Ol' Buffalo Vitamin & Mineral Guide

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Vitamins are a group of substances vital to normal metabolism, growth and development, and regulation of cell function. The body synthesizes some of its own vitamins. An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that either cannot be synthesized by the body at all, or cannot be synthesized in amounts adequate for good health (eg niacin, choline), and thus must be provided by diet and/or supplements.

Vitamins work together with enzymes, co-factors, minerals, and other substances. Contrary to popular myth, vitamins and minerals do not provide energy (Eighty percent of college football players believe vitamins and minerals provide energy). Energy comes from calories. Vitamins and minerals have no calories. They do, however, play a role in metabolism.

Due to the way various chemicals interact, the consumption of some nutrients affect the body's ability to absorb and use other nutrients. For example phosphorous and vitamin D improve the body's ability to properly utilize calcium. Excessive calcium at the expense of magnesium may lead to migraines, cataracts, irritability, hypertension, kidney stones and calcified arteries. Too much zinc displaces the copper the body needs and vice versa. Different parts of the body need certain pH levels for desired chemical reactions to take place properly. Therefore, a well balanced diet consisting of a wide variety of foods combined with a well balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is essential.

Likewise, the use of drugs (both illegal and legal, prescribed and over-the-counter), alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and even non-caffeinated sodas can affect the absorption of certain nutrients. In some cases, the damaging effects on health may not be made manifest for many years. Therefore, the risks of chronic use of any of these substances must carefully weighed against any real and valid benefits.

Because the body is a self-contained chemistry lab, it cannot function properly without the proper mix of chemicals (vitamins, minerals, calories, proteins, fats, pH, etc). Every meal should be balanced. Having fruit one meal, vegetables the next, and meat the next does not supply the needed nutrients in a balanced mix at the right time for the body's chemical processes to work optimally. Consequently some of the nutrients the body needs are simply eliminated because the balance doesn't exist for absorption.

The National Institutes of Health recommends that we eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits tend to provide more soluble fiber, the kind that helps lower cholesterol levels. Vegetables tend to be higher in insoluble fiber, which helps speed wastes through the colon. Most Americans eat only three servings of fruits and vegetables -- and these are often nutritionally bankrupt foods such as iceberg lettuce and french fries. It is crucial that we increase not only the quantity of fruits and vegetables, but also the variety.

The moment a vegetable or fruit is harvested, its nutritional content begins to decline. The mineral content doesn't decline during storage, but may be leached out during processing. On the other hand, vitamins and phytochemicals start breaking down after harvest as well as during processing. Fresh produce in the grocery store may be several days old and no longer very fresh. They are often picked before they are ripe and ripen during transit and storage. The freshest produce is picked fully ripe and used immediately. Second best is frozen produce which is harvested when fully ripe and processed immediately. Ironically, frozen produce is actually often fresher than anything in the grocer's "fresh" produce section. The freezing stops or greatly slows nutrient deterioration. Cooking releases some vitamins but destroys others, so a combination of cooked and raw fruits and vegetables is recommended.

Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals may cause cravings. Most people tend to satisfy these cravings by consuming foods whose primary nutrient is salt, sugar, and/or refined flour. Avoid satisfying cravings with candy or refined-flour baked goods. These products give a fast energy buzz as blood-sugar levels rise. But the resulting insulin rush causes blood sugar -- and mood -- to slump again. Thus, simple nutritional deficiencies often result in unnecessary weight gain and obesity with associated health complications. Appease cravings with fruit or high-fiber, whole-grain snacks. The sugar in fruit is absorbed more gradually, and fiber slows down absorption, helping to prevent food-linked mood shifts.

Those on a low-fat diet usually need supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins. Without some dietary fat (10-30 percent of total calories is recommended) the body is unable to use fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), insulate internal organs, or maintain normal body temperature. The body uses dietary fats to synthesize blood cholesterol (both HDL and LDL). This cholesterol is essential for creating certain hormones including the sex hormones. Dietary deficiency in fats can thus ultimately adversely affect libido, sexual performance, menstrual regularity, and even fertility.

The prime source of B vitamins is meat. Therefore, vegetarians are at increased risk for deficiency of these vitamins. In addition, iron from plant sources is absorbed only half as well as iron from meat. Vegetarians should take care to ensure they get enough of this mineral.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are not a substitute for a well-balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral supplements should only be viewed as a back-up to allow for day-to-day and meal-to-meal variations of nutrients contained in the diet.

The balance that a good diet provides is essential to good health. For proper absorption and utilization, many nutrients require a certain balance with specific other nutrients. For example, magnesium is required for proper metabolism of vitamin C and foods rich in vitamin C help increase absorption of iron. A good balance of minerals also helps to reduce absorption of toxic levels minerals such as aluminum.

In addition, a good diet provides needed energy, protein, fats, carbohydrates, bulk, fiber, and nutrients not available in a vitamin and mineral supplement. There are perhaps countless nutrients in nature which have not been researched and their role in the body is unknown. These are not available in supplement form and must be obtained through a varied and balanced diet.

Be very attentive when comparing multivitamin/mineral supplements. Look at and compare the contents from brand to brand as well as with the RDA or DV. Some labels show the nutrition available in a single pill. Others show the nutrition in a day's dose which may be several pills. The best overall supplement is often a multivitamin/mineral tablet from a discount warehouse -- not the high-priced name-brand tablet. A single tablet of my inexpensive supplement provides supplementation nearly identical to 4 tablets of another more costly brand! And my cost per day is about 1/10th!

Check the label for an indication of how quickly your supplement dissolves. If not specified on the label, put a tablet in a glass of water to see how quickly it dissolves. There are stories of intact tablets showing up on x-rays and also being excreted in the feces -- not money well spent! A supplement should dissolve in agitated body-temperature water within 30 minutes or less.

