Vitamins are crucial for health and body function. Some of us get a good portion of our vitamins from the food we eat, however, most of us eating the Standard American Diet are lacking vital foods, nutrients, and minerals. It always tickles me the acronym for this poor diet is ‘S.A.D.’ On a less amusing note however, Americans are eating 3,600 calories a day on average - more than a 24% increase since 1961. Yet, both children and adults see high rates of vitamin deficiency. (1, 2) The most prevalent deficiencies in intake are vitamin D, vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium. (3)
It’s clear we are nutritionally deficient. Two important steps can help this problem:
But with all the products on the market, how do you know which ones are the best?
Bioavailability is defined as the fraction of a given dose of unchanged nutrient that reaches the systemic circulation. For dietary supplements, herbs, and other nutrients in oral administration it is the proportion of the substance capable of being absorbed and available for cellular uptake, use, or storage. (4) There is some debate about bioavailable forms of vitamins and there are many factors including the format of the vitamin administered, dosage, when the vitamin is released, what other vitamins are present, etc. (4) But we do know that some forms are better than others.
Most Americans aren’t getting enough Vitam D. For example, a 2014 report from EWG states that 95% of adults and 98% of teen girls. (3) Your skin makes vitamin D3 when it is exposed to sunlight. UV-B sunlight triggers the formation of cholesterol which is then converted to D3 by skin’s temperature. D3 must then travel to the liver and be converted into an active form of vitamin D. Most Americans are deficient because they aren’t exposed to enough sunlight to make D3 in the skin. (5)
D3 is made available through sun exposure or through diet while vitamin D2, the form that most people usually take and is usually prescribed, is only available through diet. Most American diets are deficient in D2 or D3, and it is compounded because they don’t get enough sunlight to make vitamin D. (5) Both forms still need to be converted, but studies have found that D3 is more potent than D2. (6)
Vitamin D is crucial for bone and teeth development, calcium and phosphorus absorption, mood regulation, and normal immune function. (5, 7)
In the same 2014 study, it was noted that 61% of adults and 90% of teen girls don’t get enough magnesium. (3) There are many forms of magnesium supplements, and some are more bioavailable than others: magnesium fumarate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium gluconate. (8) Megan Ware, RDN, LD, registered dietitian nutritionist says, “An adequate intake of magnesium can help prevent problems with bones, the cardiovascular system, diabetes, and other functions.” (9)
The EWG study also found 15% of American adults had insufficient vitamin B6 intake. (3) Most supplements contain pyridoxine hydrochloride, which is converted into active coenzyme forms. Pyridoxine hydrochloride in a supplement is absorbed in a similar way from what is found in food, and it doesn’t differ between much between different supplements. The body absorbs large doses of B6 as well, but eliminates it quickly through urine. B6 is crucial for enzyme reactions in the body, immune function, cognitive function, and amino acid metabolism. (10)
There are many factors for poor vitamin intake and micronutrient deficiencies found in the American diet. Vitamins and minerals are crucial to preventing disease and illness. The best way to increase your intake is to:
I don’t often align myself with products but this is one that I just had to share! My name is Michelle Toole and I
Some of you may already know, years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
I can still recall what it felt like to have my life change overnight…
I went from an Executive Director of a non-profit organization, running marathons, rock climbing, hiking canyons and kayaking to being completely bedridden and staring at a wall for 15 hours a day.
Of course, I went to see many doctors but unfortunately I didn’t find the help I needed. So, I had to set off on my own journey to learn my true path to healing.
I’d pretty much turned-over every rock trying to find relief for my pain, sleep issues and a myriad of other symptoms…
Fast-forward 18 years.
I was determined to climb one of the true wonders of the natural world, Machu Picchu, the mystical home of the Incas in Peru.
It was there, after a grueling day when my feet, knees, legs, and lower back hurt so bad, that I thought I would have to abandon hopes of our next climb which was Rainbow Mountain! That night I pulled out a little spray bottle of “aceite de magnesio” that a friend had given me before I left on my trip.
What the heck, I thought. I was desperate. And I applied it all over my body before bed.
Because of the grueling day, I woke up expecting to be immobilized, but instead we were off to climb Rainbow Mountain and…I was totally pain-free!
I know it sounds impossible, but it’s 1000% the truth.