Vitamins and Minerals

Optimal health and wellness is dependent on adequate intake of macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and vitamins and minerals. Plant-based foods, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, are prominent features of a healthy diet. In addition to providing energy and essential micronutrients, plant-based foods contribute thousands of biologically active plant chemicals (phytochemicals) to the human diet.

Vitamins

  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Biotin (vitamin B7)
  • Choline
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium (Chloride)
  • Zinc
Other Nutrients

Other nutrients important to human health include choline, essential fatty acids, and dietary fiber.

  • Choline
  • Essential Fatty Acids (e.g., EPA and DHA)
  • Fiber
  • L-Carnitine
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Lipoic Acid
  • Phytochemicals
Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are bioactive compounds found in plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains) believed to reduce risk of certain chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. More than 5,000 phytochemicals have been discovered, with an equally large percentage waiting to be identified.

  • Carotenoids
  • Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin
  • Curcumin
  • Fiber
  • Flavonoids
  • Garlic
  • Indole-3-Carbinol
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Lignans
  • Phytosterols
  • Resveratrol
  • Soy Isoflavones

General Micronutrient Tips

Given the health complications associated with micronutrient deficiencies, quality of the modern Western diet (intake of ultra-processed foods), and cost of fresh fruits and vegetables, taking a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement that provides 100% of the RDA for most micronutrients is a sensible public health recommendation.

  • Adopt a plant-based diet with an emphasis on a variety of different plant-based foods.
  • Consume at least 5 to 6 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Consume foods high in the fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., vitamins A, D, E, K, and the carotenoids) with a source of dietary fat and protein (e.g., peanut butter).
  • No multivitamin/mineral supplement provides 100% of the daily value for magnesium, calcium, or the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA (these compounds are far too large to fit into a supplement with other vitamins and minerals). However, combined calcium/magnesium/vitamin D supplements are available.
  • In general, men and postmenopausal women should opt for a dietary supplement free of iron unless he/she has a history of iron deficiency anemia.
  • Choose a supplement that does not exceed 2500 IU of vitamin A. Ideally, opt for a product that supplies vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. If unavailable, look for a product that supplies at least 50 percent as beta-carotene.
  • Avoid high-dose supplements. In general, supplements that exceed 100% of the RDA for most nutrients are not recommended due to risk of adverse health effects (e.g., toxicity). Exceptions to this rule include vitamin D — daily intakes that exceed the RDA for vitamin D (2,000 – 10,000 IU per day) are considered safe.
  • All populations should ensure adequate vitamin D status via regular exposure to the sun and/or use of a dietary supplement.
  • Vegans/Vegetarians: Take a vitamin B12 supplement.
  • Individuals who do not regularly consume fatty fish should consider taking 1,000-2,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA (omega 3 fatty acids) several times per week. If you are prone to bleeding or take an anticoagulant, consult your physician first.
  • Limit intake of carbonated beverages and alcohol.
  • Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: Take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement with 100% of the RDA for most nutrients including iodine and vitamin B9.

Supplement Recommendations

Back by popular demand – supplement recommendations. Products mentioned do not equal an official endorsement. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

In other words, when you purchase an item sold on Amazon through one of our affiliate links, it helps pay for the services we provide on our Website (e.g., free nutrition and fitness information and inspiration and cost of maintaining this Website). The price you pay to Amazon is the same whether you purchase it through an Affiliate or not. I’ll add more product links soon.

Thank you for your continued support.
Big hugs and rebel love,
Dana

Daily Multivitamin

Keep in mind, no daily multivitamin/mineral supplement provides 100% of the daily value for magnesium, calcium, or the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA (these compounds are far too large to fit into a supplement with other vitamins and minerals).

Thyroid Health – Great for Vegans

Ignore the label. I really like this product because it contains nutrients that may be lacking in vegan diets (e.g., vitamin B12, iodine, zinc, and copper). Keep in mind, multivitamin/mineral supplement provides 100% of the daily value for magnesium, calcium, or the omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA (these molecules are too large to fit in multivitamin supplements).

Omega 3 (EPA and DHA)

Most “omega 3” supplements sold over-the-counter are inadequate in EPA and DHA. Look for a product with at least 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per serving (usually 2 soft gels).

Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) – Vegetarian

Most “omega 3” supplements sold over-the-counter are inadequate in EPA and DHA. Look for a product with at least 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per serving (usually 2 soft gels).

Magnesium Citrate/Glycinate

Look for a product that provides at least 200 mg of elemental magnesium per serving (usually 2 tablets) in the form of citrate, glycinate, or lysinate. Avoid products that include magnesium oxide as it is poorly absorbed and often causes diarrhea. Magnesium oxide is the primary ingredient in laxatives.

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) – 10,000 IU

Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) – 1,000 IU (Vegetarian)

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) –  50,000 IU (Very High Potency)

Vitamin B12 (Methylocobalamin) – 5,000 mcg (High Potency)

This supplement would be taken once or twice per month. Daily requirements for B12 are less than 5 mcg per day.

Iodine (325 mcg)

Iodine/Potassium Iodide – 12.5 mg (Very High Potency)

Iron (Ferrous Fumarate) – 106 mg (High Potency)

This product contains ingredients derived from GMOs. I am including it because it is an inexpensive product that delivers a potent form of iron that is generally tolerated well.

Iron – 25 mg (Vegetarian)

Magnesium

Vitamin K2 – 5 mg (High Potency)

Vitamin K (MK-4) 45 mg (Very High Potency)

Probiotics (High Potency)

VSL-3 is the best probiotic on the market (it is a medical product backed by scientific research and contains the highest available concentration of beneficial bacteria on the market (112.5 billion live bacteria per capsule). I purchase it.

Learn More

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Posters and Charts

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References:

Mueller CM, ed. The A.S.P.E.N. Adult Nutrition Support Core Curriculum, 2nd ed. American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Silver Spring, MD. 2012:284-297.

Gottschlich MM, ed. The A.S.P.E.N. Nutrition Support Core Curriculum: A Case-Based Approach-The Adult Patient, 2nd ed. Silver Spring, MD: A.S.P.E.N., 2007:323-339

Corkins MR, Balint J, Bobo E, Plogsted S, Yaworski JA. The A.S.P.E.N Pediatric Nutrition
Support Core Curriculum. 2010.

Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic

WHO. Guideline: Fortification of Food-Grade Salt with Iodine for the Prevention and Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2014

Zimmermann MB and Boelaert K. Iodine deficiency and thyroid disorders. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2015; 3: 286–95

Fairfield KM, Fletcher RH. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: scientific review. JAMA. 2002;287(23):3116-3126.

Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: clinical applications. JAMA. 2002;287(23):3127-3129.

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