Five Factors for Optimal Fitness – Take Your Vitamins

Supplements can help satisfy your nutritional needs, but they can't make up for a crappy diet

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Are you getting all the nutrients you need in your diet? If not, supplements can help

Supplementation can help give your body the nutrients it might not be getting from your regular diet.

There’s evidence that our modern-day food isn’t as nutritious as it was 100 years ago due to depletion of nutrients in our soil from overuse. Modern-day life is also very stressful, which has increased the body’s needs for certain nutrients.

Supplements can help satisfy your nutritional needs for repair and growth and also increase your metabolism.  

Supplements Don’t Replace Sound Nutrition

Of course, taking supplements before creating a nutritional foundation is like adding expensive accessories to a car that doesn’t run properly. As the name implies, supplements are meant to add to your healthy diet, not replace it.  

A recent study published in the Journal Of the American Medical Association (JAMA) states “it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

Beyond the RDA

The Recommended Daily Allowance level is the minimal amount to prevent a vitamin deficiency in the clinical sense. Suboptimal intake of certain vitamins, even though they met RDA levels, can increase your risk for certain conditions.

Low levels of folic acid and the B vitamins can be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, birth defects, and colon and breast cancers. Insufficient vitamin D can contribute to weakening of your bones. Poor intake of the antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E) can increase your risk of chronic diseases.  

Recommended Supplements

Before taking any supplements you should check with your doctor to make sure it’s right for you and won’t interfere with medications. For the average person with no serious medical issues, I’d recommend the following supplements on a daily basis:

  1. Multi-vitamin/mineral as recommended by the JAMA study mentioned above.
  2. Extra vitamin D during the winter months from December to February.  
  3. Omega 3 essential fatty acids, either from fish oil, ocean plants or flax (ground flaxseeds or flaxseed oil). I prefer to take fish oil pills and add ground flaxseed to my salads and smoothies. The flaxseeds will also provide fibre in addition to the Omega 3 fats.  

A word of caution with Omega 3 supplementation: if you’re on blood thinner medication, check with your doctor before taking these as they may cause excessive bleeding.  

Sensible supplementation will help supply your body with the right combination of nutrients and compounds to enhance performance, reduce body fat, increase muscle and/or improve health.

But remember, supplements can’t correct a crappy diet. Get a good handle on the other four factors for optimal wellness, then add supplements to boost your health.