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Multivitamin/Mineral Roundup

A good multivitamin should be first on your supplement list

Multivitamin/Mineral Roundup

When it comes to supplements, most of you focus on the obvious performance and physique boosters: you know them well – whey protein, creatine, BCAAs, and beta-alanine, to name a few.

And while these supplements are all must-haves on my list, there is one supplement that may be even more critical, yet is often missing from most people's list – a multivitamin/mineral supplement. Although this often seems like a supplement only for average Joes and Janes who don't train, your supplement regimen should always start with a multivitamin. Vitamins play numerous important roles in the body.

Some have hormone-like functions that regulate cell and tissue growth. Some function as antioxidants, and most help to form enzyme cofactors. Minerals are involved in so many functions in the body that I can't even begin to list them. Taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement will have you covered so that no deficiencies are limiting your potential to grow bigger, stronger and leaner.

Despite what I'm telling, many "experts" out there are not recommending that you take a multivitamin/mineral supplement.

They often claim that if you eat a well-rounded diet then you don't ever need a vitamin and mineral supplement. This of course, is the advice given by "experts" who either don't live in reality or are very uneducated about supplements and the American diet.

For starters, most Americans do NOT eat a well-rounded diet, which means that they are not getting in optimal amounts of critical vitamins and minerals and/or may even be deficient in certain ones.

Many American don't even know the difference between protein and carbohydrates. So how can they be expected to eat a well-rounded diet? It's unrealistic. Plus, eating the amount of foods that would provide you adequate amounts of all the micronutrients would provide you far too many macronutrients: and calories, which would make you FAT!

Another issue that makes this kind of recommendation nonsensical has to do with the diminishing quality of our food supply.

Even if you were careful to eat a well-rounded diet, you may not be getting in adequate amounts of critical micronutrients. That's because our food supply today is lower in many of these vitamins and minerals due to conventional farming practices, such as overfarming, which dwindles the nutrient density of the soil. And the grain-feeding that conventional cattle and chickens are getting also dwindles the micronutrient content of milk, beef, eggs and chicken. Plus certain foods inhibit the absorption of some micronutrients. Refined sugars, as well as white-flour products (like white bread) can lower blood levels of minerals, such as zinc and magnesium. Foods rich in calcium (such as dairy products) inhibit absorption of both zinc and magnesium by the small intestines. Foods rich in phytates (phosphorous compounds found in whole grain breads, cereals, and legumes) also hinder the absorption of zinc by the small intestines.

A third issue that makes skipping a multi bad advice is micronutrient loss in the individual.

Most people who are careful to try and eat a well-rounded diet tend to also workout. Research shows that many athletes who train intensely, and yes if you follow my training programs you are essentially an "athlete", you lose many critical vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, chromium, selenium, zinc, magnesium and copper. This is due to a variety of factors, such as lost of the minerals in sweat and urine, as well as their increased use for energy production during the workout as well as recovery and protein synthesis following training. So you're starting at a deficit and eating food that may be at a deficit, which makes a multivitamin/mineral supplement an absolute necessity.

Some doctors and nutritionists have even gone so far to say that taking vitamin and mineral supplements can be dangerous.

This is based on some poorly done and very biased studies suggesting the ridiculous – that vitamin and mineral supplements can harm your health. The most recent study was from the University of Minnesota. The researchers used data from over 38,000 elderly women in the Iowa Women's Health Study, which was based simply on questionnaires about supplement use in 1986, 1997 and 2004. They concluded that the use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper were associated with slight increased risk of death. Of course, there are numerous flaws with the study that make it irrelevant to you.

Not only was the study done in elderly women, but it didn't actually provide subjects any of these supplements, it simply relied on their recall of taking them. That is the most unreliable info you can use in a study and is far from scientific. Another factor to consider in this study is what is known as the "sick-user effect". This refers to the fact that when many people are diagnosed with a disease they then tend to start taking supplements in hope for an alternative cure. This doesn't mean that the supplements increased their risk of death, but their disease did and it was just circumstance that they then started taking supplements. On top of all this, the study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which is a journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), who are known as staunch supporters of the phramaceutical industry and strongly oppose the supplement industry for obvious reasons. 

