Do You Need A Multivitamin? 4 High-Risk Profiles Exposed.
Do you need to take a multivitamin? Could you be putting yourself at risk of becoming micronutrient deficient? Are we all at risk, or do we each have unique reasons why supplementation might be a smart decision? Although we are all created of carbon, we are not carbon copies of each other. While these differences make us individually fantastic and unique, there are certain conditions that can also put some of us at a greater risk of becoming micronutrient deficient. Being aware of how these conditions can affect our individual micronutrient sufficiency can enable us to make smarter choices concerning proper supplementation.
The Gluten-Free Girl:
Don’t you just love the Red Velvet Gluten-Free cupcakes at BabyCakes on Broome? If you answered yes to that question than it is important for you to know that the elimination of foods containing gluten also eliminates many of the natural sources of nutrients in those foods. Gluten-free foods are often low in calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, magnesium and fiber. However, it is the B vitamins that are generally found to be the most deficient in gluten-free dieters. In fact, when individual following a gluten-fee diet were studied, more than half were found to be deficient in both B-6 and B-9 (Folic Acid). Celiac patients, as well as others following this eating profile, should discuss with their physicians whether they should be taking B vitamins or a good quality, complete multivitamin supplement.
The Vegan or Vegetarian Vixen:
While the choice of whether or not to eat meat is personal, one should not overlook the essential nutrients that are often found in these animal products. Vitamin B12 is usually found in foods from animal sources and is an essential supplement for vegans/vegetarians who dine at hot spots such as Blossom, Zen Palate and Café 79. It is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially DNA, as well as fatty acid synthesis and energy production. Other nutrients, which are often found to be deficient in vegans/vegetarians, are Iron (physical and mental function), Calcium (bone health) and Zinc (strong immune system). A vegan/vegetarian’s sufficiency level of Vitamin D, now touted for it’s many health benefits, is also at risk. Finally, vegans/vegetarians may also find it challenging to acquire all of their essential fatty acids (EFAs) since the best sources are in fish oil. Those who prefer not to take fish oil supplements should look to the latest algae sources now available to fulfill their EFA requirements.
The Dark Skinned Diva:
For many years physicians have observed a greater statistical occurrence of heart disease in the African American community. Now, researchers believe that this may be caused by a deficiency in just one essential nutrient, vitamin D. This essential vitamin is obtained through sun exposure. Those with darker skin can’t absorb the sun’s powerful rays as well as those with fairer skin, leading to a vitamin D deficiency. Recent studies have uncovered that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their body had a much greater chance of dying from heart attacks and strokes. Taking a multivitamin with high levels of vitamin D, or taking a vitamin D supplement alone, can help to eliminate this deficiency and perhaps decrease the likelihood of heart disease for those dark skinned beauties.
The Cardio Queen:
Do you spend hours at Equinox? Bike or run in Central Park every morning? Prep for your Beach Body over at Crunch? While we believe that cardiovascular exercise and weight training are essential components to overall health, it is important to note that there are many micronutrients, including electrolytes, depleted through these beneficial activities. Individuals who train for more than six hours a week often have iron deficiency anemia. While magnesium deficiency is already prevalent in most Americans, research shows that up to 15% of magnesium intake can be further diminished through sweat during long periods of exercise. Exercise, while beneficial, causes natural wear and tear on the body. Antioxidants can help prevent this oxidative damage, and protect your body from the negative effects that may result from this healthy habit. So, if you sweat, make sure to supplement with a complete multivitamin that includes all of these essential nutrients as well as high levels of protective antioxidants.
Whether you fall into one of these four high-risk profiles by birth or by choice, it is critical to identify which nutrients you may be deficient in. Being sufficient in all of the essential nutrients is the only way to achieve optimal health. After all, they are called “essential” for a good reason. To ensure nutrient sufficiency we recommend that you educate yourself on your nutritional needs, eat more of the whole, natural foods that contain high levels of the specific nutrients you may be deficient in, and take a high quality multivitamin. Remember your health is in your hands.