The major chronic
diseases of Americans may be related to poor quality nutrition.
Research conducted during the last three decades has made
it clear that many of the major chronic diseases of Americans
may be nutrition-related health problems. Indeed, four
of the ten leading causes of death are associated with
diet and nutrition: heart disease, cancer, stroke and
diabetes. Dietary imbalances also contribute to other
health problems such as atherosclerosis, hypertension,
osteoporosis and obesity. Proper nutrition is essential
in reducing our risk of disease. But how do we know if
we are meeting our nutrient needs?
Meeting Our Nutrient Needs: Are the RDAs Enough?
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are said to
be an adequate level of intake of the essential nutrients
needed to maintain health for "practically all healthy
are these "healthy persons"? Are you?
Are the people who do not fall within the RDA Category
of "Practically All Healthy"?
Have very high or low body weight
Have chronic illnesses
Have heavy work stress
Are taking medication(s)
Have digestive problems
Have wounds, burns or injuries
Have a metabolic abnormality
people who seek our help, fall into one or more of these
categories. This means that many of us may need more than
the RDA of nutrients. To add to the problem, the diet
of many Americans is getting worse. Surprised? The fact
is, many of us do not even receive the RDA of all essential
nutrients from our food.
we get the nutrients we need by just eating a balanced
diet? According to nutritionists, to attain a balanced
diet you must obtain your calories from the proper ratio
of fat, protein and complex carbohydrate by eating wholesome,
nutritious foods from the various food groups.
you sure that your diet meets these requirements for balance
and completeness? Are you eating five servings of fruits
and vegetables a day? How often do you eat whole grain
breads and cereals? The fact is that many of us, even
those who feel they eat well, do not eat a balanced diet.
Almost 40% of the calories in many people's diets come
from highly processed convenience and snack foods that
are high in fat and sugar but contain few of the vitamins
or minerals that we really need. To live in the world
as it is today, we need better nutrition more than ever
before. Environmental and lifestyle stressors may increase
the needed level of essential nutrients beyond what can
be supplied by a balanced diet. As an example, think of
your body as a car that gets 30 miles to the gallon. Now
put a heavy load in the car and drive it uphill against
the wind. Suddenly, your mileage is not so good. The extra
load on the car's engine requires more fuel for the car
to go the same distance. The same is true with us.
list of some of the common stressors that can increase
the load on your body and, therefore, increase the amount
of essential nutrients we need to function at our best
Regular alcohol use
Regular intake of caffeine
Use of prescription or other drugs
Oral contraceptive use
Infection or illness
Exposure to radiation (sun, radiated foods, x-rays,
Injuries or wounds
Exposure to pesticides
Exposure to air/water pollution
Increased emotional or occupational stress Development
of vitamin deficiency
is understood that nutrient deficiency occurs gradually
in progressive stages. The first three stages are referred
to as a marginal deficiency, producing less than optimal
health but without the classic clinical signs of deficiency.
More classic symptoms of deficiency syndromes occur in
stages four and five. This gradual sequence of nutrient
depletion is explained in the table below, taken from
the Journal of the American Medical Association.
of Vitamin Deficiency
Deficiency Stage Symptoms & Comments
1. Preliminary Inadequate availability of vitamin
2. Biochemical Enzyme-coenzyme activity depressed
3. Physiological appetite loss, general malaise, insomnia
and increased irritability
4. Clinical increased malaise, loss of body weight with
the appearance of deficiency syndrome
5. Anatomical specific deficiency disease established
with specific tissue pathology
repletion, death may result. During the state of marginal
deficiency (stages 1-3), we are not functioning optimally
and our quality of life is compromised. We have greater
susceptibility to colds and infections, our mental functions
may be reduced and our personality and emotions can be
affected. The nature of these symptoms makes it difficult
to diagnose a nutrient deficiency and so the nutritional
problem may progress undetected. Long-term nutrient deficiencies
may be associated with the development of degenerative
diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis
for Promoting Optimal Health
the amount of fat you eat and eliminate junk food
Increase your consumption of fiber and whole, fresh
Take a high-quality, balanced multiple vitamin/mineral
Engage in regular exercise Reduce common stressors
Complete Nutritional Foundation for promoting optimal
health and nutritional care is now an integral part of
the total care of our patients. We recommend a high-quality
multiple vitamin/mineral supplement, which we consider
to be fundamental for the optimal nutrition of our patients.
It should contain not just RDA levels, but optimum levels
of essential nutrients in a scientifically balanced formula.
These nutrients should be supplied in highly absorbable
forms, in fast-release tablets/capsules. They should also
be free of preservatives and synthetic binders, lubricants,
fillers and coloring agents. You invest in insurance for
your car to protect yourself against financial loss, and
wisely so. But, do you do the same for your health? A
high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral supplement, along
with a good diet, is the lowest cost health insurance
you can buy.
good nutrition can positively affect your health:
It promotes well-being and may help reduce the risk of
It is one of the therapeutic measures employed to help
treat certain diseases
It is certainly true that no supplement can be used as
a substitute for a good diet. But the fact is, a good
diet isn't always enough. A high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral
formula will help you build a nutritional foundation for
I stop taking my supplements when I start to feel better?
Diet and nutritional supplements are important tools in
our effort to achieve optimal health. But if we stop our
nutritional program when our symptoms are improved, we
risk starting the nutrient deficiency cycle all over again
and missing out on the benefits that may be achieved.
We will be happy to suggest when to change your nutrient
program, and what you will need to help maintain your
1. Hegsted DM. Dietary Standards-Guidelines for Prevention
of Deficiency or Prescription for Total Health. J Nutr
2. Harper AE. Meeting Recommended Dietary Allowances.
J Florida MA1979:419.
3. Brin M. Erythrocyte as a Biopsy Tissue for Functional
Evaluation of Thiamine Adequacy. JAMA1964;187:186-190.
4. Mahan KL, Escott-Stump S. Krause's Food, Nutrition,
and Diet Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders,
5. Public Health Service, DHHS. Surgeon General's Report
on Nutrition and Health. 1988;Publ No 88-50211. MET032