The truth of the matter is that studies that show that vitamin and mineral supplements are beneficial far outnumber those claiming that they don't.

In fact, numerous studies show that they reduce the risk of certain diseases and death. The most recent was published in the June 2012 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition. German researchers reported that in about 24,000 people those taking vitamin/mineral supplements at the start of the study had a 42% reduced risk in all-cause mortality over the 11 years of the study and a 48% reduced risk in cancer-related death. Another 2012 study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology suggests that supplementing with a multivitamin could reduce the risk of colon cancer. A 2010 study from Harvard reported that supplementing with multivitamins, especially those including vitamins A, C, and E reduced the risk of colon cancer. Another 2010 study form the Karolinska Institute reported that women using multivitamins had a 30% reduced risk of a heart attack.

A 2009 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that multivitamin use of over 10 years reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 16%, while vitamin E supplementation specifically can reduce the risk by almost 30%. Another 2009 study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reported that women taking a multivitamin supplement have a younger biological age based on telomere length as compared to those not supplementing. And a 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that taking selenium along with a multivitamin reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 40%. One 2003 study by the Lewin Group reported that the use of a daily multivitamin by older adults could save the US government more than $1.6 billion in Medicare over the five year period from 2004-2008. Another 2003 study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that in 130 adults, those taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement for one year had significantly less less infection, such as respiratory and urinary tract infections, influenza and gastrointestinal infections, and a lower rate of illness-related absenteeism, than those receiving a placebo.

In addition to reducing the risk of certain diseases and death from them, studies show that multivitamins can also provide benefits such as better brain functions and even aid fat loss.

One 2012 study from Australia analyzed the data from 10 studies on cognitive function and multivitamin use in over 3000 subjects. They reported that mutlivitamin use was associated with better memory in females. Another 2012 study published in Psychopharmacology reported that elderly women with cognitive decline given a multivitamin/mineral complex for 4 months had significant improvements in memory as compared to those getting placebo. And a 2010 study from UK researchers found that young to middle-aged women taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement for nine weeks performed significantly better on cognitive tasks than those taking a placebo.

And no, the boost in brain power is not reserved just for women. A 20011 study from Australian researchers reported that eight weeks of supplementation with a multivitamin in men increased alertness and feelings of general day-to-day well-being. And a 2010 UK study revealed that men taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement for about 5 weeks performed better on cognitive tasks, were less mentally tires, and reported improved vigor as compared to those getting a placebo. These mental benefits have even been recorded in children. UK researchers reported in a 2008 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition that children aged 8-14 taking a multivitamin supplement for 12 weeks demonstrated better attention and cognitive function.

And while all those health and brain-boosting benefits are wonderful we know that the bottom line for you is your physique and performance.

Good news there too when it comes to multivitamins. Chinese researchers reported in a 2010 study that women taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement for 6 months lost 8 pounds without changing their diet while those taking a placebo lost lest than half a pound. This was likely due to the higher metabolic rate and fat burning afforded by the multivitamin/mineral supplement.

Reduced hunger may be another key factor, as one 2008 Canadian study reported lower hunger ratings during fasting in those supplementing with a multivitamin. The supplemented group also had significantly lowered their total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and raised their HDL (good) cholesterol. A 2008 study in the British Journal of Nutrition also reported that men who regularly consumed multivitamins had lower body fat levels than men who did not.

A 2011 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that female athletes getting a multivitamin/mineral supplement during a 6-week training period had lower levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) than those taking a placebo.

Since ROS can increase damage of muscle tissue and impair repair, this could lead to better recovery and performance. In fact, a 2010 study from France reported that male competitive cyclists receiving a multivitamin for three weeks showed better cycling performance than those getting a placebo. A multivitamin/mineral supplement was also shown to increase performance in fencers.

The bottom line is that you definitely should be supplementing with a multivitamin/mineral supplement to boost overall health, brain function, athletic performance, and even fat loss and muscle recovery and growth. So how do you find a proper multivitamin/mineral supplement? By using my Vita JYM or building your own. Click on the link below to read about why these two options should be your ONLY ones when it comes to vitamin and mineral supplements:



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