Step Four Take Supplements to Support Your Health

It would be nice to think that we could get all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats we need from our diet, but in reality we can’t and don’t. In the UK, the Food Standards Agency survey tells us the average adult male is consuming just 2.7 portions of fruit and vegetables on average, while the average adult female consumes 2.9 portions. What’s more the fruit and vegetables that we do vary enormously in their nutrient content depending on where they were grown, and overall when compared with their equivalents 50 years ago they contain between 10% and 70% less essential minerals. Another study found that women are particularly lacking in essential minerals with more than 91 per cent not getting their RNI of iron (14.8mg), more than 74 per cent not getting their RNI of magnesium (270mg) and almost 50 per cent not getting their RNI of calcium (700mg). Nearly half of men are not getting their RNI of magnesium and one in three men are not getting their RNI of zinc, which is considered to play an important role in mental health and motivation, showed the survey
 
In a nutshell to help our bodymind reach their emotional well-being potential, we all need to supplement our diets
 
 

What Supplements Do You Need to Take?

 
Supplements are a very personal thing, and it really does depend on you, your health and budget as to which supplements you choose. In an ideal world you’d get your nutritionist or integrated medical doctor to run tests to identify which nutrients you are deficient in and then have a programmed developed around that. But that costs money, and the accuracy of some tests is unknown. Therefore as a general rule of thumb I recommend most of my clients to take:
 
  • Multivitamin-mineral supplement
  • Vitamin C with bioflavanoids
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Probiotics
  • +/- additional minerals
 

Multivitamin-Mineral Supplement

 
Getting the right amounts and ratios of vitamins and minerals is an essential component of and contributor to emotional well-being, for example
 
  • Deficiencies of vitamin C, various B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium and zinc are associated with an increased incidence and severity of depression.
  • Magnesium is required for over 300 different enzyme reactions in your body and is essential for energy production and strengthening your bones and teeth Magnesium deficiency is associated with depression, anxiety, tension, insomnia, ADHD, irritability, muscle cramps, PMS mood changes, noise sensitivity and autism.
  • Zinc deficiency is associated with eating disorders, lack of motivation, depression and loss of appetite
  • One study found that between 15% and 38% of people with depression have low folic levels in their bodies and those with very low levels tend to be the most depressed.
  • B vitamins, especially B6, B12 and folic acid are essential for a process called methylation, which is needed to keep your hormones and neurotransmitters in balance. Adequate levels of the B vitamins are also critical for optimum energy levels, mental performance and memory.
 
To ensure that you are receiving enough vitamins and minerals into your body, it is necessary to take a supplement. The following dosages are intended only as a guide to the levels of nutrients that you should be looking for in a multivitamin-mineral-antioxidant supplement. The exact amount however really does depend on your sex, age, level of activity, health and your health and well-being goals.
 
For mental health and emotional well-being most people will need to take supplements that provide a daily total dose in the region of – vitamin A (5,000 to 10,000 IU), mixed carotenoids (2,500 to 25,000 IU), vitamin D3 (400 to 1000IU), vitamin C (200 to 1000 mg), mixed tocopherols (400IU) or vitamin E (100 to 400IU), vitamin B1 (25 to 100mg), B2 (25 to 100mg), B3 (50 to 100mg), B5 (25 to 100mg), B6 (25 to 100mg), B12 (10 to 1000 mcg), Biotin (50 to 300 mcg), Choline (20 to 100mg), Folic Acid (400 to 1000 mcg), Inositol (20 to 300 mg), Calcium (600 to 800mg), Magnesium (400 to 600mg), Chromium (100 to 400 mcg), Iodine (25 to 75mcg), Boron (0.5 to 5mg), Copper (1 mg), Manganese (1 to 10mg), Selenium (25 to 100mcg), Zinc (10 to 30mg) and possibly others such as vanadium, molybdenum, potassium, and vitamin K. Iron as a chelate (5 to 15mg) should as a as a general rule only be taken if you are you known to be deficient in it or at risk of deficiency. Most menstruating women will need it.
 
Quite a few of these such as vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium will need to be taken as a separate supplement in order to achieve the optimal dosage. In practice this means you will probably need to be taking about 6 tablets / capsules a day, in addition to your essential fatty acids and probiotic supplements.
 

