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Vitamin Supplements

  1. Where can I find a dietitian who is smart about vitamin supplements? Answer
  2. What vitamins do you recommend that will give me a boost of energy? Answer
  3. What supplements would you recommend to promote wound healing and minize scarring? Answer
  4. Please tell me how these terms relate to vitamins and minerals? Answer
  5. Have you had an opportunity to check out Ideal Health? Answer
  6. I have been discussing with doctors this issue of the vitamins. What you say makes a lot of sense i.e. making expensive urine. Answer
  7. Are multivitamins helpful or harmful? Answer
  8. I'd like to know what multivitamin cotains the highest content of vitamin A, D, E, and K? Answer
  9. Is it advisable for non-pregnant adults to take pre-natal vitamin pills? Answer

  10. Please post the conversion factor between an international unit of a viatmin and its metric equivalent. Answer
  11. What ingredients should I look for in a multivitamin? Answer

Where can I find a dietitian who is smart about vitamin supplements?

The Nutrition in Complementary Care dietetic practice group of the American Dietetic Association has an interest in the role of alternative herbal, vitamin and mineral therapies in improving health and preventing disease. Their Find a Comp Care Nutritionist feature will help you locate a dietitian in your state. You can also find a dietitian at the American Dietetic Association. Include your zip code or city / state and the type of service you want (individual consultation) with expertise in alternative nutrition.

What vitamins do you recommend that will give me a boost of energy during working hours?

If you want energy and to stay awake, eat more meat, fish or poultry than carbohydrates at breakfast and lunch. If you want to fall asleep, eat more carbohydrates at dinner. Also, don't eat too much food at one time as that can also make you sleepy (for instance > 500 calories at a meal). Blood pools in your stomach / intestinal area after eating so that your body can pick up the calories and nutrients from the food you ate. Perhaps if you ate more smaller meals, you would feel more energetic and awake.

Exercise is great to wake a person up. Is there some place at work where you could walk for 15 - 30 minutes during the day like climbing stairs or walking outside? You don't need to break a sweat, just get up and move.

Thiamine, riboflavin and niacin are necessary vitamins to convert food to the energy fuel your body runs on. Read my topics on these nutrients for more info. If you don't eat a variety of foods like meat, starches, vegetables, fruits and dairy, then perhaps a one a day vitamin with 100% of the RDA for all vitamins and minerals might make sense. As a male, make sure you are not taking iron supplements though as a high blood hemoglobin has been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks in adult men.

What supplements / therapies would you recommend to promote wound healing and minimize scarring for my 6 year old daughter (50 pounds). She has two 1 to 1.5 centimeter wounds on the bridge of her nose near her eye from a dog scratch. The plastic surgeon used 40 stitches to close them. Thank you.

I am sorry to hear about a dog attacking your daughter.

I would recommend you contact her plastic surgeon and ask their advice before trying any home remedy. There are over the counter scar medications so ask which he / she recommends. Go soon before scar tissue has a chance to develop which started at the time healing started. I do know that scars will spread as the skin stretches due to growth.

Zinc and vitamin E can help wound healing, but not necessarily scaring. You can apply drops of vitamin E from a gel capsule right on a scar. Please be careful not to get vitamin E directly in your daughter's eyes as it is oil. Your eyes don't like oil. Eyes prefer a mild saline solution.

I am the exercise physiologist for Westinghouse Energy Center. I received this question via e-mail. I was wondering what your explanation would be?

Please tell me how these terms relate to vitamins and minerals?
  • oxide
  • chelated
  • malate
  • aspartate
  • ascorbate
  • citrate
  • lactate
  • colloidal

I realize that the minerals are chelated or oxidized for the purpose of absorption, but is there a simple explanation for how these descriptions are related to vitamins and minerals? Thanks for your time.

Your list is a mix of compound types as well as compound names. Because it is a mixed bag of chemical terms, I have a mix of definitions, mostly scientific. Sorry, but there is no simple explanation. If a person wanted a specific nutrient supplement, the label on the supplement should tell how much of the nutrient is in one pill based on a percent of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance). For instance, there is calcium citrate and calcium lactate.

Mineral supplements can come in various compounds, some forms more absorbable than others and it depends on the mineral which form is more absorbable. Absorption also depends on the age and medical condition of the person and if a deficiency exists. It would be best to look up the specific chemical name for a vitamin or mineral to determine absorption for that particular supplement. Here is a brief explanation of these vitamin or mineral compounds with use.

oxide examples: ferric (iron) aka rust which is not absorbed as well as ferrous (non-oxidized iron); Vitamin C, E, selenium and zinc are superoxides which scavange free radicals that cause possible damage to cells, free radicals are often thought of as causing cancer; milk of magnesia is magnesium hydroxide.

chelated binds with a mineral to form an insoluble compound.

malate salt of malic acid found in plant juices, example: calcium citrate malate in calcium supplements

aspartate salt of aspartic acid which is an amino acid

ascorbate salt of ascorbic acid aka vitamin C

citrate salt of citric acid, decreases thiamine (vitamin B1) effect, examples: calcium citrate in calcium supplements; ferric ammonium citrate in iron supplements; magnesium citrate in laxatives; potassium citrate in potassium supplements; sodium citrate used to induce vomiting or to increase the excretion of calcium or lead

lactate salt of lactic acid examples: calcium lactate in calcium supplements for pregnant women; sodium lactate used as an antacid

colloidal particles dispersed in a solution, but not dissolved which are incapable of passing through a semi-permeable membrane like the intestines.

FYI, I have previously performed a search of the medical literature and could not find one article on colloidal minerals or their estimated absorption.