Generally, the body can use synthetic vitamins as readily as natural vitamins. Therefore, there is usually no need to pay extra for natural vitamin supplements. Known exceptions are identified in the table below.

Immediately stop taking any supplement and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your supplement may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest

  • Chest pain

  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Keep all supplements locked up and away from children. Store away from heat and direct light. Do not store your supplements in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause nutrients to break down and not work the way they should. Throw away supplements that are out of date or that you do not need.

Mineral Table  |  Other Supplements  |  Return to Top  |  Ol' Buffalo Health Page

Bad Food Bible Vitamin Bible
Bad Food Bible by Dr Aaron Carroll Earl Mindell's New Vitamin Bible


Nutrient Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) Daily Value (DV) Tolerable Upper Level (UL) Good Sources Adverse Effects of Overdose Comments
Vitamin A (retinol) Women: 700 mcg, Men: 500 mcg 5,000 IU (1,500 mcg) retinol for males, 4,000 IU for females 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg); 5,600 IU for children ages 9-13; 3,000 IU for children ages 4-8; 2,000 IU for children ages under 3. Naturally found only in animal sources such as liver, eggs, fatty fish, dairy products. Also added to fortified foods (milk, breakfast cereals, etc) Liver toxicity, birth defects, liver damage, possibly bone loss. Signs of vitamin A toxicity include nausea, coarsening of hair, hair loss, dry or scaly skin, bone pain, fatigue, blurry vision, headache. An antioxidant. See carotenoids below. Requires fats and minerals for proper absorption. Required for proper vision, healthy teeth, skeletal & soft tissue, mucous membranes & skin. Deficiency causes night blindness. Persons who eat a very low fat diet or who have difficulty absorbing fat in the diet are are risk for the deficiency. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and the body can't easily eliminate it in the urine, so it's stockpiled in the liver where injurious amounts eventually can accumulate.
Carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptozanthen, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin) None (National Academy of Sciences advises eating more carotenoid-rich fruits & vegetables) None given. 10,000 to 15,000 IU of beta-carotene are needed to meet the RDA for vitamin A None / unknown (20-20 mg in supplement form for smokers) Orange, orange-yellow, & yellow-green colored fruits & vegetables, green leafy vegetables & greens, yellow corn, honeydew melons, tomatoes. The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the beta carotene content. Only vitamin A is potentially toxic - carotenoids are not. Excess carotenoids are eliminated in the urine. Excess vitamin A, being fat soluble is stored in the body until it reaches toxic levels. Carotenes from fruits & vegetables seem to be safe at dietary levels. However, beta-carotene in supplement form appears to increase risk of lung cancer among long-term smokers. The body regulates conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A based on body's needs. The body normally does not create more vitamin A than it needs. The body is better able to make vitamin A from animal sources as compared to plant sources. Lutein may lower risk of cataracts & retinal degeneration. Lycopene helps prevent DNA damage that can lead to prostate cancer & other malignancies as well as arteriosclerosis. Zeaxanthin helps prevent cataracts & age-related macular degeneration.
Vitamin B-1 (thiamin) Women: 1.1 mg, Men: 1.2 mg 1.5 mg None / unknown. Excess is excreted Pork, liver, oysters, breads, cereals, pasta, foods made with enriched or whole-grain flour, nuts, kidney beans None reported Not stored in the body - must be replaced daily. Destroyed by heat. Helps body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. Essential for functioning of heart & for healthy nerve cells & brain. Deficiency causes beri beri.
Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) Women: 1.1 mg, Men: 1.3 mg 1.7 mg None / unknown Liver, salmon, almonds, mushrooms, milk, yogurt, foods made with enriched or whole-grain flour None reported America's most common vitamin deficiency. Not stored in the body - must be replaced regularly. Not destroyed by heat. Works with other B vitamins & is important for body growth & red cell production. Helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates. May lower risk of cataracts. Deficiency causes skin & eye problems.
Vitamin B-3 (niacin) Women: 14 mg, Men: 16 mg 20 mg 35 mg (from supplements & fortified foods) Meat, liver, poultry, seafood, potatoes, foods made with enriched or whole-grain flour, peanuts, asparagus Flushing (burning, tingling, itching, redness), liver damage, gout Withstands cooking and storage. Essential for production of energy & certain hormones in the body. Plays a role in metabolism of carbohydrates & cholesterol. Essential for proper nervous system and brain function. Cholesterol-lowering doses of niacin should only be taken under a doctor's supervision. Deficiency causes pellagra and negative personality changes.
Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid)   10 mg   Eggs, fish, milk products, whole-grain cereals, legumes, cabbage family, white & sweet potatoes, lean beef None reported Essential for metabolism of food & synthesis of hormones & cholesterol. Helps the adrenal glands. Lowers cholesterol & triglycerides.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) Ages 19-50: 1.3 mg, Women 50+: 1.5 mg, Men 50+: 1.7 mg 2 mg 100 mg Meat, poultry, seafood, fortified foods, liver, whole grains, sunflower seeds, bananas Reversible nerve damage (burning, shooting, tingling pains, numbness, etc) Not stored in the body - must be replaced daily. Most Americans fall short of getting the minimum recommended amount. Required to metabolize protein & for formation of protein. Helps in formation of red blood cells & in maintenance of normal brain function. Assists in synthesizing of antibodies in immune system. Required for hormonal balance. May lower risk of heart disease by lowering homosysteine levels. Deficiency causes nerve disorders.
Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) 2.4 mcg 6 mcg 2000 mcg Meat, liver, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy foods, fortified foods, needs to be taken with calcium for proper absorption None reported Unique among water-soluble vitamins in that it can be stored in the body. It can take up to 3 years to deplete the body's B12 stores, but is is also replenished very slowly. Most Americans fall short of getting the minimum recommended amount. Important for metabolism. Necessary for synthesis of certain proteins, formation of red blood cells, & in maintenance of central nervous system. May reduce tinnitus. People over 50 & vegetarians need a supplement or fortified food. Deficiency causes pernicious anemia, neurological disorders. Fish flesh is a good source of vitamin B-12 which also is essential to a healthy brain.
Folate (folacin, folic acid) 400 mcg 400 mcg 1,000 mcg (from supplements & fortified foods) Orange juice, beans, fruits, vegetables, fortified cereals, foods made with enriched or whole-grain flour), liver, poultry, oysters None reported. Can mask or precipitate a B-12 deficiency which can cause irreversible nerve damage Deteriorates in storage. Most Americans fall short of getting the minimum recommended amount. Works with vitamin B12 in the production of red blood cells. Necessary for cellular division, nervous system function, & synthesis of DNA, which controls heredity as well as tissue growth & cell function. Reduces risk of birth defects. May lower risk of heart disease, cervical, breast, & colon cancer & depression.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Women: 75 mg, Men: 90 mg, Smokers add 35 mg 60 mg 2,000 mg Citrus & other fruits, berries, melon, potatoes, tomatoes, dark green vegetables, fortified foods Diarrhea A antioxidant. Promotes healthy teeth & gums, helps in absorption of iron, & in maintenance of normal connective tissue. Promotes wound healing. Supports immune system function. Vitamin C isn't really a magic pill for fighting colds, but high doses (1,000 mg a day) may shorten cold duration and intensity. Deficiency causes scurvy.
Vitamin D Ages 19-50: 200 IU, Ages 51-70: 400 IU, over 70: 600 IU 400 IU 2,000 IU Sunlight, fatty fish, egg yolks, organ meats, fortified foods High blood calcium which may cause kidney & heart damage A fat-soluble vitamin stored in the body. Most Americans fall short of getting the minimum recommended amount. Acquired through sunlight or diet. The amount of sun exposure needed to get the proper dose of vitamin D depends on a person's skin type, where they live, and time of year, and time of day the exposure occurs. It is difficult for people living in northern climates to get the vitamin D they need from the sun in the winter, but in the summer a light-skinned person at the beach should get all the vitamin D they need in about five minutes. After a suntan is established, vitamin D production through the skin ceases. Promotes absorption of calcium. Necessary for calcium absorption and bone development. Helps maintain adequate blood levels of calcium & phosphorus. Deficiency can cause rickets, bone loss & raise risk of osteoporosis. Inadequate vitamin D is also associated with muscle and bone pain, higher rates of some cancers (too much sun can also cause cancer), heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and even type 1 diabetes. A study published in Neurology in 2004 indicates a 40% reduction in risk of Multiple Sclerosis in women taking 400 IU per day.
Vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol - natural), (dl-alpha-tocopherol or alpha-tocopherol - synthetic) 15 mg, (33 IU synthetic, 22 IU natural) 45 IU
30 IU synthetic
1,000 mg from supplements (1,000 IU synthetic, 1,500 IU natural) Oils, whole grains, wheat germ, leafy vegetables, nuts & seeds, asparagus, cucumber Hemorrhage. Since vitamin E can thin the blood, consult with your physician before taking the supplement if taking anticlotting drugs. Fat soluble. Stored in the body for a short period of time. Most Americans fall short of getting the minimum recommended amount. An antioxidant. Important in formation of red blood cells & use of vitamin K. May lower risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, cataracts. May slow Alzheimer's. 200-400 IU recommended (under doctor supervision) for heart disease prevention. The natural form is reported to be absorbed twice as readily as the synthetic form.
Vitamin F (unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), linolenic acid, arachidonic acid 2-7 g     Supplements, most nuts, sunflower seeds, found in small amounts in dairy products, beef, other meats None reported Prevents cholesterol deposits in arteries. CLA is a fat that actually helps reduce body fat and also helps build muscle.
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) Women: 90 mcg, Men: 120 mcg 80 mcg None / unknown Green leafy vegetables, oils. Bacteria in the intestines normally also produce vitamin K. Interferes with Coumadin & other anti-clotting drugs Fat soluble. Formed by intestinal bacteria. May lower risk of bone fracture. Deficiency can cause blood clotting problems.
Bioflavinoids       Bilberry, blueberry, grape seed, pine bark, citrus, cranberry None reported Deficiency causes scurvy.
Biotin   300 mcg   Eggs, fish, milk products, whole-grain cereals, legumes, cabbage family, white & sweet potatoes, lean beef None reported Essential for metabolism of proteins & carbohydrates & synthesis of hormones & cholesterol. Helps with fatty acid metabolism. Deficiency causes eczema, exhaustion, impairment of fat metabolism.
Choline     3.5 g   High doses can lead to reduced appetite, upset stomach, gas, & diarrhea. Large doses can increase symptoms of depression in some people. Helps metabolize fats & cholesterol. Essential for nerve transmission. Aids memory. Used for liver disease, elevated cholesterol levels, Alzheimer’s disease, & bipolar depression.
Inositol         None reported Helps with fatty acid metabolism. Helps the utilization of certain B-vitamins.
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)       Liver, kidney, brewer's yeast, whole grains, molasses. None reported Important in utilization of protein. combined with folic acid, may reduce graying of hair.

Mineral Table  |  Other Supplements  |  Return to Top  |  Ol' Buffalo Health Page

Weight-control products including dietary supplements, meal replacement bars and shakes.


