By Dr. Myatt
Getting a full complement of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals — all the "essential" nutrients — from food alone is tough for a number of reasons.
First, many people don’t consistently eat a well-balanced, highly nutritious diet. "On again, off again" healthy eating does not provide the same caliber and quantity of nutrients as a true daily fare of good foods. See our recent article about how small choices add up to have big effects.
Secondly, many foods today are not what they were even ten or twenty years ago. Modern agricultural practices have resulted in vegetables with lower nutrient values and higher levels of contaminants. That, plus our daily exposure to environmental pollutants increases the requirements for certain nutrients especially antioxidants.
So, a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement is highly recommended. (Remember, a "One-a-Day" multiple is "pixie dust," with not enough of anything to help except to prevent severe deficiency disease. We wrote about this in last week’s HealthBeat News.
Even with a decent diet and a good quality multiple supplement program, there are still four nutrients that almost no one gets enough of without additional supplementation.
The Four Missing Nutrients That Can Scuttle Your Good Health
There are four nutrients that numerous studies show we do not get enough of from diet. Even if you take a great "multiple," you still aren’t getting enough of these four critical nutrients. Here they are; why you need them, and how much to take.
VITAMIN K1 and K2: Normal Blood Clotting, Healthy Bones and So Much More
There are more than a dozen subtypes of Vitamin K; one of the most important of the subtypes for good health is known as menaquinone or vitamin K-2.
Vitamin K-1 is found in plant foods primarily vegetables. Vitamin K-2 is found in meat, eggs and dairy.
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble micronutrient. Together, K2 and K1, known as phylloquinone, are necessary for normal blood coagulation. A deficiency of either K1 or K2 can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. However, K2 also has other significant health benefits beyond the coagulation process.
New research has found that vitamin K2 participates in many functions beyond the clotting process including normal bone formation, cancer prevention, healthy brain function and prevention of calcification of arteries. Vitamin K2 has so many additional functions not associated with vitamin K1 that some researchers recommend that K1 and K2 should be considered two different vitamins.
Vitamin K-2 helps put calcium into bone — thereby strengthening bone — while simultaneously keeping it from building up in the arteries. It does this by activating osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to bone. Without osteocalcin, calcium doesn’t stay in bones and instead deposits in arteries where it increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
In a large epidemiological study from the Netherlands, it was found that people with the lowest blood levels of vitamin K-2 had a 57% greater risk of dying from heart disease than those with the highest levels. People with the highest vitamin K2 levels were 52 percent less likely to develop severe calcification of the arteries, 41 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and 57 percent less likely to die from it heart disease.(1) The intake of vitamin K1 did not affect cardiovascular disease outcomes – Vitamin K1 is most important for normal blood clotting where Vitamin K2 is important for preventing osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
How to Take: I personally take and recommend Life Extension’s Super K, one soft gel capsule per day taken with a meal that contains fat. Remember that vitamin K-2 is fat soluble.
Caution: If you take warfarin (Coumadin), consult with your doctor before taking vitamin K-2 because it can alter the drug’s effectiveness. Vitamin K-2 is safe to take with other more modern blood thinners.
COENZYME Q10 – A Source Of Cellular Energy
Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is needed for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main "energy currency" of the body. Although produced internally, CoQ10 levels tend to drop with age. Other causes of lowered CoQ10 levels include statin drugs, exposure to air pollutants and chronic disease states. Decreased levels of CoQ10 are linked to heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia and infertility to name just a few.
Although CoQ10 is found in such foods such as broccoli, nuts, beef and fatty fish, it is present only in small amounts.
How to Take: I personally take 100-mg of CoQ10 daily. Higher doses are recommended if you take a statin drug, have a chronic disease such as heart disease. Please see our page on CoQ10 for a full list of health concerns associated with CoQ10 deficiency.
As to the "ubiquinone" versus "ubiquinol" controversy, we’ve interviewed several leading CoQ10 researchers and written about this question here: CoQ10 – Fact, Fiction, Hype, And Hocus-Pocus.
OMEGA-3 Essential Fatty Acids (Fish OIl) – The Oil That Reduces Inflammation
Omega-3 essential fatty acids—found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, and in oil-rich plant foods, such as walnuts and flaxseeds—are anti-inflammatory. Chronic, low-grade inflammation is believed to contribute to many chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, congestive heart failure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, arthritis, autoimmune disease, and Alzheimer’s.
In contrast, omega-6 essential fatty acids—found in most vegetable oils (corn, cottonseed, sunflower, canola, peanut oil) and therefore in most processed foods which contain these oils—are pro-inflammatory. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is quite high in omega-6 and typically deficient in omega–3 fatty acids.
NOTE: Although plant products such as walnuts and flax seed contain a "plant version" of Omega-3, this is not the same as fish oil. This is because a conversion is required. Assuming normal conversion, a dose comparison would be 14 grams of flax oil = 1 gram of fish oil.
How to Take: Based on current best scientific evidence, a dose of 750-1500mg per day seems prudent. Take this with a fatty meal. Also note that this dose is the amount of EPA and DHA in the capsule, NOT just the total amount of oil (which will be higher) in the capsule.
MAGNESIUM The Calming Mineral
According to the U.S. government, eight of 10 Americans are deficient in magnesium. This is an extreme problem because magnesium is part of over 300 enzymes in the human body. Magnesium deficiency is associated with fatigue, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, asthma, anxiety, stroke, diabetes, glaucoma, hearing loss, kidney stones, gallbladder stones, migraine, muscle cramps, pregnancy complications (toxemia, premature delivery), premenstrual syndrome, heart disease (arrhythmia, CHF, angina, acute MI), osteoporosis, cancer and insomnia. Whew!
How to Take: Women take 400 mg to 500 mg daily and men 500 mg to 600 mg daily. NOTE: Maxi Multi contains 500mg of magnesium when taken at the recommended dose of 9 caps per day. Or, supplement with additional magnesium.
Also, magnesium oil is a fast-acting way to get magnesium. This is especially good for muscle cramps.
1.) Geleijnse JM1, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE, Schurgers LJ, Knapen MH, van der Meer IM, Hofman A, Witteman JC. Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Rotterdam Study. J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3100-5.
See linked product pages for additional references and related information.
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