When starting to work towards a healthier lifestyle, many people get overwhelmed by the amount of information regarding healthy eating. Everybody is different, and everyone has varying nutritional needs. What your body requires to reach optimal daily health can be totally different than someone else. But if I had to name just one simple solution you could start implementing today in order to improve your entire well-being, I’d tell you to start taking a daily multivitamin complete with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
We live in a nutrient-depleted world. Despite working hard to make health-promoting choices, it is difficult to achieve optimal levels of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. When you also factor the chronic stress of balancing a demanding career and hectic home life, ubiquitous environmental toxins, and nutrient-depleted soil and food (11). This leads to nagging symptoms and chronic health conditions. Thankfully nutritional supplements bridge the gap between adequate and optimal nutrition. There’s a huge difference between adequate nutrition (enough to prevent deficiencies) and optimal nutrition (the amount that results in peak health function).
Reasons Why Our Food Is Not As Nutritious As It Used To Be:
- soil deficiencies
- environmental contamination
- extended refrigeration
- chemical alteration
- over processing
Eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet is very helpful for getting the nutrients needed to function optimally. As a nutritionist, I emphasize the medicinal power of food in my practice. The goal for me has always been to get the nutrients your body needs from what you eat, but it’s nearly impossible to do so today—even if you eat a diet rich in whole foods with lots of organic fruits and vegetables. In today’s world, modern agricultural methods have ravaged and depleted our soils. Industrial treatments have drastically reduced the nutrients in the soil—especially minerals, due to over-farming, chemical fertilization, and other practices. According to a study from The University of Texas, there has been a significant decline in the levels of calcium, phosphorus, iron, some B vitamins and vitamin C in our soils (11). As a result, the nutritional value of many foods has declined. In addition, our fruits and vegetables are rarely eaten straight from the garden. Instead, they're picked, shipped and stored—losing nutrients along the way.
There are countless studies showing that by simply increasing your vitamin and mineral intake ( also known as micronutrients), it can help you do all of the following:
- Enhance your immune system (4)
- Reduce oxidative stress and damage from free radicals
- Support healthy brain function (3)
- Increase your metabolism and help stabilize blood sugar
- Protect your cardiovascular system (5)
- Enhance the health of your bones and joints
- Support your vision
When starting a supplementation program, a well rounded approach is best. A good supplement provides nutritional support in four basic categories: Antioxidants, omega-3 fats, B vitamins, and minerals.
Antioxidants help protect the body at the cellular level by ridding it of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are released when you eat poorly, are under considerable amounts of stress and are exposed to environmental pollutants, as well as through normal body functions (6). To understand free radical damage, just imagine: how apple slices that are left on the counter for a couple of hours turn brown. That is free radical damage. But if you add lemon juice right after cutting them, the antioxidant activity of lemon juice prevents the browning effect. A daily high quality supplement like Jamieson 100% Complete multivitamin for Women, provides you with a daily recommended amount of antioxidants to help support your body's antioxidant needs.
Our bodies can produce most fatty acids from the carbohydrates that we eat. However, there are two fatty acids that are essential for optimal body function, that cannot be produced by our bodies and we must get from food. These two acids are linoleic acid (LA) an omega 6 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic-acid (LNA) an omega-3 fatty acid (2). Omega-3 found in fish such as salmon, egg yolks, dark green leafy vegetables, ground flaxseed, macadamia nuts, hemp seed oil and sea algae. These Omega-3 fats are essential for the optimal functioning of every cell membrane in the body. As a result, getting enough of this nutrient is highly beneficial to your immune system, cardiovascular system, brain, and eyes (1). If you find it challenging to consume enough of these foods on a weekly basis, a supplement may ensure you are getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fats.
The right levels of B vitamins can increase your energy level and improve your stamina. The liver needs this nutrient to metabolize hormones. The B vitamins support the adrenal glands, which are often strained during stressful periods. Vitamin B6, in particular, works to boost your mood, balance blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy nervous system (3).
Folic acid, one of the B vitamins, which also helps with metabolizing hormones in the liver is especially important for women in their reproductive years. This vitamin prevents birth defects such as cleft lip, spina bifida, and neural tube defects when taken before conception. (8). Most women don’t realize they are pregnant until a few weeks after conception, so it is safest to take a daily supplement to ensure you are getting an optimal amount of folic acid. It is also important to take folic acid with the other B vitamins because they work together synergistically. Research has shown that taking a multivitamin prior to conception significantly reduces the risk of prematurity and it also enhances fertility (8).
