Tag Archives: supplements

Vitamins and Supplements 101

20 Feb

Vitamins A, B, C, D, Zinc, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium and Omega-3’s.  Are any of these things familiar to you?  Many of my friends and clients have asked me about Vitamins/minerals and what the “right” amount is.  Should all vitamin/minerals come from food and beverage intake?  Are supplements necessary in order for my body to get enough vitamins/minerals?  Is it possible to ingest too much of one thing? Can too much be toxic?

food supplements

These questions are all excellent, and are only a fraction of those that I hear on a regular basis.  In this post I will try to answer questions in a generalized sense, and based on MY opinion unless otherwise noted.  But PLEASE understand that there is a LOT to know about vitamins/minerals and specific questions should be saved for a qualified professional [talk with your doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist].

First off, here are some quick facts about Vitamins (source: www.fda.gov. A full PDF download is available!)

Vitamin Facts

Your body uses vitamins for a variety of biological processes, including growth, digestion, and nerve function. There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). AAFP cites two categories of vitamins.

  • Water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed by the body, which doesn’t store large amounts. The kidneys remove those vitamins that are not needed.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed into the body with the use of bile acids, which are fluids used to absorb fat. The body stores these for use as needed.

As a personal trainer and someone who strongly believes in eating a clean diet full of whole, real, natural, organic foods, I believe that a person’s primary source of vitamins and minerals should come from real foods themselves.  Eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins such as chicken, grass-fed beef, and fish will give you a fantastic amount of vitamins, minerals and necessary nutrients.  However, instances such as having certain health conditions, eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, or being pregnant/breast-feeding can warrant necessity of supplements.  There is also a lot of research that supports supplementation of calcium, iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids for women.

I know folks who are intolerant of dairy and take supplements for Calcium and Vitamin D.  Others turn to leafy greens, nuts and legumes to get their share of Calcium.  Some people take Iron supplements due to the fact that their diet is void of any meats.  And still, there are others who find other whole, real foods high in Iron to eat instead.  As you can see, there is no single prescription for which supplements to take.  Depending on a person’s individual diet, their supplement requirements will vary; talking to a doctor or nutritionist about specific supplements is best.

For more guidance on this topic, I check with my go-to dietitian Ashley Bade, RD, LDN, CNSD at Modern Mom Nutrition.  Ashley shared with me an article on the topic of supplementation and whether or not to take vitamins.  Ashley believes in “trying to get nutrients from foods first- versus supplementing, but understand that it can be hard to work it all into some people’s days. I do tend to supplement Vitamin D often with my patients b/c many are obese and we all live above Atlanta which are two factors that can set you up for a D deficiency. I do think some people can benefit from Omega supplements as many people tend to not have a variety of good sources in the diet.”

Vitamins and minerals provide essential nutrients and every person should be aware of which they are receiving in their diet & which, perhaps, need to be supplemented.  If you have specific questions about your nutrition, make a list and be sure to discuss it with your doctor at your next appointment!

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Half Marathon Training: week 5 recap

7 Sep

The weeks are FLYING by for my half marathon training!  In LESS than a month, I’ll be running the Smuttynose Half Marathon!  Training has been quite humbling and has taught me that sometimes I need to take a step back  in order to ultimately move forward.  This week I made an adjustment to my long run because I decided that I want to increase my max long run from 10 to 12 miles.  I have heard from several sources that the last 3 miles of a half are the hardest, and bring the most challenges both physically and mentally.  I decided this week that I want to be prepared- physically and mentally- for everything that will come my way, so I made the decision to extend the cap on my long run mileage.

I did take many things into consideration before making this decision; risk of injury, ability to recover from longer and more demanding runs, time constraint, overall increased fatigue, etc.  I decided that keeping up with my stretching, massage, and recovery days should keep my chronic ankle tendonitis from flaring up, even with an increase in mileage.  I also made the promise to myself to BACK OFF if my ankle/hamstring/hip, etc starts to bother me.  The added value of a few miles is NOTHING when compared to the value of my body being in top shape to run the race.

My long run this past Sunday was a 9 miler and it was quite a challenge considering the heat, humidity, and poor air quality.  BUT, with a little dialogue back and forth with myself and the help of a Clif Shot Energy Gel, I made it in 1 hour and 18 minutes!!!

Can’t believe its less than a month to go!!!! I’m getting EXCITED and trying to recruit as many people as possible to come cheer me on!!! And if you’re in the area on Oct 2nd, I’d love to have YOUR support!