I am a huge fan of getting the nutrients you need from your foods for a couple of reasons. First of all, nutrients found in your foods are synergistic. Meaning, the components necessary for your body's breakdown and use of the food you are eating are contained in the food as well. Secondly,
Most supplements should never be taken for more than an average period of 3 months. This is usually enough time to determine whether, for example, it is beneficial as far as relieving symptoms, helping you to sleep better, or providing you more energy. Certain supplements, such as minerals, make take up to 6 months to provide any noticeable difference. I suggest only whole food vitamins. Whole food vitamins are extracted from whole foods, rather than being synthetically made, and retain synergistic qualities making them easier for your body to absorb and assimilate.
Daily Dosages for Adults
The following list of vitamin food resources has been chosen from common American foods. Keep in mind that most foods grown and produced in the United States do not contain the vitamins and nutrients they did in years past due to soil and water conditions, as well as added pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. For this reason, choose organically grown foods and range fed livestock and poultry whenever possible.
The dosages listed below are suggested daily vitamin allowances. These dosage totals are deemed safe for most healthy, adult individuals. These dosages do not apply to children or to those otherwise under the care of a physician or therapist. Supplements may interfere with medications and should not be taken with certain health conditions, so be sure to consult your care provider before beginning a new supplement regimen.
Vitamin A – 2,500-8,000 IU per day, but not to be combined with Vitamin D3. They compete with each other. Many multi-vitamins will contain 10,000 IU of Vitamin A. This may be too much. Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses. When taking a supplement for
Vitamin A it is best to take Beta-Carotene, which is converted in the body into Vitamin A. Whatever your body can't use will be eliminated without the worry of toxic build-up.
Pumpkin (canned is fine), red pepper, sweet potato, beet greens, fish, eggs, winter and butternut squash (baked or broiled), cantaloupe, enriched bran or wheat flakes, carrots, swordfish, spinach, mangoes, yams, tuna, turnips.
B6 - Pyridoxine - 50-200 mg per day is usually fine. I suggest 85-100 mg per day. If we do not get enough B6, we cannot absorb B12. You can take up to 200 mg per day. However, anything over 500 mg taken for a few, short months can be toxic.
Poultry, light meat (chicken, turkey, etc.), free range eggs, crab meat, bananas, artichokes, tomato paste, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, pork chop, medium or slice of loin, tuna, sole, sardines, cod, mackerel or haddock, beef, Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, oats, avocado, brown rice, cabbage, dried fruit, molasses.
Salmon, tuna, sole, haddock, cod, herring, oysters (cooked), clams, Kings crab, yogurt (organic), lean beef, ham, lamb, chops, leg or shoulder, macaroni and cheese, enriched bran or wheat flakes, eggs, vamenbert, gorgonzola cheese, blue cheese, milk (organic), liver.
Supplementing with a 50 mg - 100 mg B Complex should be fine for most people who are not sure they are getting enough of the Bs.
Vitamin C – 500 mg per day. Not more than 5000 mg in divided doses.
Oranges and orange juice, honeydew or watermelon, red bell and green bell peppers, broccoli (fresh or frozen, papaya, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, cantaloupe, mangos, onions, dandelion greens, radishes, asparagus, avocados, pineapple, watercress, collard greens, kale, kiwi, lemons, pink grapefruit.
Calcium - 100-1500 mg per day. Take Magnesium and D along with Calcium, but take Calcium separately. Magnesium must accompany Calcium in order for Calcium to be absorbed. If you take only Calcium, without also taking Magnesium, excess Calcium may become toxic and you will not be able to relax your muscles. Sodium (salt), caffeine and excess protein all cause an increase of calcium to be excreted in the urine.
Asparagus, yellow string beans, milk (organic), ice cream (only all natural will do), spinach, eggnog, cheddar cheese (and most other aged cheese), soymilk, kale, baked beans, pink salmon, tuna and sardines (canned is fine), Swiss cheese, goat’s milk, oranges, sweet potato, parsley, peppermint, watercress, bok choy, collard and other leafy greens.
Chromium - 200-500 mcg per day. Never use more than 1200 mcg per day without doctor permission. If you are hypoglycemic or diabetic consult your doctor before supplementing with Chromium, as it lowers blood sugar.
