What Daily Supplements Do You Need for Optimal Health?



The new RDAs set for vitamin D had me thinking. In some ways medicine seems so advanced. And in other ways, we are in the beginning stages of figuring out the big picture and there are so many little components that haven’t been completely accounted for.


Nothing works in isolation in our body, which makes identifying all of the things one antioxidant or nutrient does and is responsible for difficult. And, though all Nissian Maximas built in the same year may look the same to a mechanic, you look nothing like the other males or females who are your same age (on the inside or the outside; unless of course, you have a twin).


Making things more complicated, the math is fuzzy at best. 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2 and sometimes we can’t even accurately add up the numbers on each side of this equation (how do you know your total vitamin D intake? Did you add it up based on what you ate today? How did you account for sun exposure and how much vitamin D you produced through this exposure?)


It All Depends On Interpretation

All of these factors make interpreting scientific studies in easy to understand terms for the masses, skewed at best. And therefore, any dietary guidelines that are given to an entire country, should be taken as just that, a general guideline. 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; you need to sit down with a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in your specific area of need or goal and let that RD take a comprehensive assessment of where you are, what you need and where you can improve. 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.


Each Individual’s Needs are Unique

I understand all the angst for or against certain supplements or recommended intakes of specific supplements but, there is no one dietary recommendation that will ever fit all people. Therefore, you should take any recommendation as just that – a broad recommendation for all. And, if you think you are an outlier to the masses, talk to your physician or dietitian. I assure you, you aren’t alone. As a dietitian, I don’t follow some of the diet recommendations put forth by our government because I know the research and I know what my needs are.


After all, I’m going to do what’s best for me, and so should you.