These basic, necessary nutrients are much more powerful than you think!

by Stefan Angheli


VitaMin Encyclopedia explained

If your one of those thinking, "What the heck are vitamin and minerals going to do for my goals of getting results?". I urge you to stick around. What you will discover will pleasantly surprise even the harshest of critics. You'll soon discover that these most powerful groups of substances are indeed that: POWERFUL!

Traditionally, it was observed that vitamin and minerals were needed to ward of certain deficiency diseases such as scurvy (with Vit C), rickets (with Vit D) and beriberi (with thiamin). Unfortunately this mentality has prevailed in our society. Since these diseases are no longer of concern to us, people have dismissed their importance and effectiveness. Many people still have the perception that vitamin and minerals are the "weakest" and least effective supplements in health shops. They obviously do not realize their absolute necessity in the body.

It's unfortunate that most fitness enthusiasts try creatine, protein powders and the latest fat burner before they buy a good vitamin and mineral supplement. A great multivitamin and mineral can do more for you than any other supplement. This is because these nutrients are absolutely necessary so that certain biological reactions can take place.

Action and Powerful functions

Without a B vitamin for example one cannot produce energy no matter how much carbohydrate and creatine you ingest. Without adequate zinc, testosterone production is impaired. So just one nutrient could be the deciding factor in your quest to achieve results. And this nutrient almost never is; creatine, fat burners and other hyped up supplements.

Just recently a supplement composed of zinc, magnesium and B6 (being marketed as ZMA) is making a big splash. It was shown to improve testosterone levels and strength levels in previously trained athletes. Not in beginners who can improve initially in anything, but in actually trained athletes. I think that's remarkable.

Another example is chromium, which has been shown to help reduce bodyfat and improve muscle gain in overweight individuals. These are scientific findings not just gym hearsay and manufacturer promises. Take this very seriously; a vitamin and mineral combination can do more for you and your health than other high priced chemicals.
Recommended Dose

Mounting scientific evidence is constantly proving that optimal doses of vitamins and minerals can improve the state of your health and greatly decreasing your chances of developing diseases and disorders that were once unavoidable. Despite this most doctors and dieticians will tell you that you don't need to supplement with extra vitamins and minerals. They still maintain that you can get everything you need from a balanced diet. While this may be true if you've got a full time chef and an organic farm project, there are doses of some nutrients that are impractical to consume through food.

For example, Vitamin E has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of a heart attack in men and women that consume at least 100 IU of this vitamin for at least 2.5 years. This means that you need to ingest around 212 apricots or 18 cups of walnuts or 22 table spoons of oil and vinegar dressing or a combination of these and similar foods. It's obvious that you'll never achieve this through your diet alone.

Hard training individuals should be aware of the fact that they are in greater need of vitamins and minerals. Which of course makes perfect sense. Hard training individuals use more energy, do more muscular damage and are more susceptible to depressed immune systems. Hey, I'm not trying to discourage you, just opening your awareness.

That's why the Australian Institute of Sport has a vitamin and mineral program, do you? They know that a scientific study looking at cyclists and muscle damage reported Vitamin E supplements indeed helped recovery. They know that Zinc is an essential nutrient for healthy immune system. I think it's time you did.

Yet some experts are still preaching the same thing they were taught when they were in school. Vitamins and minerals are amongst the least popular prescriptions and the answer lies in drugs. This is despite the fact that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for some nutrients has been increased over the years. For example the RDA for folic acid was increased from 180 to 400 micrograms and right up until this increase, experts insisted 180 micrograms was enough. Unfortunately some babies may have been born with spina bifida because these experts were reluctant to change and recognize what the research was showing.

Calcium guidelines were also increased to as high as 1500 milligrams for some women to avoid osteoporosis. This increase was authorized by the same panel that in the mid-1990s told us that 1000 milligrams was enough. Vitamin D was another that was recently increased in several population groups such as the elderly and those that are confined indoors. It wasn't that long ago that these experts urged us that the RDA was ample to achieve optimum health. Now I'm not so sure.
Optimal Dosages

Clearly there are some nutrients that can be of benefit in slightly higher doses. However also be aware that there are some that can be detrimental and toxic at higher dosages. These are iron, preformed vitamin A and B6, which can cause serious side effects and even permanent physical damage. So much for vitamin and mineral being weak, hey?

Recently here in Australia an astonishing finding proved that women were not getting enough of 3 essential nutrients. It was found that 76% of women were not getting enough calcium, 95% were not getting enough zinc and 91% were not getting enough fibers. What was even more astonishing was that dieticians and doctors still did not recommend the use of supplements but instead urged women to eat more foods containing these nutrients.
In today's busy lifestyle when eating on the run is common, where soil minerals are depleted and pesticides are proving ineffective, vitamin and mineral supplements do have their place.

However, you must be able to differentiate between nutrient supplements and nutrient substitutes. Nutrient supplements must be used to complement an already good diet. Just because you take a multivitamin and mineral, yet you continue to eat a diet high in fat and sugar, continue to smoke and eat little fiber, don't be fooled into thinking that you're one step closer to peak health. Maybe half a best!

Food Sources

In terms of bioavailability, (how well the body absorbs and uses the nutrient) vitamins and minerals are clearly at their best when they come from natural food sources. This is especially true of fruits and vegetables. It's no secret or wonder that vitamins from food sources are better absorbed and utilized compared to supplements but you do have to look for them. Actively seek them out in the food you eat and make sure you eat a wide range of foods. This basically covers all your bases and makes deficiency a smaller issue thereby dramatically improving health.

Undoubtedly, the best sources of vitamin and minerals come from fruits, vegetables and grains (wholemeal grains ...not your white flour/biscuit type). That's why these are at the top of the food pyramid. It's no coincidence.

Use vitamin and mineral supplements to complement an already healthy diet and ensure you get the most out of your training. Before using other marketing promises, wonder supplements and prescription pills, what you may need are natural substances that help the body help itself. Because one thing science has learned is that the body always heals itself but you must give it what it needs. Science has proven that our body indeed NEEDS these nutrients. It is through these nutrients that all other bigger things are possible. Without them, nothing is possible.

Whether the body needs creatine or whey protein for muscle growth is debatable, whether the body needs B Vitamins for energy production is an absurd question. Vitamin and minerals are the first things you should look at when looking to improve your performance.

Whether your goal is to feel younger, get stronger, recover better, build muscle or lose body-fat, vitamins and minerals will do all that and much more.
Big call to make? I don't think so.
Vitamin and minerals really deliver.
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