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Why Adults Should Consider a High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral and an Essential Fatty Acid Supplement Each Day

James Meschino DC, MS, ROHP

It is well established that specific vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids participate in the chemical reactions within our cells and blood steam that determine our ability to ability to remain healthy, reduce risk of many diseases and optimize our energy and longevity index. The cumulative scientific evidence over the past 15-20 years has shown that food alone cannot provide the ideal amounts of these nutrients, if health optimization, longevity and disease prevention is your goal. As well, the National Health and Nutrition Surveys of the American public show that 91% of individuals do not meet the recommended dietary intake of levels for all vitamins and minerals, keeping in mind that the recommended dietary intake levels set out by the government are intended to be a minimum threshold level for most nutrients. To achieve optimal health and reduction in risk of many disease states higher intake levels are required for many nutrients. This is why a properly designed High Potency Multiple Vitamin and an Essential Fatty Acid supplement are so important to take each day.

Let’s take a brief look at what some of the nutrients do for us and what levels of supplementation are ideal, from a health optimization standpoint.

Higher blood and tissue levels of antioxidants are associated with decreased risk of many diseases. This is partially explained by the fact that antioxidants quench and neutralize dangerous free radicals that are linked cancer development (free radicals damage the DNA of our cells causing cancerous mutations), heart disease, damage to brain cells linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, cataracts and macular degeneration of the eye (the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55), and accelerated aging of our skin and other tissues. Each day our tissues are bombarded with free radicals, which arise from our use of oxygen in normal metabolism (free radicals are a by-product of oxygen metabolism in the body). Other environmental factors increase our exposure to free radicals, including cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, nitrosamines (nitrate treated foods), and other environmental agents (i.e., aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic amines, nitric oxide), including the damage done to our skin and eyes by excessive sun exposure. A large body of evidence has demonstrated that bolstering our antioxidant defences can protect our tissues against the damaging effects of free radicals and has been shown to help reduce the risk of the degenerative diseases and conditions mentioned above. In fact, a number of clinical trials reveal that even certain precancerous conditions have been reversed through targeted antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation.

In addition to eating 5-7 fruit and vegetables per day and drinking green tea, studies suggest that in order to achieve optimal nutritional status for the most important antioxidants, you should take a High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral that contains: Vitamin C (500-1,000 mg), Vitamin E Succinate (200-400 IU, natural source), Beta-carotene (7,500-20,000 IU), selenium (100-200 mcg), Vitamin A (2,000-3,000 IU), as well as some lycopene, lutein and bioflavonoids. The truth is that most multiple vitamins in the market place do not contain these ideal levels, and thus, are often not providing significant reduction against life-threatening degenerative diseases, and other conditions that can significantly compromised your quality of life.

B-50 Complex
Enhanced B-vitamin status through supplementation has been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease, reduce certain inflammatory states, improve detoxification processes and maintain brain and cognitive function as we age. B-vitamins are essential in the synthesis of brain chemicals required for thinking, memory and other vital brain activities. B-vitamins are essential for the synthesis of red blood cells, DNA and the normal replication of cells from one generation to the next, which is vital to the prevention of cancer. Known also for their anti-stress and anti-fatigue properties, you should make sure that your multiple vitamin supplement contains at least 50 mg of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and pantothenic acid, as well as 50 mcg of B12 and 400 mcg of folic acid.

Bone Support Nutrients
Central to the prevention of osteoporosis is the adequate daily intake of calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium, copper and zinc, which together are the essential bone strengthening nutrients. Studies show that across the population most adults are lacking at least 500 mg of calcium per day in their diet, on average to prevent the future development of osteoporosis. Vitamin D nutritional status is also sub-optimal (Vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium), as is the consumption of zinc. Thus, a well designed multiple vitamin should contain 500 mg of elemental calcium, 1000 IU of Vitamin D, 15 mg of zinc, 250 mg of magnesium and 1-2 mg of copper

Overall Benefits Of A High Potency Multiple Vitamin And Mineral Supplement
A High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral Supplement that contains the levels of antioxidants noted above, a B-50 complex and bone building nutrients (i.e., 500 mg of calcium) can not only help defend your body and brain against degenerative conditions and slow the biological processes of aging, but can also help to improve the quality and texture of your skin, hair and nails, improve sleep quality, strengthen your immune and detoxification systems, and enhance your daily energy level. All of these outcomes are frequently reported by individuals taking a multiple vitamin that meets the criteria outlined above.