Vitamin B12 is another of the B vitamins that is an essential nutrient, meaning the body can’t produce it on its own, so it must be sourced from our diets. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that is helpful for many aspects of health including creation of red blood cells, metabolizing food, maintenance of the central nervous system, supporting neurological function, promoting feelings of well-being, boosting energy, and supporting immune function (4). Its is primarily sourced from animal products. Vegetarians and in particular vegans may not be getting enough vitamin B12. A daily multivitamin would help you meet the recommended daily of this vitamin.
A variety of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, are typically associated with bone health, but they’re responsible for so much more. Magnesium, for example, plays many important roles in the body. Magnesium helps to relax your muscles, keeps your heart healthy, lessens the severity and frequency of migraines, and calms the nervous system. Also, it’s vital for GABA function and for regulating certain hormones that are crucial for calming the brain and promoting relaxation (10).
Calcium which is needed for strong bones, needs to be taken along with all the other bone building minerals including magnesium, zinc, copper and vitamin D. The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for women age nineteen to fifty is 1000 mg a day (9). While you can get calcium from a lot of food sources, an easy way to fill in the gaps and get the full complement of your body’s daily vitamin needs is by taking a daily multivitamin.
Other minerals that are included in a quality multivitamin are copper and selenium which support the immune system, chromium and vanadium that help stabilize blood sugar, and manganese can boost the antioxidant process (10). Most menstruating women need iron, which is especially important during pregnancy. Groups at risk of an iron deficiency include pregnant women, infants and young children, teenage girls, and premenopausal women (13). The easiest way to get the full complement of your body’s daily vitamin and minerals needs, is to take a complete Multivitamin for Women that includes the recommended daily levels of iron, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin D, chromium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium.
Jamieson’s experienced team of scientists and experts have closely examined the latest nutrition research to develop a line of 100% Complete Multivitamins for women, designed to fill in the necessary nutritional gaps. This multivitamin is formulated to meet 100% of the daily vitamin needs of adults, naturally energizing and immune boosting.
Remember that supplements are not a substitute for a diet of whole foods. The quality of the food you eat is still the cornerstone of good health! But more and more research is clearly showing that a commitment to supplementing can make an amazing difference in your health (3). Remember the old saying “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
- Z.Harel et al, “Supplementation with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Management of Dysmenorrhea in Adolescence”, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, vol. 174, no. 4 (1996), pp. 1335-38
- M. Maes et al., “In Humans, Serum Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Levels Predict the Response of Proinflammatory Cytokines to Psychologic Stress,” Biological psychiatry, vol. 47, no. 10 (May 15, 2000), pp. 910-20.
- B. Villeponteau, R. Cockrell, and J. Feng, “Nutraceutical Interventions May Delay Aging and the Age-Related Disease” Experimental Gerontology, vol.35, nos. 9-10 (December 2000), pp. 1405-17.
- T. A. Barringer et al., “Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Infection and Quality of Life. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial,”. Amals of Internal Medicine, vol. 138, no. 5 (March 4, 2003 365-71.
- G. Pocobelli et al., “Use of Supplements of Multivitamins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E in Relation to Mortality,” American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 170, no. 4 (August 15, 2009), pp. 472-83.
- K.N. Prasad, “Multiple Dietary Antioxidants Enhances the Efficacy of Standard and Experimental Cancer Therapies and Decrease Their Toxicity,” Integrative Cancer Therapies, vol. 3, no. 4 ( December 2004), pp. 310-22.
- J. Higdon, An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals (New York: Thieme, 2003), p. 253; X. Gao et al., “The Maximal Amount of Dietary Alpha Tocopherol Intake in U.S. Adults (NHANES 2001-2002),” Journal of Nutrition, vol. 136 (2006), pp. 1021-6.
- M. R. Malinow et al., “The Effects of Folate Acid Supplementation on Plasma Total Homocysteine Are Modulated by Multivitamin and Use Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Genotypes” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, vol. 17, no. 6 (June 1997), pp.1157-62.
- R.D. Jackson et al., “Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and the Risk of Fractures,” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 354, no. 7 (February 16, 2006), pp. 669-83.
- A. Hruby et al., “Higher Magnesium Intake Is Associated with Lower Fasting Glucose and Insulin, with No Evidence of Interaction with Select Genetic Loci, in a Meta-analysis of 15 CHARGE Consortium Studies,” Journal of Nutrition, vol. 143, no. 3 (March 2013), pp. 345-53.
- D.R. Davis et al. “Changes In USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999”, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 23, No. 6, 669–682 (2004) Published by the American College of Nutrition.
- Antioxidants and Health: An Introduction. National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction.ht. Updated November 2013.Accessed March 3, 2015.
- Iron: dietary supplement fact sheet. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/#h6. Accessed March 9, 2015.