of 800mg. Americans are eating increasingly more sugar and vitamin- and mineral- depleted refined grains. The surveys indicate 59 percent of our calories are coming from potentially nutrient- poor food sources (eg. soft drinks, white bread, snack foods). These poor food choices result in a sub- optimal status for essential vitamins and minerals. Many diets in the U.S. provide only half the recommended amounts of magnesium and folic acid. Only one person in five consumes adequate levels of vitamin B6. Nine out of ten diets are marginal in chromium. We also are falling short of the mark in vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B6, iron, copper, and zinc.

A woman's need for proper nutrition becomes crucial after menopause when osteoporosis and heart disease become more prevalent. Yet national surveys indicate that only one in every three women eat a diet containing at least one serving of each of the recommended food groups and almost one in every five has two or three food groups missing.

Although nutritionists agree food is the best source of dietary nutrients, always meeting your daily needs through diet alone often can be difficult due to lifestyle habits. Many people skip meals, snack on junk foods, are on weight loss diets, and eat away from home. For those who want the assurance that they are meeting their nutrient needs, daily supplementation with a well- balanced, broad- spectrum and comprehensive multi- vitamin and mineral supplement can be beneficial.

Different Dietary Needs

Vitamin and mineral needs can vary from one individual to another. Our nutrient needs can depend on our body's individual variation in the absorption and use of specific nutrients, the nutritional adequacy of our diet, age, sex, health status, medications, stress, and tobacco and alcohol consumption. In most cases a good comprehensive multi- vitamin and mineral supplement could significantly help meet the nutritional needs of most people.

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE -->Written by: John Westerdahl




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