Essential Fatty Acids (Flaxseed, Borage Seed and Fish Oil Combination)
In addition to the use of a High Potency Mutliple Vitamin and Mineral Supplement, research in recent years strongly suggests that adults should also take a daily supplement containing flaxseed oil, borage seeed oil and fish oil, to boost the production of min-hormones (prostaglandins) that are shown to reduce risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases, help control blood pressure, reduce joint inflammation, support brain function, reduce risk of age-related dementia, improve immune function, reduce risk of cancer, and enhance the softness and smoothness of the skin. Yes, an essential fatty acid supplement can do all of these things.

The major problem in achieving optimal essential fatty acid status these days stems from the fact that essential fatty acid deficiencies and imbalances are common problems as a result of modern-day agricultural, livestock, and food processing practices, which have significantly reduced the amount of omega-3 fats in our food supply, as well as limited our ability to acquire optimal amounts of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), and omega-9 fats, which provide a multitude of health benefits.

In the body, essential fatty acids are important components of the outer skin (cell membrane) of every cell, which determines which chemicals and nutrients will be allowed to enter and exit the cell. Thus, essential fats influence the structure, function, and health status of every cell in the body. As vital components of nerve cell membranes, essential fatty acids facilitate nerve conduction, which enables the brain to think, and the transmission of impulses to other nerves, muscles, and organs. Essential fats are required for brain development, vision and as components of the cell membrane, and are used by the body to form prostaglandin hormones, which produce powerful effects on a wide range of tissues, as outlined below.

Essential Fatty Acids, Prostaglandins And Disease
Prostaglandins are local tissue hormones that are produced from the different types of unsaturated fats we consume from our diet, and from supplements containing essential oils. There are three main types of prostaglandin hormones (PG); PG-1, PG-2, and PG-3. Essentially PG-1 and PG-3 produce positive effects on our health while PG-2 produces very undesirable effects. Unfortunately, the dietary habits of most North Americans favors the production of PG-2, which encourages blood vessels to constrict and blood platelets to clot abnormally, restricting blood flow and increasing risk of heart attack, ischemic stroke, and high blood pressure. PG-2 also encourages inflammation, worsening arthritis, other joint, muscle and tendon conditions, as well as other inflammatory conditions (e.g. Crohn’s disease, Colitis). Animal studies reveal that PG-2 may be associated with increased cancer risk in that it encourages more rapid cell division (when cells divide at a faster rate they tend to make more genetic mistakes and have less time to correct these genetic errors, enabling a cancerous mutation to occur). PG-2 formed within skin cells has also been shown to make the skin dry, rough, and scaly, and can aggravate a number of common skin disorders.

So how do you avoid forming too much PG-2? Simple, avoid the foods that contain the type of fats that produce PG-2, such as high fat meat products and high fat dairy products (which contain the unsaturated fat used by the body to make PG-2), as well as corn oil, sunflower seed oil and safflower seed oil.

In addition to eating fish two or three times per week it is highly desirable to optimize your body’s production of PG-1 and PG-3 by taking an essential fatty acid supplement containing a combination of flaxseed, borage seed and fish oil.

The GLA derived from borage seed oil facilitates greater production of PG-1, which reduces inflammation, enhances skin smoothness and helps block the formation of PG-2. As well, the aging process alone and the consumption of alcohol, saturated fat, hydrogenated fats and refined sugar tend to reduce the body’s ability to produce adequate amounts of GLA over our lifetime. Thus, borage seed oil (22% GLA) is a valuable medicinal oil to help the body produce more optimal levels of health-promoting PG- 1 each day of our lives.

In addition, supplementation with flaxseed and fish oil, which contain various omega-3-fats, enable the body to optimize its production of PG-3. PG-3 opens up blood vessels, and improves circulation, which reduces risk of heart and vascular disease. PG-3 slows the replication rate of cells, which reduces cancer risk. PG-3 also reduces inflammatory conditions, makes your skin softer and smoother. As well, omega-3-fats improve brain function and appear to reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  A number of clinical trials have shown that supplementation with omega-3 fats (fish and/or flaxseed oil) can increase synthesis of PG-3 and help improve cardiovascular health, inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and Crohn’s disease, as well as high blood pressure, Raynaud’s disease, eczema, and other conditions.