Nutrient Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) Daily Value (DV) Tolerable Upper Level (UL) Good Sources Adverse Effects of Overdose Comments
Boron     20 mg Grapes, peanuts, vegetables, non-citrus fruits, avocados   Used in prevention & treatment of osteoporosis & arthritis. Lowers risk of prostate cancer. 1-3 mg per day recommended.
Calcium Ages 19-50: 1,000 mg (from supplements), over 50: 1,200 (from supplements) 1,000 mg 2,500 mg Dairy foods (ie 4 glasses of milk), fortified foods, shellfish, molasses, green leafy vegetables, canned fish (eaten with bones) High blood calcium which may cause kidney damage & kidney stones Essential for building & maintaining healthy bones & teeth. May lower risk of osteoporosis, colon cancer. High protein diet increases need for calcium. Promotes weight loss (low calcium raises parathyroid hormone levels causing calcium to accumulate in fat cells and makes it harder for fat to break down). Deficiency causes arthritis, osteoporosis, calcium deposits, bone spurs, brittle nails, cognitive impairment, delusions, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritability, kidney stones, limb numbness, cramps, anxiety, fatigue, PMS. High doses (2,000 mg) may raise risk of prostate cancer. Improperly digested calcium is believed to accumulate in the blood stream and eventually in the kidneys where it can calcify into kidney stones. Calcium gluconate and calcium citrate supplements are most easily absorbed. Some calcium supplements (most notably calcium carbonate) are often derived from oyster shells and are less readily absorbed and may contain detectable (although not harmful) amounts of lead. Calcium carbonate is better absorbed when taken with food, since digestion spurs production of stomach acid which enhances absorption of the calcium carbonate. For optimum absorption, calcium, like many other nutrients must be consumed in a nutritionally balanced diet. For example, calcium is not properly balanced without adequate levels of vitamin D and magnesium.
Chloride   3,600 mg        
Chromium Women: 20-25 mcg, Men: 30-35 mcg 120 mcg None / unknown Whole grains, bran cereals, meat, poultry, seafood Possibly kidney or muscle damage May lower risk of diabetes. Sometimes used to treat diabetes, high triglycerides (blood fat/cholesterol), & hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Deficiency causes anxiety, cholesterol plaque, depression, fatigue, high cholesterol, infertility, decreased sperm count, protein loss.
Cobalt           Deficiency causes anemia, anorexia
Copper 900 mcg 2,000 mcg 10,000 mcg Liver, seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran, whole grains, chocolate Liver damage May help prevent cardiovascular (heart) disease & anemia. May enhance immunity. Used to treat arthritis. Deficiency causes hair loss, anemia, aneurysm, arthritis, depression, dermatosis, diarrhea, dry brittle hair, fatigue, high blood cholesterol, varicose veins, gray/white hair.
Fluoride     10 mg   Long term use of 2.5 ppm or more in children can cause permanent mottling of teeth Helps develop stronger teeth & bones. Used to treat osteoporosis, dental cavities, & ringing in the ears caused by bone loss. 2-4 mg per day recommended. Do take fluoride supplements if the fluoride content in your water is greater than 0.7 ppm
Iodine   150 mcg 1,100 mcg     Used as a supplement for Iodine deficiency (low iodine), thyroid problems, fibrocystic breast disease, cancer, & low immune function. Copper needed to utilize iodine. Deficiency causes cold/heat intolerance, brittle nails, bulging eyes, constipation, depression, dry skin/hair, elevated blood cholesterol, excessive sweating, fatigue, goiter, hair loss, hand tremors, light/heavy menstruation, irritability, insomnia, low sex drive, cramps, poor memory/concentration, rapid pulse, weight gain/loss.
Iron Women 19-50: 18 mg, Women 50+: 8 mg, Men: 8 mg 18 mg 45 mg Red meat, organ meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, foods made with enriched or whole-grain flour, cherry juice, dried fruits Gastrointestinal effects (constipation, nausea, diarrhea) Essential component of red blood cells, Has central role in transporting oxygen throughout body. Plays a role in synthesis of DNA & in energy production in the body. In some people, a gene raises risk of iron overload (hemochromatosis.). Premenopausal women need iron supplementation to replace iron lost during menstruation. Men and menopausal women need less (or no) iron supplementation. Foods rich in vitamin C help increase absorption of iron.
Magnesium Women: 310-320 mg, Men: 400-420 mg 400 mg 400-800 mg from all sources; 350 mg from supplements Green leafy vegetables, whole-grain breads & cereals, nuts Diarrhea Needed for proper metabolism of calcium and vitamin C. May lower risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure. Many arthritis patients have magnesium deficiency. Deficiency is also reported to be associated with anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, migraines, obesity, & stress.
Manganese   2 mg 11 mg Whole grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables   Used as a supplement for diabetes, epilepsy (seizures), Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, & schizophrenia. It is also used for strains, sprains, & inflammation (soreness & swelling).
Molybdenum   75 mcg 2,000 mcg   Large amounts of Molybdenum may produce gout-like symptoms because of increased uric acid production. Used as a supplement for sulfite sensitivity, cancer prevention, asthma, cavity prevention, allergies, & Wilson's disease.
Nickel     1 mg      
Phosphorus 700 mg 1,000 mg Ages 19-70: 4,000 mg, 70+: 3,000 mg Dairy foods, meat, poultry, seafood, whole grains, bananas, dried fruit, foods made with phosphate additives (processed cheese, colas, etc) High blood phosphorus which may damage kidneys & bones Helps maintain body's pH, nerve transmission, & muscle function. With phosphate additives on the rise, look for low-phosphorus multivitamins.
Potassium   4,000 mg   Fruits, vegetables, & fresh meat.   Used as a supplement for potassium depletion that happens with throwing up & diarrhea or with the use of diuretic (water loss) medicines. Also used to treat high blood pressure.
Selenium 55 mcg 70 mcg 400 mcg Seafood, meat, poultry, grains (depends on levels in soil) Nail or hair loss or brittleness An antioxidant. May lower risk of prostate, lung, colon cancer. Also used in treating asthma, burns, & male infertility.
Sodium 2400 mg   2400 mg     Consuming too much salt may contribute to osteoporosis. While excess sodium is excreted in the urine, calcium is lost as well, weakening the bones. Either reduce sodium consumption and/or increase calcium intake.
Vanadium     1.8 mg     Used to treat diabetes & to lower cholesterol levels. May protect against cancer.
Zinc Women: 8 mg, Men: 11 mg 15 mg 40 mg Red meat, seafood, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, organ meats, mushrooms, fortified foods Lower copper levels, HDL (good) cholesterol & immune response Essential for proper immune system function; maintenance of vision, taste & smell; normal skin growth, The average person gets about 1/4 of the UL from food. Properly used, zinc prevents cold viruses from breeding and traveling to your vulnerable nasal passages, sinuses, throat, and lungs. The best method seems to be zinc gluconate nasal spray or lozenges at the very first onset of symptoms (ie scratchy throat).

