I've been taking vitamins for many years. Following my recent visit to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale for my annual physical, I started focusing on certain supplements over others, based on results from some of my tests. Since it turned out I was deficient in vitamin D,  I decided to seek advice as to what other vitamins and minerals I should consider.

But even with all of the guidance I received from the Mayo Clinic, I still found myself being bombarded with various messages about vitamins. Should I take them at all? Are there risks involved? What benefits do they really provide? Every magazine article, website, and person seems to have a different opinion. 

So I finally decided to ask someone that I love and trust, my long-time family friend, Dr. Dan Dibacco. Dan is a practicing pharmacist in Atlanta who specializes in nutrition and diet. I asked him what his opinion is on the vitamins I'm currently taking, and what benefits I can expect to receive from them. Keep following my blog, because you'll be hearing more from Dr. DiBacco as he answers all of the nutrition and diet-related questions that we have.

 

Analyzing Renee's Supplement Choices

by Dr. Dan DiBacco

 

You've come along way, Renee. After looking at your supplement choices, it's clear you care about your health.  I can't say the same for the 15-year-old girl who strapped on roller blades and grabbed the end of a leash tethered to your huge, overly-hyper Dalmatian Alex.  No brakes and no helmet is not a way to stay healthy.  But, you're older, and (presumably) wiser now.  So let's take a look at your choices and why I think you're on the right track.

Vitamin B12, 500mcg daily: I call Vitamin B12 "a vegan's most important vitamin" because you can only get it from animal sources.  I know you're not vegan, but you don't eat much animal protein, so this supplement is necessary. A lack of B12 can lead to anemia, nerve issues and, some studies suggest, cancer.  However, you'd probably be most interested in the fact that Vitamin B12 is essential for turning fat into energy.  Crossfit plus vitamin B12 equals one lean girl on the go.

Vitamin C with rose hips, 1000mg daily: I've been known to call Vitamin C totally awesome.  Because, well, it is.  Vitamin C is important for our immune system and also one of our strongest antioxidants.  Eating lots of fruits and veggies will fill you up with this important nutrient.  But since our body doesn't store Vitamin C, a daily supplement ensures you have all you need of this famous vitamin.

Fish Oil Omega 3, 1000mg and Vitamin, D3 1000-2000mg daily:  I'm putting these together because they're two must-haves for supplementation.  For starters, a lack of either has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  Plus, they're both hard to get naturally unless you eat lots of oily fish and get one to two hours of sunshine daily (with no SPF protection).  Keep taking these daily or I'll strap roller blades on your feet and tie you to Alex.

Taking supplements in no way substitutes for a healthy diet.  But even the healthiest of diets can have nutritional holes.  Keep doing what you're doing and consider adding a good ol' multivitamin to the mix (you could then drop the individual B12 and Vitamin C supplements).  

Signing Off Feeling More Educated,
Renee
 
 
Dan DiBacco, PharmD, MBA, is a practicing pharmacist in Atlanta.  He specializes in nutrition and diet.  Follow his musings and advice at essentialsofnutrition.com. If you have questions you would like to pose to Dan regarding your supplement intake or other nutrition and diet related issues please ask them in the comment box below. 
 
 
 
 
 
Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter or see what she's up to on Facebook!
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