So I've been primal for 2 years this coming Monday and now that I've got the eating down to a science, I'm ready to begin dabbling in vitamins and/or supplements. So my question is...where do I start? Which vitamins do I need to be taking everyday? Are probiotics a must? I've heard that multivitamins are not a good idea. Is this true? Any information would be appreciated!
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asked byBrittany_Nicole (10)
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on September 18, 2013
at 05:00 PM
I like the idea of supplementing as part of a balanced plan toward optimal health (+ an organic paleo diet and frequent exercise.) When adding a supplement, I think it's obviously pretty important to not make your health less than optimal.. and this is probably more tricky than it should be. It's highly individualized and the dose makes the poison. Approach with care / caution.
For each supplement, I would recommend researching as much as you can on it. Pubmed each and every one, read all the forum posts you can, pros/cons. You'll want to know where it naturally comes from, side effects / how much it takes to overdose, how much you're currently getting, different amounts you can try supplementing with, alternate forms and the research there, current opinions on it and reasons for supplementing, cofactors and related nutrients, etc.
With things like vitamin D, you can blood test for 25(OH)D, confirm that your body could use more, then supplement until the numbers are right (Although, you still have to decide what 'right' means to you.. is it 30ng/ml or 50ng/ml, or higher? You'd have to decide if you want D2 or D3 taken at a high dose infrequently or a lower dosage frequently. Also, whether to eat it early in the day as it's a sunlight hormone, or with a fatty meal for better absorption.) I'd start there. The research on D3 supplementation is fun to read, as most people seem to be somewhat deficient by default, and adding more (especially in the winter time) seems to make you healthier.
With things like "B vitamins" it becomes a little more tricky, but still somewhat straight forward. If you're looking for optimal supplementing, you'll end up reading about methylation pathways and genetics. For some, myself included, the typical version of folic acid does more harm than good. I take l-methylfolate instead with a methylated b12. This bit of info took DNA genotyping to figure out. B6 is an interesting one. You'll usually see pyridoxine hcl. I'd rather go p5p, though, most will already have enough of this in circulation from food.
I like magnesium, but, most of the time you're going to end up with a grip of Mg oxide. This isn't very bioavailable and works as a laxative. Rather, you might want to look into Chelated Mg or other forms. It's common to see things like "Titanium oxide" in your supplements, food dyes, or straight up gluten and soybean oil. You'll probably want to research those and limit them.
K2 is another good one most people could probably use a little more of. (Check out Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox.)
Vitamin C climbs to the top of my supplementation list anytime I'm not feeling 100%. During times of a cold or virus, I can take upwards of 10g+ ascorbic acid spread throughout the day, and it really seems to help. (Although, most of the time, I don't take any, as I get enough from food.) Few other vitamins have this safety profile.
Niacin, by contrast, I just started experimenting with. It's immediately clear how someone could get into trouble with this one, just past 50mg. I'll probably stop supplementing with it soon.
For the fermentation, I have mixed feelings. It's cool to be able to take a patented organism with published research papers. Although, I think I prefer in most cases to culture a wild variety myself. Check out The Art of Fermentation or Wild Fermentation. Or, just buy a bag of kefir grains. (Then begin your research on the LAB strains present and the nutrients they require to thrive.. I feed mine spring water and high-nutrient organic coconut palm sugar.)
It's a process.
on September 18, 2013
at 03:40 PM
Supplementation vs. eating varied assortment of good nutritious food. I don't think you can replicate nature by swallowing a pill. Vitamin manufacturers can't include all the elements that you find in your Broccoli so the absorption or utilization is not going to be the same. I'd consider taking a blood test vitamin panel if you need to know and then increase the foods needed to bring you closer to what they consider optimum levels, although I don't believe they truly know what they are. Skeptic I am.
on September 17, 2013
at 11:02 PM
multivitamins tend not to be ideal because usually they dont include ideal amounts, they limit some vitamins for size/cost reasons. they also tend to put in "bad" forms of vitamins, Zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, cyanocobalamin, beta carotene... im sure the list could go on, which will limit bioavailability at best and at worst may be linked to some scarry studies. a good multivitamin will have good forms/ and formulated to a relatively good standard (probably not rda) and will come with multiple pills.
as far as which supplements are optimal, its very very very individualized... there is no one size fits all... because not everyone eats the same things or has the same physiology. what you may want to do is go over to cronometer.com and throw in what you usually eat and see which vitamins come up short then proceed to supplement the ones youre not getting enough of... in general people tend to be short on D,A,K2,C,B's,Magnesium,Potassium,Iodine,Selenium,Zinc,Copper,maybe E?(not sure if this one is even wise to supplement /w deficiency)
edit: i tend to see probiotics used as a temporary supplement to repair the gut, not as an everyday forever type of thing, also i forgot omega 3 on the list above... might just want to eat fish/limted o6 vs supplementing.
TL: DR - supplement for you, not off a standard + get good forms of vitamins.
on September 17, 2013
at 10:13 PM
Website has lots of info on why to supplement what. Concept is to supplement just enough to make sure your intake is optimum.