Have you had an opportunity to check out Ideal Health? Also, feel free to contact me via this email account. I look forward to hearing from you.

Boy and I thought I had read everything!

First any company that sells supplements is usually not a provider of accurate nutrition info. Typically these companies want to conclude you are deficient in many nutrients so they can sell you their supplements. Surprise, no one tested is getting 100% of every nutrient they need. Amazing that the human race made it to the 21st century without supplements!

Second, what can their metabolic lab tell from your urine? There are very few labs in the country that test urine for nutrients. So does this company decide to supplement a person just because it does or doesn't show up in the person's urine? Your body excretes excess vitamins and minerals in your urine as well as waste products, but what is excreted changes on a day to day basis. The urine specimen people send in would only be a snapshot in time which could be very different on the following day. Also, unless you have normal functioning kidneys or are a diabetic in good control, you may have protein or sugar in your urine.

Third, what is a nutritional PhD? Never heard that one before.

Lastly, if a physician suspects a nutritional deficiency of a vitamin or mineral, they just prescribe several times the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for that particular vitamin or mineral until the symptoms go away. Then hopefully the patient talks to a Registered Dietitian to find out how to get the nutrients they need from food, not pills. There is nothing natural about pills and the human body sends 90% of pills down the toilet!

I would recommend you take a basic nutrition class at your university. Then critically decide if you should continue selling supplements. BTW, I didn't bother going past your home page once I saw that you were selling supplements.

I have been discussing with doctors this issue of the vitamins, but none could give me that convincing explanation and advice as you did. What you say make lot of sense i.e. making expensive urine. Thanks a lot.

The reason I said you would make expensive urine is your body absorbs about 15% from a vitamin supplement, assuming you don't have a deficiency for a particular nutrient. The rest is excreted in your urine.

Are multivitamins helpful or harmful?

Depends on whether or not your diet contains enough food and variety to supply all the nutrients your body needs.

If you eat more than 1600 calories and a variety of food, you may be wasting your money and making some very expensive urine. Though, taking one multivitamin per day that has 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamins and minerals will not hurt you.

If you are consuming less than 1600 calories per day, you are not getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. In that case, I would suggest you take a multivitamin that has 100% of the RDA for all vitamins and minerals.

I'd like to know what multivitamin contains the highest content of vitamin A, D, E, K. I would like to know where I could find this multivitamin.

I cannot recommend one specific brand. In the US, multivitamins usually contain only 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Usually only 17 nutrients (protein, vitamin A, D, E, C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folacin (folic acid), B12, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine and selenium) plus some other nutrients are included. Vitamin K (involved in blood clotting) is only available by prescription because of toxicity.

To get higher dosages (greater than 100%) of vitamins or minerals, you would have to purchase each separately. Some, including Vitamin A (max. 25,000 IU), are limited to the dosage you can purchase over the counter without a prescription.

Your body prefers to extract the vitamins and minerals from whole foods and excretes excess vitamins and minerals from supplements via in urine or feces. Remember how you use nutrients is based on genes that are thousands of years old and depended on food, not pills. There is however research to support higher than normal intakes of some vitamins or minerals for specific disease prevention or treatment.

Is it advisable for non-pregnant adults (female and male) to take pre-natal vitamin pills?

Pre-natal vitamins contain nutrients at levels recommended for pregnant women. Increased amounts of folacin (folic acid), iron, calcium and vitamin C (improves iron and calcium absorption) can be present. Folic acid has been found to reduce neural tube defects (spina bifida) in newborns and is extremely important prior to becoming pregnant.

Non-pregnant adults may take pre-natal vitamins. However if needed, a daily multivitamin that has 100% the adult Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) would be more appropriate.

Please post the conversion factor between an international unit of a vitamin and its metric equivalent. i.e. how many IU = X milligrams or micrograms?

An international unit of a vitamin varies. I use the following table from "Food Chemistry and Nutritional Biochemistry by Zapsalis and Beck.

Vitamin A, 1 IU retinol = 0.300 - 0.344 micrograms
Vitamin A, 1 IU beta carotene = 0.600 micrograms
Vitamin E, 1 IU tocopherol = 1.5 milligram

For beta carotene, I have calculated the following conversion for 25,000 IU of beta carotene = 15,000 micrograms.

I take a multivitamin every day. I figure it balances out what I don't eat right in my diet. What ingredients should I look for in a multivitamin?

If the multivitamin has only 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for each nutrient in the supplement, it probably won't hurt you. There are RDA's for protein, vitamin A, D, E, K, C, B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folacin (folic acid), calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine and selenium. The bottle label should give you the measured amount of each nutrient in each pill and what percent each pill contributes to your RDA.

Your body can absorb around 10 to 15% of the nutrients in a vitamin pill. The rest goes down the toilet as urine. So for every $10.00 you spend on supplements, you could be flushing $8.50 down the toilet. Your money would be better spent on food. The human body prefers to take a food, break it down and take the nutrients it needs. Remember that you are dealing with a cave person's body. I think you are depending too heavily on the supplement and not giving enough credit to the nutrients in your food.

A vitamin is like an enzyme or catalyst. It assists in a chemical reaction. By themselves, they will help prevent a nutritional deficiency and in persons on very low calorie diets (less than 1200 calories per day), vitamin supplements provide missing nutrients. Vitamins though are not enough. You need protein, fat and carbohydrate to build and maintain the human body. If you focus on eating a variety of foods, your requirements of vitamins and minerals will probably be met. Unless your doctor has recommended a specific vitamin for a health problem you have, you may be wasting your money on supplements.

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