Mineral Table  |  Other Supplements  |  Return to Top  |  Ol' Buffalo Health Page

Survive a computer disaster with Carbonite

Other Supplements & Nutrients

Nutrient Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) Daily Value (DV) Tolerable Upper Level (UL) Good Sources Adverse Effects of Overdose Comments
Allicin       White-green fruits & vegetables such as green grapes, garlic, onions, celery, pears, endive, chives.   Prevents tumor formation. May reduce size of existing tumors.
Amylase           The enzyme amylase helps to digest carbohydrates.
Anthocyanins       Red & purple fruits & vegetables such as blueberries, grapes, prunes, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, red apples with skin   Potent antioxidants that inhibit blood-clot formation, protecting against stroke. May slow progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Antioxidants       In order of antioxidant potency: blueberries, blackberries, kale, strawberries, oranges, cranberries, asparagus, watercress, red grapes, plums, avocados, pink grapefruit, raspberries, cherries, spinach, sweet red peppers, white grapes, broccoli, apples, alfalfa sprouts, bananas, peas, pears, tomatoes, cantaloupe, peach, cauliflower, apricots, carrots   Antioxidants boost the immune system and help protect cells from damage by free radicals (oxidants) resulting from pollutants such as cigarette smoke and smog. Some oxidants also are naturally occurring. These rogue molecules wander around the body contributing to a host of ailments from heart disease to cancer. Since different antioxidants seem to affect different parts of the body, it is recommended that you to take a blend of antioxidant-rich food daily. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables supplies loads of these disease-fighting antioxidants. However, the antioxidant power of individual foods varies widely. Cooking releases some antioxidants but destroys others, so a combination of cooked and raw fruits and vegetables is recommended. Foods rich in antioxidants are usually deeply colored, because the pigments are potent antioxidants. Many fruits and vegetables which are low in antioxidants are rich in other disease-fighting substances, so it's still wise to eat a wide range of plant foods.
Arginine           An amino acid essential only in children.
Bacteria       Nature usually provides all the bacteria needed for proper digestive tract function. At times it my be helpful to supplement with yogurt or buttermilk with live cultures of bacteria   Bacteria are an essential part of the digestive process. They help to break down foods into components useable by the body's cells. Some bacteria create certain vitamins in the digestive tract. A proper balance of beneficial bacteria helps to control harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. Persons who have been on an antibiotic program to control infection often lose this bacterial balance in the gut. Buttermilk or yogurt with live acidophilus cultures can help to restore this balance. Acidophilus also helps the body to control yeast infection.
Beta-glucanase           Beta-glucanase is an enzyme which helps to break down soluble fiber found in plants.
Calories Varies with age, sex, body type, activity level, etc. Varies with age, sex, body type, activity level, etc. Varies with age, sex, body type, activity level, etc. Foods with high nutritional value Obesity and associated health problems In nutrition, the term calorie refers to the amount of energy contained in food. The body must have energy (calories) simply to live. Calories are burned in every cell to provide the energy required for cellular function. Calories are burned to provide the energy for the body to do work or play (heart and brain function, breathing, walking, running, seeing, etc). We even need and burn calories when sleeping. Calorie restriction (along with exercise) is an essential part of a healthy weight-loss plan. However, cutting calorie intake too much can trigger the "starvation adaptation response" or "famine mode" wherein the metabolism slows down to conserve and store calories (in the form of fat) rather than burn them. Dieting tends to eliminate muscle as well as fat. A low-calorie diet also reduces leptin levels -- a 1,000-calorie diet cuts leptin levels in half resulting in an appetite rebound that makes you hungrier than ever. Many weight-loss experts discourage cutting calories by more than 500 per day to avoid the "starvation adaptation response". A calorie deficit of up to 500 calories per day is, indeed, essential for weight-loss, but this deficit should be created by splitting the 500-calorie deficient between increased exercise (burn more calories) and reduced calorie intake. Don't reduce calorie intake to less than 10 times your ideal weight. Never go below 1,200 calories for women and 1,600 calories for men.
Carbohydrates   300g        
Cellulase           Cellulase is the only enzyme the body needs which it does not manufacture itself. This enzyme helps to break down fiber.
Chondroitin       Supplements usually are made from cartilage harvested from cattle.   May help symptoms of joint discomfort by slowing deterioration of cartilage. May also help restore & stabilize cartilage. 1,200 mg per day recommended in two doses of 600 mg each - one dose with breakfast, one with dinner. Chondroitin sulfate has been coupled with glucosamine in some supplements. While it has been demonstrated that glucosamine can be absorbed and attaches to cartilage, many researchers believe that chondroitin sulfate cannot be absorbed in supplement form. For this reason, it is suggested to take glucosamine supplements without chondroitin.
Conjugated linoleic acid       Supplements and range-fed beef and dairy products. Compared to previous generations, Americans are deficient in CLA, because changes in cattle-feeding practices have decreased CLA content in meat and milk. For optimal CLA production, cattle need to graze on grass rather than be artificially fattened in feed lots. The meat of grass-fed cattle contains up to four times as much CLA. Today's dairy products have only about one third of the CLA content they had before 1960.   Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid (essential means it is not synthesized in the human body and must be obtained through diet or supplements). Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring isomer of linoleic acid. CLA is found in relatively large quantities in the milk and/or meat of range fed (grasses & greens) animals such as beef and poultry. In the body, CLA appears to be metabolized differently from linoleic acid. It shows strong anti-cancer properties, is particularly effective in inhibiting breast and prostate tumors, as well as colorectal, stomach, and skin cancer, including melanoma. Scientists found CLA to be more strongly anti-carcinogenic than other fatty acids. It has antioxidant properties. CLA supplementation has been shown to improve the lean mass to body fat ratio, decreasing fat deposition, especially on the abdomen, and enhancing muscle growth. CLA has the ability to increase muscle mass and reduce fat mass, creating a leaner, more muscular physique, without altering hormone levels, making it effective for both men and women.
Enzymes           Enzymes make life possible by making chemical reactions occur, controlling metabolic functions, and by controlling nearly all biochemical reactions in the body. Countless different enzymes function in every cell of the body. Enzymes are very specialized in their function. Digestive enzymes, created in the pancreas and salivary glands, are an essential part of the digestive process. These enzymes, in conjunction with beneficial bacteria and digestive acids produced by the body, break down foods into components useable by the body's cells. The body normally manufactures most of the enzymes it needs. Although supplementation is rarely needed, enzymes found in many foods are beneficial to good health. Body production of enzymes declines with age -- about 1% per year of live. Enzymes from plant sources seem to be more helpful than enzymes from animal sources. Enzymes are very fragile and are destroyed during storage and when cooked. Therefore, fresh, raw foods are the best source for dietary enzymes.
