Who do we listen to?
I have long since stopped, blindly, trusting what companies tell me. This is especially hard for me given that I am, fairly, naive and want to believe that people have the best intentions. But companies are NOT people. While they are typically made up of people, the culture of the business is what truly determines the moral compass that guides them and that, my friends, is an entirely different animal.
So, what do we do? Well, we research, we ask questions, we learn for ourselves and we share our new found knowledge with our community. I want to share a bit of what I have come to learn about a body’s need for vitamins and minerals, supplementation (yes or no) and if yes, what works and what is a colossal waste of cash!
Vitamins and Minerals – Are they really that important?
The short answer is yes, but if you believe as I do, you won’t take just my word for it. So, I will do what I can to provide resources, both scientific and expert, to back up my claims.
Our body needs an estimated 90 essential vitamins and minerals to create and maintain “optimal” health. When I refer to “essential”, I mean that our bodies cannot make the vitamins (and certainly not the minerals!), but require them to support thousands of biochemical and hormone related processes, each and every day. If we are not making the necessary ingredients, and we are not supplementing appropriately, our bodies WILL creatively use the next, closest, bio-available ingredient in the biochemical “recipe”, so to speak. This, often, produces undesirable affects (symptoms).
Now, you might ask, “Can’t I just eat all of the right, whole foods and get everything that I need”? Well, I guess it’s possible in a perfect world with perfect soil, perfect climate and with a perfect variety of foods. But you get it… it’s not very probable. To name just one problem and at the risk of going down the “challenges with modern, industrial agricultural practices rabbit hole”, suffice it to say that our typical plant and animal food sources are not nearly as vitamin and mineral rich as they once were. As a result, strategic supplementation is a must!
Most American’s are deficient in a wide range and vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamin deficiency can range from person to person based on a variety of factors, but there are a few that most of us have in common. Before we hit that topic, it’s important to cover the areas of vitamin quality and absorption rates.
Supplements – Top 2 things to consider
Overall vitamin quality, efficacy & value
As with many other products on the market, vitamin and mineral supplements are NOT all created equally! One of the downsides to not having government regulation around supplement product manufacturing is the lack of quality control and oversight of product claim accuracy. Having said that, I would argue that we cannot always trust of the results of government oversight anyway, so we are left, once again, to rely on what our research tells us.
There are several websites out there that provide an independent analysis for a variety of products, including vitamin and mineral supplements. Labdoor.com and Consumerlab.com are two such companies. The analysis’ performed differ slightly between the two companies but, in short, provide results that highlight the following key areas.
- Label accuracy
- Product purity
- Nutritional value
- Ingredient Safety
- Projected efficacy
- Product defect rating
- Product comparison
- Overall value for money spent
When conducting your own research, as I strongly recommend you do, leveraging research and analysis organizations like Labdoor.com and Consumerlab.com is a good place to start.
Vitamin and mineral supplements come in a variety of forms that are not absorbed by the body, equally. When we, then, consider that we are also individuals with our own unique set of internal and external environmental circumstances, many of which affect our ability to absorb and metabolize anything we ingest, it is recommended that the supplement be in the most bioavailable forms possible.
Supplements in liquid form tend to have higher absorption rates, when compared to a similar product in a solid state. I’m sure this sounds like common sense! Ingesting anything in liquid form aids the digestive process, which can sometimes be lacking anyway (deficient stomach acid, leaky gut, etc.). So, why not make it easier to get the benefits of the vitamin and/or mineral?
A “form” that may not be as well known, but is well worth your time to understand, is the “chelated” form and it applies to minerals only. You’ll see why shortly! Chelation is a chemical process that binds the mineral to a substance, typically amino acids, making it much more bioavailable. Many of the minerals found in common, over the counter, supplements are made from rock (yes, really) and have absorption rates as low as 8-10%! These are a colossal waste of money!
When a high quality mineral is bound to an amino acid to form a chelated complex, the absorption rate can be as high as 90-95%! Now that is what I’m taking about! Why spend money on low quality, poor absorbing supplements when there are reasonably priced, better quality options available? And by the way, often, when we read about the ineffectiveness of vitamin and mineral supplementation in mainstream media, they are referring to these common brands that are very much lacking in bioavailability! Understanding the value of high absorption vitamins is the key to leveraging supplements to improve health.
