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Should I take multivitamin and mineral supplements?

It is not unusual for patients to ask, “Doc, do I need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement?”

The straightforward answer is, “Yes.”

You know, nutrition is a very, very complex process. We have the macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are the building blocks for muscle and other tissues; fats are for neurologic development and carbohydrates necessary to drive our energy systems.

But to make it all happen, we need what doctors call micronutrients – that’s the vitamins and minerals – vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 – there are a host of others, it’s a large array of essential micronutrients that act as catalysts to drive the metabolic processes for proteins, carbohydrates and fats. So they are really essential.

This is clear, most people don’t eat a broad array of foodstuffs necessary to give them the nutrient compliment they need from micronutrient perspective. In fact, the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey in 2013 showed that 93% of individuals don’t take enough vitamin E on a daily basis, 44% for vitamin A; 31% of Americans don’t take enough vitamin C daily and 12% don’t take in enough zinc. Add to that, it’s estimated that 1 billion – that’s 1 billion – individuals are deficient in vitamin D worldwide – either deficient or insufficient.

So, think of supplements as nutritional insurance. No different than any other insurance, providing you the backup systems you need if your diet is deficient in micronutrients – you need them – you need them for efficient protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

It’s about peak performance. Your automobile can’t run on empty, and neither can you!

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Power your path to happiness!