Fats & oils Recommend 2000 mg fish oil daily with at least 300 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 200 mg docosahexaenioc acid (DHA). 65g       Fat is a necessary component for energy, hormone production, brain and nerve activity, healthy skin, good digestion, and the absorption of nutrients. Depression, fatigue, eczema, poor memory, PMS, gall bladder disease, autoimmune disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis may be helped by addition of healthful fats and oils. Including some healthy fat with breakfast (olive oil, fish, nuts etc) helps you feel fuller, facilitates nutrient absorption, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. It is recommended that 10-30 percent of total calories be from fats & oils. Fats and oils improve the palatability of foods and make them more satisfying. A Brigham & Women's Hospital study confirmed that persons on a 1,200-calorie diet where 35% of calories were from mostly unsaturated fats (such as those found in olive oil and nuts) lost weight more quickly and kept it off longer than persons on 1,200-calorie diet with fats limited to 20% of calories. Fats add flavor, and a more flavorful diet may be easier to stick with. Again, balance and moderation in the diet is crucial for good health. Eating fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) once a week is associated with a 44% reduction in fatal heart attacks. However, fats are packed with calories, can contribute to health problems even if weight is normal, and boosts blood insulin levels. Increased insulin levels increase the amount of fat-storing LPL (lipoprotein-lipase) in your fat cells while decreasing amounts of fat-burning LPL in your muscles. Also see Omega-3.
Fiber   25g   Fruits, vegetables, grains. Processing tends to remove or break down fiber making it less beneficial.   Fiber helps to make you feel full at meal time. Processed foods are low in fiber which tends to contribute to overeating. Fiber helps to maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels. Fiber helps to carry toxins through the bowels. Fiber helps to control LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Fish oil Recommend 2000 mg fish oil daily with at least 300 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 200 mg docosahexaenioc acid (DHA).     Oily cold-water fish   The primary nutrient in fish oil capsules would be omega-3 fatty acids. Some fish oil capsules also provide some vitamin A and vitamin D depending on the type of fish and how the oil is processed. Contains omega-3 fatty acids which protect the heart as well as the joints. Fish oil should be used with caution by children and pregnant women to avoid the possibility of mercury contamination. Extracting the oil and selling it as capsules probably increases the mercury problem, so using fish oil capsules as the primary source of omega-3s is not recommended. Fish oil capsules often contain oil from anchovies, sardines, and/or mackerel -- all oily fish, but not necessarily from cold waters where the best fish oil is harvested.
Flax seed oil           Contains omega-3 fatty acids which protect the heart as well as the joints. 1000 mg per day recommended.
Garlic       Garlic   May help maintain heart health. 800-1,000 mg per day recommended.
Geraniol       Orange-yellow fruits & vegetables such as oranges, tangerines, peaches, papayas, lemons, nectarines.   Cancer-fighting phytonutrient.
Glucosamine     3-5 g     May play a role in building cartilage & helping body to repair joints. For osteoarthritis treatment, the usual daily dose is 1,500 mg per day taken all at once or divided into 500 mg doses, three times a day. People weighing more than 200 pounds are advised to increase their dosage to 2,000 mg/day. Glucosamine will probably not work for rheumatoid arthritis since the mechanism of cartilage damage in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are completely different. Glucosamine is manufactured from the chitin exoskeleton of shellfish (lobster, crab, and shrimp), and although the pharmaceutical grade of glucosamine is generally devoid of shellfish contaminants, people with severe shellfish allergies need to exercise caution when taking this supplement. Glucosamine has been coupled with chondroitin sulfate in some supplements. While it has been demonstrated that glucosamine can be absorbed and attaches to cartilage, many researchers believe that chondroitin sulfate cannot be absorbed in supplement form. For this reason, it is suggested to take glucosamine supplements without chondroitin.
Hemicellulase           A group of enzymes that breaks down complex polysaccharides known as hemicellulose.
Histidine           An amino acid essential only in children.
Indoles       Green vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, kale.   Stimulates production of carcinogen-deactivating enzymes. Believed to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells.
Isoleucine           An amino acid generally regarded as essential for humans.
Isothiocyanate       Green vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, kale.   Stimulates production of carcinogen-deactivating enzymes. Believed to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells.
Lactase           The enzyme lactase digests lactose, the form of sugar found in milk. Lactase is produced by the body, but lactase production declines after childhood. Acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria can help many persons who have problems digesting dairy products.
Lecithin   400-450 mg per day   Grains, legumes, egg yolks   Main component of cell membranes. Necessary for neurotransmitter function. Essential for metabolizing of fats.
Leucine       Grains are a poor source of leucine and other protein sources must be included in the diet.   One of the 20 most common amino acids found in proteins. Nutritionally, in humans, leucine is an essential amino acid. Essential for optimal growth in infancy and childhood and for nitrogen equilibrium in adults. It is suspected that leucine plays a part in maintaining muscles by equalizing synthesis and breakdown of proteins.
Limonene       Orange-yellow fruits & vegetables such as oranges, tangerines, peaches, papayas, lemons, nectarines.   Cancer-fighting phytonutrient.
Lipase           Lipase is an enzyme which helps the body to digest fats which can cause the formation of triglycerides. Lipase also helps the body burn fats for energy and to effectively use fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. People who are overweight or obese often have a lipase deficiency.
Lysine   500–1500 mg daily   High protein foods, milk, egg whites, legumes, fish. Cereal grains area poor source and other protein sources must be included in the diet.   An essential amino acid necessary for body function & manufacturing proteins. A deficiency in lysine can result in a deficiency in niacin (a B Vitamin). This can cause the disease pellagra. Lysine can also be used as a nutritional supplement to help against herpes.
Melatonin           Promotes restful sleep. One of the most powerful antioxidants known, crossing the blood/brain barrier to stimulate the immune system. May reduce the amount of damage resulting from radiation treatment and x-rays. Natural melatonin production from the pineal gland diminishes with age, lack of exposure to sunlight, and disease.
Methionine       Fruits, vegetables, and legumes. High levels of methionine can be found in spinach, green peas, corn, navel and mandarin oranges, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, kidney beans, black turtle beans, tofu, and tempeh. Beef is a poor source of methionine and other protein sources must be included in the diet.   An amino acid generally regarded as essential for humans. Methionine and cysteine are the only sulfur-containing proteinogenic amino acids. Methionine plays a role in cysteine, carnitine and taurine synthesis by the transsulfuration pathway, lecithin production, the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and other phospholipids. Improper conversion of methionine can lead to atherosclerosis. Methionine is a chelating agent.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)       Milk, meat, seafood   Aids carbohydrate metabolism. A sulfur-containing compound that may help joints. Up to 3000 mg per day - 1000 mg per meal - recommended. Inhibits pain and joint inflammation/deterioration. MSM has been shown to eliminate one of the main causes of snoring which is the narrowing of the naso-pharynageal airway resulting in the vibrating of tissues in the throat. MSM effectively eliminates this narrowing through the strengthening and added flexibility it gives to the mucus membranes. Reduce dosage if you experience intestinal discomfort or skin rash.
