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Vitaminology: Micronutrients and wellness

First step to improving health and energy

Published: Monday, October 17, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of detailing macronutrients and specifying how their attributes are essential to providing our bodies with the means to be efficient machines. As a reminder, macronutrients (macro meaning "large" or "whole") suggest these nutrients are needed in greater concentrations to keep our bodies functioning.

Micronutrients, on the other side of the spectrum, are equally important. They are characterized by the trace elements aiding us in health recovery and maintenance.

The human body needs 72 trace elements, which are supplements needed in lower quantities, for normal functioning. Most trace elements can be found in all types of seafood.

Oftentimes, we get multiple vitamins at one time from a single food source. But other times, we may not receive the essential element for days, if not weeks. Gaps in our diet are usually fulfilled by vitamin supplements. The confusion exists when deciding which vitamin is the best for our bodies. Given there are 72 options throughout which I can pursue, I am going to focus on a few vitamins I take and are vastly recommended by professionals.

Omega 3

Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid — a "good fat" — necessary for your health from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and anchovies, but the nutrients can enter our systems through a fish oil supplement. Omega 3 helps your body to function properly, keeping your physical health in shape, all the while preventing excessive blood clots in the veins responsible for heart attacks and strokes. In watching this video, you will be able to understand omega 3's powerful ability to dissipate clotting as one pill dissolves a Styrofoam cup.

In addition, studies have shown omega 3 linking to treat depression, reduce ADHDand develop the human brain to increase memory retention.

For more details on specific dosages and benefits, visit the Omega-3 Centre website.

Multivitamin, multimineral supplement

It is possible to have a balanced diet and not need vitamins. Throughout each day however, most of us are not able to maintain an ideal diet. This is where multivitamin supplements force themselves into the equation.

Serving as a strong support mechanism is the primary duty of multivitamins. Multivitamins make the difference between an "okay" diet and an ideal, exceptional diet, but do not serve as the primary nutrition source compensating for a poor diet.

WebMD has a very handy slideshow illustrating missing nutrients in our bodies. Please consider this when you purchase your next multivitamin supplement. For a more concrete visualization, Dr. Jane Higdon from Oregon State University has a pretty clear breakdown.

Antioxidant supplement

In order for us to live, we must have oxygen. Some people, however, fail to realize too much oxygen can be toxic. Luckily, our atmosphere makes living possible by restricting the oxygen concentration in our air to approximately 21 percent. Although the dramatic introduction to oxygen seems ambiguous and unclear, the point is: Oxidation is a natural process, yet it has deleterious effects on our internal systems.

In the oxidation process, molecules react with oxygen to break down into simpler molecules. This breakdown further releases particles called free radicals, which are equally likely to cause damage.

Antioxidants are micronutrients protecting the tissues sensitive to oxygen in our bodies. Essentially, these micronutrients slow oxidation and come in the form of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium and Vitamin A.

Dr. Weil of the University of Arizona-Tucson, also known as the "vitamin advisor," gives his vitamin recommendations on his website. For additional personalized information, I invite you to take the Free Vitamin Recommendation. After filling out the information accurately and submitting contact information, find a system that works best for you.

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