Vitamins for Active Adults
By: Dr. George Obikoya
Vitamins for Active Adults
By: Dr. George Obikoya
Not many people today can boast they are in perfect health. Indeed, many are so used to feeling "not at my peak" they have simply accepted it as normal. Indeed, many consider 21 to be your prime and after that it is all down hill. It doesn't have to be that way. Life has become a continuous struggle for people today. You have to hurry to get dressed for work and get your child ready for school. You have to pick your child up from the day care and rush back to work to finish an assignment and be ready for the board meeting the next day. The salesman is juggling with the steering wheel and his cell phone as he struggles to negotiate the curve on the highway yet not miss an important call that might clinch a major sale. On top of all these hassles, we find or are unable to find little time to eat and eat well.
The scenarios described above will probably be familiar to most of the readers of this article. They are the reasons for the common complaints many of us have of feeling tired and lethargic, lacking stamina, having low energy levels, frequently catching colds/sore throats, having digestion or stomach problems, suffering from high blood pressure, allergies and breathing problems, and having poor skin or lifeless hair, aches and pains, and poor concentration and memory. As benign as some of these ailments sound, they can be persistent, slow you down, and compromise your quality of life. By themselves, they are annoying and bothersome and because they happen over time, many people do not pick up on them easily.
Regardless of whether you are striving to advance a career; developing your own business; training hard to excel at a sport; juggling your life as a working parent; or just trying to keep up with your grandchildren, your health needs to be in excellent form for you to have the energy to continually succeed.
Nutritional deficiencies and lifestyle factors are major causes of many people's persistent health problems. In particular, most people lack essential nutrients, including vitamins, trace minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and essential fatty acids, which are vital for good health. Indeed, many of these nutrients are now known to prevent major diseases including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease and other disabling diseases that tend to show up in your 40s, 50s and 60s. These nutrients can be found in a high-quality liquid multivitamin.
We need many of these vitamins and nutrients in combination to continually rebuild old and damaged cells, especially those of our immune system, which protects us from infections such as colds and the flu, diseases of various kinds including heart disease and cancer, and against the many toxic chemicals we are exposed to daily in our food and environment.
The established link between abnormal homocysteine levels in the blood and heart attacks exemplifies the valuable role vitamins play in helping us prevent disease. Homocysteine is a by-product of methionine metabolism, methionine being one of the amino acids that constitute proteins, the basic foundation of life. Under normal circumstances homocysteine is metabolized by a series of chemical reactions and poses no problem to health but people that suffer from heart disease often have raised levels of homocysteine in the blood. Research has shown that if you have raised blood levels of homocysteine you are at risk of developing heart disease and subsequently having a heart attack. The evidence suggests that high levels of homocysteine may damage coronary arteries or make it easier for blood clotting cells called platelets to clump together and form a clot.
Further studies showed that three of the B vitamins: vitamin B6 , folic acid and vitamin B12, all have a positive effect on keeping blood homocysteine levels normal, thereby preventing heart disease. The enzyme that helps to break down homocysteine in the body hence needs vitamin B6 to be able to function properly.
Folic acid and vitamin B12 are also linked to homocysteine metabolism because the blood levels of homocysteine increases when the levels of these vitamins decrease, which can make you prone to developing heart attacks. Without proper levels of B12 and folic acid (of which the average person usually gets LESS than even the US RDA, which is an amount that is far less than we actually need), we run the risk of developing high homocysteine levels, and thus greatly increasing our chances of developing heart disease and having heart attacks. Remember, heart disease is the NUMBER ONE KILLER in America today, more than accidents, homicides, stroke, colds, infections - anything else, even cancer.
Research with large population groups have shown that the majority of people have what is termed a 'subclinical deficiency' of vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin B12. This is a wake-up call for all of us. Subclinical deficiency means that people are not getting optimum amounts of these vitamins. They get just enough to avoid having major symptoms but that means that if they were a car engine, they would only be running on three out of their four cylinders, or maybe even just two. They may not exhibit symptoms actively but think about it. What are the symptoms of a heart attack? You fall over and are quite likely to die. You need to take action BEFORE you get to that point. Unfortunately, most people do not and this reason is a major one that heart disease continues to be the number one killer.
You probably have an actual deficiency (as opposed to just a subclinical deficiency) of these vitamins if you have the following symptoms. For vitamin B6 deficiency, you will probably experience a variety of disturbances of the nervous system functioning, including seizures, chronic pain, depression, headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, and Parkinson's disease. Vitamin B6 is needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, required for normal nerve cell communication. Lower levels of serotonin have been found in individuals suffering from depression and migraine headaches. Alcohol abuse can result in neuropathy, abnormal nerve sensations in the arms and legs. A poor dietary intake contributes to this neuropathy and dietary supplements that include vitamin B6 may prevent or decrease its incidence.
With a folic acid deficiency you may suffer from depression and may even develop pernicious anemia. Women who are on a folic acid deficient diet are more prone to give birth to babies with serious neural tube defects. With a vitamin B12 deficiency you may also develop pernicious anemia.
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for these 3 vitamins are:
Folic acid: 400 mcg / day for adults
Vitamin B12: 3 mcg / day for adults
Vitamin B6: 3 mg / day for adults
Contrast that to most high quality multivitamins, that have at least:
Folic acid: 800 mcg / day
Vitamin B12: 500 mcg / day
Vitamin B6: 50 mg / day
In order to avoid subclinical deficiency, and help ensure optimum health, it is highly suggested that you get levels of vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid at at least the US RDA, if not the amount supplied by most high-quality liquid multivitamins. Remember that these vitamins are water soluble, so they are eliminated from your system quickly. Therefore it is advised that if you choose to supplement with these vitamins, you do so daily.
A good multivitamin is the foundation of health and nutrition. Take a look at our scientific reviews of many of the popular brands for factors such as ingredients, areas of improvement, quality level, and overall value. If you are looking for a high quality liquid multivitamin, we suggest that you take a look at the Multivitamin Product Comparisons.