Omega-3 fatty acids Recommend 2000 mg fish oil daily with at least 300 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 200 mg docosahexaenioc acid (DHA).     Oily cold-water fish   Omega-3s cut the risk of blood clots and thus lessen the chance of a heart attack. One of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, commonly known as DHA, is among the most important fatty acids in components of brain cell gray matter and in the eye's retina. Lack of omega-3 fats in the diet can lead to depression, poor memory, low IQ, learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD and many more mental disorders. Researchers studied 3,700 Chicago residents who were 65 and older. The participants took some simple tests of mental acuity three times in 6 years. Those who ate one fish meal a week had a 10% slower annual decline in thinking than those who ate little or no fish. Those who ate 2 fish meals a week had a 13% slower decline. Researchers didn't measure the subjects' blood levels for healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the kind you get from fish so they couldn't prove why fish helped. The omega-3 oils are not the only component of fish that helps the brain. It's also important to get the fish protein, too, and the capsules wouldn't have that. The colder the water, the more nutritious and safer the fish. Omega-3s are best obtained from oily cold-water fish such as salmon and cod. In general, the colder the water, the higher the omega-3 content in the fish oil with less mercury. Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, herring, mackerel and anchovies are all high in omega-3s. An important advantage of salmon is that it is high in omega-3s, but tends to have a lot less mercury contamination than
other fishes. Eating real fish should be the primary source because that helps to mitigate any mercury
threat. Two 4-ounce servings of omega-3-rich fish per week is believed to be sufficient to maintain a healthy level of omega-3s in the diet. To help the body repair brain damage, double that -- 4 servings a week. The UK Food Standards Agency advises that boys, men and women past reproductive age eat up to four portions of fish a week, and that women of child-bearing age eat up to two portions. Also see fats & oils.
Phenylalanine           An amino acid generally regarded as essential for humans.
Phytase           Phytase is an enzyme which digests phytate, a mineral-binding agent which reduces the absorption of dietary minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium.
Protease           This enzyme helps to break down dietary protein into components useable at the cellular level to build and repair muscles (including the heart).
Protein   50g   Meat, seafood, poultry, dairy products, eggs, beans, peas, whole grains   Proteins are used to make neurotransmitters and are essential to improve mental performance. Contrary to popular sports myth, taking extra protein does not enhance muscle weight gain. Instead, excess protein can cause dehydration and kidney and liver problems. According to the American Heart Assn and many other health experts, diets which concentrate on protein consumption such as the Dr. Atkins, Zone, Protein Power, and Stillman diets are unhealthy because they don't provide the balanced diet the body needs. Foodstuffs that lack essential amino acids are poor sources of protein equivalents, as the body tends to deaminate the amino acids obtained, converting proteins into fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, a balance of essential amino acids is necessary for a high degree of net protein utilization, which is the mass ratio of amino acids converted to proteins to amino acids supplied. The net protein utilization is profoundly affected by the limiting amino acid content (the essential amino acid found in the smallest quantity in the foodstuff), and somewhat affected by salvage of essential amino acids in the body. It is therefore a good idea to mix foodstuffs that have different weaknesses in their essential amino acid distributions. This limits the loss of nitrogen through deamination and increases overall net protein utilization. Fish is a nutrient-dense food and a good source of protein - most varieties contain around 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving, the same as meat.
SAM-e   400 mg per day       An antioxidant. Involved in over 40 biochemical reactions in the body. Critical for mood regulation & joint stability.
Sulforaphane       Green vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, kale.   Stimulates production of carcinogen-deactivating enzymes. Believed to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells.
Threonine       Cottage cheese, poultry, fish, meat, lentils, and sesame seeds Rice is a poor source of threonine and other protein sources must be included in the diet.   An amino acid generally regarded as essential for humans.
Tryptophan       Tryptophan, found as a component of dietary protein, is particularly plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey, and peanuts. Maize (corn) is a poor source of tryptophan and other protein sources must be included in the diet.   An amino acid generally regarded as essential for humans. The main function of tryptophan is as a building block in protein synthesis. Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin (a neurotransmitter), melatonin (a neurohormone), and niacin. Tryptophan has been implicated as a possible cause of schizophrenia in people who cannot metabolize it properly. When improperly metabolized it creates a waste product in the brain which is toxic and causes hallucinations and delusions. Tryptophan has also been indicated as an aid for schizophrenic patients.
Valine       Cottage cheese, fish, poultry, beef, peanuts, sesame seeds, and lentils.   An amino acid generally regarded as essential for humans.
Water 8 glasses a day - minimum. The water may be consumed in liquids other than pure water (ie juice, milk, etc) 8 glasses a day - minimum       75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Even mild dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study. Lack of water is the primary cause of daytime fatigue. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily reportedly decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. Every cell, every tissue, every organ in our body needs water to function. Even your bones are made up of about 22 percent water. Water is vital to (1) regulate body temperature, (2) transport nutrients, (3) act as a medium for metabolic reactions, (4) carry waste away, and (5) provide form and structure to cells. Our bodies are largely made up of water, which accounts for approximately 55 to 65 percent of total body weight. For a 175-pound person, that equals approximately 12 to 14 gallons of water. Most people tend to be chronically dehydrated -- when you begin to feel thirsty, you are already a quart (liter) low! Drink one-half once of water per day for each pound of body weight -- about 10 eight ounce glasses per day for a 150-pound person. Increase by 50% in hot weather or when exercising vigorously. Loss of fluid may be a major factor in cartilage deterioration. Water is essential for weight loss; it helps the body metabolize fat for energy. At least one "authority" recommends specially purified water (which only he sells). He says that only this purified water can be properly used by the body. However, he has no answer for the fact that his purified water is immediately contaminated as soon as it touches the lips and enters the digestive system! Don't be fooled, all you really need is fresh, clean water, juice, etc.

