ARI Publication 40 – 2013 Version
Rationale: In order to be classified as a “vitamin” or “essential mineral,” many studies were conducted that showed that the lack of that vitamin or mineral resulted in disease or even death. The RDA is the minimum amount required to prevent disease, but may be less than the amount needed for optimal mental and physical health. Most people in the US consume less than the Required Daily Allowance (RDA) of one or more vitamins and minerals. For example, many women lack enough calcium and iron, leading to osteoporosis and anemia, respectively.
Explanation of Treatment: Vitamins and minerals are available in vegetables, fruits, meat, and other sources. However, the typical U.S. diet is lacking in key vitamins and minerals, so many people need to take a supplement.
Juicing: One option is to use a juicer to make fresh vegetable/fruit juice, and storing it for up to a few days in an airtight glass container. Fresh vegetable/fruit juice is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Commercial juices are “pasteurized” or heated to destroy bacteria, which also causes a loss of some nutrients, especially vitamins. Typical juicing grinds the vegetables/fruit and strains out the pulp. Grinding vegetables/fruit one time provides only about half of the original vitamins/minerals, so after the first juicing it is useful to soak the pulp for about 15 minutes in a small amount of pure water (about 10% of the amount of liquid initially squeezed out), and then grind the pulp again – this will yield most of the remaining vitamins/minerals. The disadvantage to juicing is a loss of fiber (the soluble fiber remains, but the insoluble fiber is removed, and both are beneficial). An alternative method is to use a special blender which grinds the pulp into very small chunks, resulting in no loss of fiber. This results in a thicker consistency (which can be addressed by adding water). Vitamix is one popular brand. The advantage of juicing is that it is often a very easy and tasteful way to get healthy nutrients into children who don’t eat fruits/vegetables. Some of the healthiest vegetables to use include cabbage, spinach, carrots, broccoli, parsley, and oregano, mixed with a small amount of fresh fruit for flavor and other nutrients. Organic vegetables and fruits are preferred, as they have less toxic pesticides. 8 ounces/day should be enough for most children and adults, depending on their intake of other vegetables and fruits.
Supplements: Vitamin/mineral supplements are largely unregulated, and some supplements do not contain what they claim, contain impurities, and/or use forms that are poorly absorbed. Some companies choose to participate in the Dietary Supplement Verification Program (DSVP) of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) – that program verifies that the contents of the supplement match the label. Check for a USP or DSVP label, or go to http://www.usp.org/USPVerified/ to check a product.
- Most supplements do not contain all the essential vitamins and minerals, or do not contain enough of them.
- Several good choices for broad-spectrum vitamin/mineral supplements include the following, listed in alphabetical order:
- Awaken Nutrition’s Agape
- Brainchild’s Spectrum Support (used in the Adams et al 2004 study)
- Kirkman’s Super Nu Thera (very high in vitamin B6), and Kirkman’s Spectrum Complete.
- Yasoo’s Syndion (used in the Adams et al 2011 study).
However, some of those supplements do not contain enough calcium or magnesium, which is also very important to supplement, and they do not contain iron, which some young children and teen girls/women may need.