Vitamin C 1,000mg with bioflavanoids

 
Because vitamin C is quite bulky most multivitamins won’t supply the optimum amount. You should therefore consider taking a vitamin C supplement. Both vitamin C and bioflavanoids are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements and are required to ensure optimal levels of the brains neurotransmitters
 

Essential Fatty Acids

 
We have already seen how important omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids are to your mental health and emotional well-being. Most people will benefit from taking either 1000mg to 2000mg of fish oil initially (or flaxseed oil if you are a vegetarian) for a couple of months in order to restore a healthy ratio and balance between the two essential fatty acids. Make sure you choose a fish oil product you use is guaranteed to be free of mercury, PCBs and other pollutants. After this you should consider switching to either a formula that provides EPA and DHA (all of these are omega 3 EFA’s) and GLA (the omega 6 essential fatty acid) or you continue with your fish oil or flaxseed oil and supplement with 1000mg to 4000mg of GLA rich oils such as borage oil (contains 24% GLA), evening primrose oil (8%) or blackcurrant oil (15%). Because these three differ in how much GLA they have you should follow the manufacturers recommendations.
 
If you have a mental health problem or have any of the classic symptoms of omega-3 deficiency, which include fatigue, dry and/or itchy skin (including goose bump rash on the upper arms and/or upper thighs), excessive thirst, sweating, or urination), brittle hair and nails, constipation, frequent infections, PMS, depression, poor concentration or memory, lack of physical endurance, and/or joint pain, you should consider upping the dose of fish to between 3,000mg and 10,000mg a day.
 

Probiotics

 
Probiotics, from the Greek “for life” refers to over 400 strains of bacteria that naturally reside within our intestines. Because of poor diet, stress, alcohol and the overuse of certain medications, most people have a degree of digestive imbalance and will benefit from taking a high quality probiotic supplement. Whilst there are many different types of probiotics, you should look for one that contains a variety of synergistic probiotic strains including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The total daily dose should be in the region of 10 billion viable organisms. You might need more if you have a specific gut problem
 

Minerals

 
Whilst a healthy diet and a multivitamin-mineral supplement will ensure that you receive most of the vitamins, and minerals that you need, I tend to find that a number of my clients, especially those with a chronic health challenge need additional minerals as well. Deficiencies of many of the essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium and calcium are more common than deficiencies of vitamins, because our body doesn’t manufacture minerals. Many of the soils within which our fruits and vegetables grow are depleted in minerals, which in turn make for mineral depleted produce. And whilst organic produce does tend to have higher levels, they are fairly modest increases in the range of 5 to 15%.
 
To work out which minerals you need to take, you can either have a blood test, which can be expensive and obviously invasive, or you can use a mineral test kit. Although the research relating to the use of mineral test kits is limited, the exception being with the zinc taste test, my clients have found that kit to be a very useful way of personalising and adjusting the types and levels of minerals that they take.
 

How to Use the Mineral Test

 
Ordering one of these kits can help you work out which minerals you need to be taking, and also help monitor your progress. The test kit consists of eight bottles each containing a mineral in ionic liquid form. The eight minerals tested for are: potassium, zinc, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese, molybdenum and selenium.
 
  • Starting with bottle 1, you pour a small amount into a glass, taste it and record the number that best fits how that mineral tastes to you.
 
1 = sweet; 2 = pleasant; 3 = no taste; 4 = Hmmh taste something; 5 = so, so; 6 = don’t like; 7 = pretty bad
 
You then repeat the exercise for the remaining seven minerals. On completion, review your scores. Any mineral solution that you gave a score of 1, 2 or 3 would indicate that you would benefit from taking that mineral. A score of 4 – 7 indicates that you don’t need to take it.
 
You then order the relevant liquid minerals, start taking them, and every week repeat the test to monitor your progress. Most people need to take the replacement minerals for at least a couple of months.
 
The great thing with this test is that the results have been found to be comparable to blood tests. I also like it because it allows you to become your own detective and to monitor your response to treatment. See https://www.mineraltestkit.co.uk/
 

NOW RETURN TO YOUR ASSESSMENT

 



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