Mineral Table  |  Other Supplements  |  Return to Top  |  Ol' Buffalo Health Page

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1,000 mcg = 1 mg; 1,000 mg = 1 g

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) given for adults only. The RDA initially was not established to define a nutrient level for optimum health. Instead, the RDA provides base amounts of nutrients needed to prevent deficiency diseases such as scurvy. It does not take into consideration factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, caffeine, medications, stress, illness, etc. which all deplete nutrients. Taking higher than recommended doses (RDA) of single-nutrient supplements should be done under a physician's supervision.

Daily Value (DV) also called US Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA). Appears on food and supplement labels. Unlike RDAs, there is only one Daily Value for everyone over age four.

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the upper safe daily limit for adults.

The B vitamins help regulate three key neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. A low supply of any of these can lead to fatigue and depression.

Warning - Some supplements may interact or interfere with certain medications. Consult your physician or pharmacist for details.

Be especially wary of fad diets. Although their authors would disagree, virtually all popular diet books are flawed and dangerous or unhealthy to some extent -- some much more than others. For most people, the best road to safe and permanent weight loss is a combination of a moderate reduction in calorie consumption, a properly balanced diet of a wide variety of foods, and increased moderate exercise. Anything else is a mere fad and usually leads to frustration and failure for most people (except the enriched authors).

The author of this web page assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information contained herein. All information has been collected from sources which can reasonably be considered reliable. This information not intended to substitute for quality medical care and advice. It is not recommended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is recommended that all information be confirmed with your physician or a registered dietitian. It is recommended that you obtain regular preventive health care from you physician.

Mineral Table  |  Other Supplements  |  Return to Top  |  Ol' Buffalo Health Page

Sources of information: Consumer Reports on Health, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harvey Watt Aviation Medical Bulletin, Journal of Nutrition, National Academy of Sciences, Nutrition Action Healthletter, US Food & Drug Administration, Vitamin Bible by Mindell.

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