Vitamins and Supplements That
Everyone Should be Taking Daily
As you know I am very cautious about supplements, vitamins and minerals. The
reason is that the research show taking a vitamin or supplement is simply not
natural. Our bodies have been around for ages eating natural foods from
the environment and isolating one or two molecules from foods is, as it turns,
simply not the same and often quite detrimental.
With just a couple of exceptions, your nutrients need to come from natural foods.
This is a tried and true method that has worked for many of supercultures around
the world, such as the Okinawans, the Kuna, the Ikarians, the Tarahumara, the
Hunza - the list goes on and on. These native peoples have proven time and
again that superlative health comes from natural foods, abundant exercise and
other common sense lifestyle factors and not from a pill.
Here are just a few examples:
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- Multivitamin. Mulivitamins have done very poorly in virtually all the studies.
For example, there is little evidence that it protects from cancer.
However, there is one suprising area where the evidence for multivitamins looks
good: the brain. Several studies have shown that multivitamins
can actually boost the IQ of children.  Furthermore, there is a study
 showing that many of the vitamins are associated with improved memory
and mental scores. I will let the abstract in this study speak for itself:
"Several significant associations (P < 0.05) were observed between cognition and
concurrent vitamin status, including better abstraction performance with higher
biochemical status and dietary intake of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and
folate and better visuospatial performance with higher plasma ascorbate.
Concurrent dietary protein in 1986 correlated significantly with memory scores,
and serum albumin or transferrin with memory, visuospatial, or abstraction
scores. Higher past intake of vitamins E, A, B-6, and B-12 was related to better
performance on visuospatial recall and/or abstraction tests. Use of
self-selected vitamin supplements was associated with better performance on a
difficult visuospatial test and an abstraction test".
The reason for this are many: the brain is a huge nutrient and energy hog.
It requires, among other things, lots of the B vitamins. As people age,
they often lose GI acidity and the ability to digest certain vitamins and
minerals. A good multivitamin seems to be a good insurance policy and has
done quite well in the studies.
- Vitamin D. This is one of the rare supplements that has nothing but good news
coming from the laboratories. It is now a proven cancer fighter and heart
protectors. In two recent meta-analyses, for example, it was associated
with very significant lower colon cancer risk. The reason that this is so
significant is that colon cancer is one of the top 3 killers.  And it
very definitely lowers risk for heart disease. Another recent
meta-analysis by lead researcher Edward Giovannucci look at the Health
Professionals Follow-up Study and found that there was a huge 2.42 times greater
risk of heart attack amount those with low Vitamin D levels. Even those
with intermediate levels had about 50% greater risk! This means that
Vitamin D can help with the #1 and #3 killers and deserves to be in everyone's
daily regimen. Better yet, it does not seem to have a tight therapeutic
range like some of the other vitamins and minerals. Zinc, for example,
needs to be taken < about 200-300% of RDA. Folic Acid appears to have an
even tighter range. Vitamin C, above about 500% of RDA can harden
arteries. In the case of Vitamin D, though, most experts feel that 1000-2000 IU
should be taken daily along with 15 minutes of sun exposure three times per
week. For those who have had a lot of sun damage, you may not want to
incorporate the last part of that advice. But, regardless, make sure you get
your Vitamin D.
Zinc. Most guys on this site eat very little red meat and train pretty hard.
If so, it's probably a good idea to take a little supplemental zinc, about 100-200% of
RDA. Adequate zinc is important for immunity, testosterone production and
estrogen control. I believe it is one of the factors keeping me cold-free. CAUTION: Do not go much past the RDA for Zinc. See this
The Dangers of Excess Zinc Intake.
- Magnesium. This, like Vitamin D, is another must take supplement unless
you're eating extremely well. Magnesium helps you sleep better, decreases
migraine frequency for migraine sufferers, aids in glucose regulation, prevents
insulin resistance , assists in protein synthesis and energy production ,
lowers risk of diabetes  and blood pressure  and decreases cardiovascular
risk . Again, you just want to make sure that you have enough: low
magnesium levels are bad enough and can lead to the opposite of all I wrote
above.And keep in mind that as you age, the kidneys excrete more Magnesium
than during your youthful days. It is suprisingly easy to become deficient
in this all important molecule which is used in literally hundreds of bodily
systems and reactions.
- Folic Acid. Adequate folic acid is critical to control homocysteine.
As we age, many of us lose our ability to process folic acid (and the B
vitamins) and so homocysteine levels slowly rise destroying our heart, brain and
However, too much folic acid has been found to be associated with an increased
risk of GI cancers and the problem is that we supplement folic acid in cereals
and white bread products. So, actually, many people have been getting too
much folic acid. However, I'm assuming most Peak Testosterone readers eat
well, thus getting a lot of folic acid, and hopefully taking a multivitamin per
#1 above. But, if none of the above applies, you may want to supplement
with Folic Acid.
1) Am J Clin Nutr, 1987, 45:1305-12;Clinica Chimica Acta, 2000, 294:1-26
2) Circulation, 1992, 86:1475-84
3) Intl J of Epidem, 199928:645-51; Am Heart J, 1998, 136:480-90
5) Am Fam Physician, 1998, 58:1323-30
7) American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Feb 2007, 32(3):210-216