Where to start – My TOP 2 Supplement Recommendations
I want to preface the following recommendations but saying, “I am cheap”. That is to say, I am thriftyJ. I want the best value for my money and will spend considerable time researching to ensure that I am getting it!
I have recommended these two vitamin and mineral supplements, time and time again. I have recommended them to family, friends and strangers alike. They have always come back to me with positive feedback and I think you will too!
#1 – Nature’s Way Alive! Liquid Multivitamin
I believe the place to start is with a solid multivitamin. I did my research (I’m sure it was hours and hours of it) and ultimately landed on Nature’s Way Alive! Liquid Multi-Vitamin
I’ve been taking this supplement, regularly, for two years. I noticed benefits within just a few weeks such as stronger hair and nails and even more importantly (to me), I had less anxiety! Now interestingly enough, I did not experience, what I would consider, chronic anxiety for much of my life. It started in my mid to late 30’s but was very disruptive to both my personal life and career in the IT industry. More to follow on this topic in a future article!
What I like about Nature’s Way Alive, is that many of the ingredients are from natural plant sources, which is the best place to start. They, then, supplement the plant base with additional vitamins and minerals in liquid form.
The liquid is on the thicker side with a strong citrus flavor. It appears metallic green. I call it my “liquid gold” because that is just how I view it! I like that it includes trace minerals such as selenium, manganese and copper, which have the following benefits.
- Clearing oxidative stress
- Regulating thyroid function
- Improved blood flow
- Aid in appetite metabolism
- Helps vitamin absorption (how ironic!)
- Aids in the formation of collagen
- Assists with the absorption of iron
- Plays a role in energy production
To read more about or to get Nature’s Way Alive – Liquid Multivitamin, click here!
#2 – Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium
Geez, where do I start with Magnesium? Magnesium plays a critical role in more than 300 biochemical processes, daily! This is “kind of” a big deal! Generally speaking, it supports the muscular and central nervous systems and is what really (I mean really!) stopped my anxiety in it’s tracks!
I start each day with 200 mg of Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium Dietary Supplement, 200 mg per 2 tablets, 240 Tablets. If I have an unusually stressful day, which is not uncommon, I will take another 100 mg in the afternoon. Your body needs an estimated 400-600mg daily and magnesium is hard to come by unless you eat a lot of nuts and seeds and/or cups upon cups of leafy greens!
Here is a list of just a few of the many other benefits to ensuring you have adequate amounts of magnesium in your body.
- Reduced anxiety (already mentioned)
- Works with potassium and zinc to keep muscles strong and healthy and cramp free!
- Transports calcium and potassium to your bones so you actually see the benefits of strong bones. Calcium without ample magnesium gives you jack!
- Helps provide a better quality sleep
- Creates energy by releasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate)
I like the Doctor’s Best brand, simply, because it works and it’s a fantastic value. It is chelated (high-absorption) and is very reasonably priced. I can “feel” the difference after taking it, about 45 minutes later. It has, greatly, helped me with my vertigo which now allows me to view scenic heights with much less anxiety then I’ve had in the past. My “adventurer” husband is ,also, very appreciative of it’s calming effects, especially when we drive roads that follow high ridges!
To get Doctor’s Best High-Absorption Magnesium today click here.
You can also visit my recommended products page to get more suggestions to improve your overall healthy and well-being.
I want to be up front in that I do make a small commission on the sale of these items. Having said that, I, personally, take each and every one of these supplements, regularly. My journey to help eliminate my anxiety and symptoms of ADD and to clear my “foggy” brain is what lead me here over the course of the last 3 years.
If you choose to make a purchase based on my recommendations, “Thank you”. I want to be clear, that the most important message that I want to leave you with is, “Do your own research and take responsibility for your own health!” If you don’t do it, no one else will.
Research & Expert Opinions
Food Alone May Not Provide Sufficient Micronutrients for Preventing Deficiency
Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans
Cardiovascular consequences of magnesium deficiency and loss
Take the Cancer-Fighting Power of Brazil Nuts.
Copper: Health benefits and recommended intake
What is Manganese? The Benefits of this Essential Mineral.
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