In some ways medicine seems so advanced. In other ways, medical science is still in the beginning stages of discovering the big picture of how our body uses nutrients and how they all interact in our bodies. There are so many little components and processes that haven’t been completely explored, and many that cannot be directly observed.
Nothing works in isolation in our body. Identifying all of the processes one antioxidant or nutrient is part of or responsible for is an incredibly difficult task. Add to that the physiological differences in every unique human body and we are left making healthy decisions using general guidelines and recommendations rather than hard numbers.
To figure out what levels of any nutrient, dietary supplement or food may be best for you given your health status, activity level, current dietary intake and goals, it is important to sit down with a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in your area of need or type of goal. If you want to lose weight, go to someone who specializes in this, if you have Type 1 diabetes and you are an athlete, go to a RD who works with diabetic athletes. There really is no substitute for a thorough analysis, including laboratory tests of existing nutrient levels that can then be integrated into a specific diet and supplement plan to get you on the right track to a balanced, nutrient-rich body.
Following the general guidelines is a good place to start, if you don’t feel a full nutrient-by-nutrient workup is in order. Recommended Daily Intake values for common vitamins and minerals are in most retail brands. Be sure to check the brand out thoroughly though, so you know you’ve picked a quality brand that uses quality ingredients.
As always, the type of supplement you choose should depend on personal preference and compliance – what will you continue to take on a regular basis. Because, after all, if you don’t continue taking it regularly, there’s really no point in buying it to begin with! If you are tired of swallowing yet another pill, try taking liquid supplements instead. It does make taking your essential supplements each day a little easier, and the quality of ingredients tends to be higher grade in order to make them work well in liquid form. Plus, they’re easy to mix into protein shakes, morning smoothies, or to take as a straight shot!