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You Are What You Eat – Helpful Vitamins And Minerals

Woman with fruit basket and croissants

Today’s article will be a broad overview about minerals, vitamins and vitamin supplements with attached references. A significant theory of aging is that the process of oxidation leads to disease and death through a build up of free radicals which are the waste products created when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals accumulate also over time from environmental factors, like smoking, radiation, sun-exposure, food additives and stress. Antioxidants slow the cell damaging effect of free radicals to promote health. A good rule of thumb is to eat naturally colorful foods and to prepare/cook them so that they retain much of their color. Many of us do not have the time or inclination to choose our foods based solely on their vitamin content. If you were going on a trip and had to take vitamins…the following vitamins would be some of my top choices.

Omega 3 fatty acids aka Fish Oil

Essential for health and brain function but not found in the body. Found in fish and plant/nut oils. It is an anti-inflammatory which can help lower cholesterol levels. It can also slow the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques which in return can lower blood  pressure. Follow recommended dosages as high doses may cause increase risk for bleeding. Below is the link to a website that offers dosages.


A powerful antioxidant and provides the engine of your cells (the mitochondria) with needed fuel. It is important for heart health and neurological health. It is helpful in heart disease and high blood pressure control. The older we get the less we have of CoQ10 and the more we need this multifunctional vitamin. CoQ 10 is a safe supplement, so while it is not a substitute for traditional medicines, it is a complimentary supplement which may reduce your need for expensive prescription medications.

Alpha lipoic acid

Is a very powerful antioxidant found naturally inside every cell in the body and works well with vitamins C and E. The body uses this fatty acid to produce the energy needed for normal functions. It is found in spinach, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, and organ meats. It is useful in people with diabetes because it converts glucose into energy. Daily doses are 50 – 100 mg or higher depending on health needs.

Vitamin D

Known as the sunshine vitamin. Your body makes vitamin D if you get enough sun exposure. Skin complexions on either end of the spectrum… very pale or dark are at a higher risk for being vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency in children affects normal bone development and is called Rickets. Adults can experience muscle aches, bone pain, hair loss, osteoporosis and increased risk for cancers. Daily supplements should range between 800IU and 2,000 IU if your vitamin D level is normal. People who have low levels will need more until corrected. If you have a history of cancer, it would be important to make sure that your level is on the high end of normal.


An essential mineral for healing and health. Zinc deficiency is often linked with vit D deficiency. It is estimated that 25% of the world population is at risk for being zinc deficient. Acne, painful periods and a low sex drive can be associated with low
zinc levels. Too much zinc is rare, but if your dog swallows a penny minted after 1982 (97.5% zinc) it could prove to be fatal! Zinc is found in oysters and almonds and pumpkin seed.

If you are anticipating surgery, you should adjust your vitamin regimen to optimize your recovery and to assist your body with the stresses of surgery and healing. These include vit A, arnica, vitamin B complex, bromelain, vit C, copper, selenium and zinc. Vitamins you want to avoid before surgery are ones that can be helpful at other times, including vit E, fish oil, and many supplements starting with a G like garlic, ginseng ginkgo, and ginger. Here is a little rhyme “After surgery, vitamins AB&C’s help you heal fas… E, F & G’s could make the pain last” While some supplements can reduce or eliminate your need for prescription drugs, other supplements can literally kill you because they are toxic or interfere with other medications.

Let your doctor know what supplements you are taking especially if you have a newly diagnosed condition or are considering surgery.

Eat your veggies and some fish, get a little sun and if you are pale or dark skinned then get your vit D level checked. When you can not eat what you need, then take a vitamin supplement to optimize your health. Make sure that your doctor has an updated list of your supplements and finally…. Enjoy life!

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