Vitamin D3 – 400-1200 IU per day (never exceed 2000 IU without doctor permission. It can be toxic.), but not to be combined with Vitamin A. They compete with each other. Taking in 15 minutes of early morning or late evening sun for at least 15 minutes (up to 40 minutes for darker skinned sisters) can give you a healthy dose of D for the day, but only during spring and summer. Continue to use your sun-block during peak hours of the day. Taking 400-800 units of Vitamin D3 per day is helpful although this may still not be enough. You might want to check the following guidelines for specific health conditions.
Keep in mind, recommendations will soon be changing to higher doses with the safety drop off being 2000 units per day, unless your doctor advises more.
Blood tests can reveal how deficient you are. Women going through menopause are wise to have this checked along with other hormone levels.
Atlantic mackerel and cod, eggs, sardines, salmon (salt water fish), mushroom, herring, mackerel, liver, cod liver oil, evaporated milk, corn flakes, milk (fortified), raisin bran, granola, leafy green vegetables, Vitamin D fortified dairy products.
Vitamin E – 200-800 IU per day, no more. Vitamin E can cause complications in some health conditions. Consult your doctor before using any, especially if you are on medications.
Almonds, apple, hazelnuts, peanut butter, sweet potato, avocado, wheat germ, mango, sunflower seeds, spinach, asparagus, nut and vegetable oils (soybean, corn and safflower), green vegetables, whole grain products, wheat germ.
Fiber - That 'F" Word
Fiber is not a vitamin, but is extremely important. It helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
Insoluble fiber is rough, doesn't dissolve and increases frequency, water content and looseness of bowel movements. For someone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, this can cause pain and diarrhea. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grain breads and cereals, wheat bran, fruits and veggies. Soluble fiber is soothing, absorbs excess water, pushes through impacted fecal matter and helps to regulate bowel movements by regulating intestinal spasms. Choose oatmeal, rice, potatoes, soy, barley, pasta, beans and oat bran as a means of getting in your daily fiber.
Try for 35 grams of fiber per day. You can get your fiber needs from your foods or by adding fiber supplements, such as Metamucil (as directed on the label). You may also use psyllium seed the following way:
Grind 1 heaping teaspoon of psyllium seeds (unsweetened), twice per day (1/2 hour before breakfast and again before bed) with a full 8 oz. glass of water. I suggest grinding psyllium, as small seeds aggravate certain intestinal conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.
Some individuals find they experience, either, loose stools or constipation when they increase their fiber too quickly. If you are not accustomed to eating much fiber, increase fiber to your diet slowly and increase gradually to prevent this from occurring.
You cannot increase your fiber without also increasing your water intake. This would be a prescription for constipation. If you increase your water and continue to suffer from constipation, make sure your body is getting enough of the mineral Magnesium (500-1000 mg per day in divided doses) helps to draw moisture into the intestines to prevent dryness, which is a major cause of constipation.
Iron - Combined totals of 15-28 mg per day for men and 18-30 mg for women. The exception to this would be if you are post-menopausal or unable to metabolize Iron.
Spinach, red kidney beans, lima beans, prunes (and prune juice), pretzels, rice, red meat, pork, pumpkin seeds, blackstrap molasses, soybean nuts, raisins, chicken, fish, eggs, fortified cereal. Iron is not as easily available from cereals or beans. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of Iron.
Vitamin K - 80 mcg per day. (Not for those with bleeding problems.) Vitamin K can be found in green leafy vegetables, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower. A Vitamin K supplement derived from whole foods is best.
Magnesium – 500 mg per day. Magnesium and Calcium work synergistically. Magnesium must accompany Calcium in order for Calcium to be absorbed. Magnesium is absorbed independently. Calcium intake should equal at least one third to one half of the Magnesium dose. For example, along with 500 mg of Magnesium take 250 mg of Calcium.
Do not take more than 1000 mg of Magnesium without doctor permission, or if you have heart or kidney problems. Magnesium Citrate is usually sufficient. However, I suggest Magnesium Malate for individuals with Fibromyalgia or other muscle dis-ease. Magnesium Malate contains Malic Acid, which helps carry Magnesium into cells. Magnesium can make you sleepy, so taking it before bedtime is a good idea.