Your Essential Fatty Acid Plan
Unknowingly, individuals, who do not supplement with a proper essential fatty acid supplement, tend to experience an essential fatty acid deficiency or imbalance, which contributes to numerous health disorders, accelerated aging, and often, poor complexion and poor skin texture. Thus, to ensure optimal essential fatty acid status it is advisable to follow the dietary recommendations outlined above and take an essential fatty acid supplement each day that contains equal amounts (e.g. 400 mg each) of GMO-free flaxseed oil, borage oil, and a high yield fish oil (30% EPA/20DHA). For general health maintenance, I suggest two or three, 1200 mg capsules per day (I personally take 3 capsules per day). This simple practice, along with taking a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement each day, can produce significant positive effects on your health, your appearance, and help reduce your risk of some common illnesses. These two products are life long supplements that should be considered by all individuals over the age of 15 in my view.


High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral Supplement


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 Essential Fatty Acids

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  6. Health Notes. Notes/Supp/EPA
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  11. Keen H, Payan J, Allawi J, et al. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy with gamma-linolenic acid. Diabetes Care 1993;16:8–15.
  12. Manku MS, Horrobin, DF, Morse NL, et al. Essential fatty acids in the plasma phospholipids of patients with atopic eczema. Br J Derm 1984;110:643.
  13. Horrobin DF. Essential fatty acids in clinical dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol 1989;20:1045–53
  14. Leventhal LJ, et al. Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Gammalinolenic Acid. Ann Intern Med. Nov1993;119(9):867-73.
  15. Holland PA, et al. Drug Therapy of Mastalgia. What are the Options? Drugs. Nov1994;48(5):709-16.
  16. Pye JK, et al. Clinical Experience of Drug Treatments for Mastalgia. Lancet. Aug1985;2(8451):373-77.
  17. Stevens L, Zentall SS, Deck JL. Essential fatty acid metabolism in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;62:761-768.
  18. Galland L. Increased Requirements for Essential Fatty Acids in Atopic Individuals: A Review with Clinical Descriptions. J Am Coll Nutr. 1986;5(2):213-28.
  19. Masuev KA. The Effect of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids of the Omega-3 Class on the Late Phase of the Allergic Reaction in Bronchial Asthma Patients. Ter Arkh. 1997;69(3):31-33.
  20. Isseroff RR. Fish Again for Dinner! The Role of Fish and other Dietary Oils in the Therapy of Skin Disease. J Am Acad Dermatol. Dec1988;19(6):1073-80.
  21. Kinsella JE, et al. Dietary n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Amelioration of Cardiovascular Disease: Possible Mechanisms. Am J Clin Nutr. Jul1990;52(1):1-28.
  22. Garg ML, et al. Alpha-linolenic Acid and Metabolism of Cholesterol and Long-chain Fatty Acids. Nutrition. Jun1992;8(3):208-10.
  23. Knapp HR, et al. The Antihypertensive Effects of Fish Oil. A Controlled Study of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplements in Essential Hypertension. N Engl J Med. Apr1989;320(16):1037-43.
  24. Harris WS, Park Y, Isley WL. Cardiovascular disease and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2003 Feb;14(1):9-14.
  25. Calder PC. Dietary modification of inflammation with lipids. Proc Nutr Soc. 2002 Aug;61(3):345-58.
  26. Geusens P, et al. Long-term Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Active Rheumatoid Arthritis. A 12-month, Double-blind, Controlled Study. Arthritis Rheum. Jun1994;37(6):824-29.
  27. Mate J, Castanos R, Garcia-Samaniego J, Pajares JM. Does dietary fish oil maintain the remission of Crohn’s disease: a case control study. Gastroenterology 1991;100:A228 [abstract].
  28. Kremer JM, Lawrence DA, Petrillow GF, et al. Effects of high­dose fish oil on rheumatoid arthritis after stopping nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Arthritis Rheum 1995;38:1107–14.
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