Since vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are essential to every important process in the body, running low in these nutrients can result in a wide variety of healthy challenges. Some effort is required to identify specific nutrients that the body is craving, since effects vary based on the diet and lifestyle of any given individual. The typical American diet does tend to run low on certain nutrients across the board, though. The most common are listed below.
Magnesium and Calcium— Few Americans ingest enough magnesium. This is complicated, oddly enough, by public awareness of the need for calcium. Consuming too much calcium creates an imbalance in the ratio of calcium to magnesium. This makes magnesium supplementation a very wise whole-healthy choice, especially since adequate magnesium levels are vital in supporting how the body absorbs and properly utilizes calcium. The National Institutes of Health found that 2 out of 3 people are low on magnesium.*
A balanced combination of calcium and magnesium is essential for optimal health. However, appropriate magnesium supplementation is often difficult for those who have health challenges. Ingesting too much magnesium can produce a laxative effect. So, it's important to take a magnesium supplement in a "sustained-release" form; it will act gently, over time, to keep the mineral within a healthy range.
Trace Minerals — Trace minerals including copper, chromium, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc are important factors in maintaining health across all systems, especially the immune system. For those who wish to support the body's natural ability to detoxify itself of heavy metals, zinc and selenium are even more important, as listed below.*
- Zinc — This mineral is critical for maintaining a healthy immune system and for supporting the production of neurotransmitters. But maintaining a healthy level can be a challenge. People with mercury in their systems (from sources such as dental amalgam "silver" fillings) tend to excrete excessive levels of zinc. Such individuals may benefit from a mineral supplement containing zinc.*
- Selenium — Of special interest is selenium's role in supporting the body's natural ability to detoxify itself, since mercury exposure is a challenge for many Americans. A multi-mineral supplement containing selenium may be a safe way to maintain healthy selenium levels.*
B Vitamins – B vitamins are a catalyst for many of the body’s important chemical reactions. Runnin low on any of these vitamins can cause challenges in normal body functions and compromise immune response. Supplementing B vitamins is relatively easy. However, as with many other nutrients, more is not always better. Flooding the system with excessive quantities of B vitamins in the intestine may fuel an overgrowth of non-beneficial flora in the intestines—and much of the supplemented vitamin may not be absorbed in the body. A “sustained-release” B vitamin complex is best. Also, it’s better to take a B vitamin complex, since the Bs work best together, rather than independently.*
Vitamin C – Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid), is required for the ongoing growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. The body needs vitamin C to make its most abundant protein, collagen. Collagen is the cellular "glue" that holds the skin, blood vessels, arteries, muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments together. This is especially important in the artery walls, which must expand and contract with each beat of the heart.*
Many people run low on vitamin C today. According to the National Institutes of Health, maintaining healthy vitamin C levels is vital for: healthy hair and skin, periodontal health, healthy tooth enamel, healthy wound-healing, joint health, red blood cell health, balanced immune response, and healthy metabolism.*
Amino Acids – Amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins and are necessary for virtually everything in our bodies, including most hormones and all neurotransmitters. Healthy levels of amino acids are associated with: healthy probiotic/Candida balance in the gut; healthy overall energy levels (especially L-Tryptophan and L-tyrosine); thyroid health (L-tyrosine plays a key role in the production of thyroid hormone); and healthy athletic recovery. Well-balanced dietary supplements can help maintain healthy levels of amino acids, but only while also striving to get enough high-quality protein in the diet.*