Brown rice, soybeans, shrimp, cashews, fortified cereals (bran or wheat), tomato paste, potatoes, white or sweet, baked, salmon, peanuts, cashew, brazil and pine nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, spinach, oatmeal, avocado, Brewer’s yeast, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, lemons, haddock, salmon, yogurt (organic only), bananas, navy and lima beans, broccoli, apples, apricots, wheat, orange juice (fortified), carob, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines (with bones), figs, prunes, oats (whole), asparagus, tofu, watercress, whey, ice cream (natural), mineral water, cheese (aged more than 30 days), parsnips.
Manganese - 15-30 mg per day. Wheat germ/bran, rolled oats, cereals, soy beans, rice, parsley, pulses, rye bread contain the highest amounts of Manganese Most Manganese supplements come in 50 mg doses. This is a little more than you need each day, but what is not used by your body will be eliminated.
Omega 3 Fish Oils – 1000 - 3000 mg per day.
Talk to your doctor if you wish to use more. If you already eat fish 2-3 times per week, there's no need to take fish oil supplements.
Do not take fish oil supplements if you have history of heart disease or diabetes. Just so you are aware, vegetarian formulas do not work as well for inflammation. The supplement shown above is combined with an antioxidant for extra cell protection.
Sodium (Salt) - Your body requires 1000 - 3500 mg of Sodium per day.
The list of foods below show how high the Sodium content is in common foods. However, this is not a list of healthy foods and the salt contained in these foods is not healthy salt.
The type of salt your body needs is natural sea salt, which contains the minerals your brain and body need.
Soy sauce (2 TB) - 2665 mg
Canned soups (per serving) - 400-1810 mg per serving
Dill pickles (1 Large) - 1930 mg
Cheese pizza (1 slice) - 455-490 mg
Chili con carne (1 cup) - 1355 mg
Green olives (5 large) - 465 mg
Frozen dinners (11 oz meal) - 1075-1225 mg
Pretzels (10) - 480 mg
Sausages (3 small) - 560-720 mg
Zinc - Take with food. Limit to a total of 15 - 50 mg of Zinc per day. Zinc is found in Chicken, Eggs (free range fed), Oysters, Red meat, Poultry, Dairy (organic milk and yogurt, aged cheese), Fortified cereals.
Amino Acids (Protein)
Amino acids (proteins) are the building blocks that are necessary for the body to rebuild itself and can be found in kale (over half protein!), chicken, eggs, Greek strained yogurt, lean steak, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, cottage cheese, lentils, artichoke, coconut, fresh fish, anchovies, poultry, quinoa, tofu, almonds, peanut butter (but, it's a herpes trigger), garbanzo beans, chic seeds, blue-green algae (Spirulina) and amino acid supplements.
Amino acid supplements are especially beneficial to those with muscle and joint pain. Should you decide to go with a supplement I suggest taking an amino acid complex, rather than individual acids. The only exception to this might be to take L-Tryptophan individually for help in boosting serotonin levels to relieve anxiety or depression.
Note: Before taking amino acid supplements, be sure to discuss this with your doctor if you are on medication or being treated for any condition.
Healthy daily amino acid dosages for adults are as follows:
L-Tryptophan - 100-150 mg
Arginine - 100-200 mg
N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) - 250-650 mg
Serine - 500-1000 mg
Betaine - 750 mg
Tyrosine - 500-1000 mg
Methionine - 100-300 mg
Taurine - 500-1000 mg
Inositol - 500-1000 mg
Theanine – 200 mg
Do Supplements Upset Your Tummy?
If supplements upset your tummy, be sure to take them with food unless the label states otherwise. Or, eat more of the foods that contain the nutrients you need (shown above). You might also try soft gel vitamins, rather than pill or capsule forms, which also help with swallowing.
For slightly annoying tummy problems, try ginger root tea. It can help within minutes. Ginger calms the stomach, helps with dizziness and is completely safe in recommended doses. You can make a ginger tea by grating about a teaspoon of ginger into the bottom of a cup. Fill the cup with nearly boiling (not boiling) water and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain and drink.
Mint teas are also great at reliving tummy upset. Catnip tea is mild and has many health benefits.
Note: You may not want to use mint teas or mint products if you have a history of acid reflux, as Peppermint can cause the sphincter muscle that normally holds the stomach closed to relax causing a greater chance of acid reflux. if so, Choose Ginger instead.
Photo Credits: Orange Slices by Ove Topfer, Fish (iStock.com #600302564 ~ Al rights reserved.)
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