Know Your ABC’s & Your DEK’s.

vitamin 6[This is #5 of 16 blogs that will be the basis of a book project – “16 Simple Truths to Lose Weight, Gain Strength and Be Happy.” The goal is to send the manuscript to a publisher by mid-October. Each of 16 chapters will cover one specific “truth.” Each blog, published every Monday, will be a synopsis of each chapter. You are now cordially invited to join the process. Please leave a comment and offer your thoughts, ideas and insight. Thank you.]

Should I take a daily multi-vitamin? This is the most frequently asked question I get, with the sole exception of one other. That #1 question, typically comes between gasps of air, and is some variation of, “How much more?” But relax there’s no training session today, just a nice relaxed read and a bit of pondering. In chapter two we coined the phrase “think, read, repeat, before you eat!” The idea is to not only be cognizant of what you’re about to eat, in terms of calories, but even more importantly to know how nutrient dense or deficient it is. Some researchers now hypothesize that one possible cause or factor in the obesity epidemic is linked to our body’s quest for nutrients.

Basically, your body continues to send messages of hunger until it gets at least a minimum amount of nutrients to power the machine and all its systems: respiratory, digestive, nervous, endocrine, muscular and so on. How cool is that? Well, assuming we ate proper portions of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and lean meat and whole grains, it truly would be awesome. However, when we consume empty calories, that is high calorie foods without the whiz bang macronutrients that fuel the body’s magic, the nutrient fill line is never reached. Instead, the body is tricked into leaving out the open for feeding sign and the calories are pegging the RPM gauge, while the nutrient count moves as slowly as the fuel gauge of a small hybrid. Bottom line, forget “moderation” and minimize, the killer C’s; cake/cookies, cream, cola, chips and candy. But keep your spirits up, I’ve created a new food group – Dark Chocolate.

Just remember, if you fuel your body well it will turn off those late night cravings i.e., search for nutrients. Regardless if researchers are right or not, and I absolutely believe they are, we know for a fact that proper nutrition allows us to optimize our health, providing energy, stamina and vitality. Of course those tiny, valiant vitamins also keep us from diseases and other nasty conditions. We’ve already learned in this blog series, and one day book, what a proper meal looks like in terms of food selection and quantity to net these molecular wonders. Please refer back to our first 4 blogs in our series “16 Simple Truths to Lose Weight, Gain Strength, and Be Happy:”

  1. You’re Wasting Time Counting Calories
  2. Three Pairs Win Every Time (nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, lean meat and whole grains)
  3. Bag, Box or Bottle – Buyer Beware
  4. The leading Cause of Obesity Is “Moderation”

vitamin 5Learning about your ABC’s and D, E, K’s is as important as a kindergartener learning the alphabet. Otherwise, your diet begins “two lok mor lik a childs first riting.” In other words, your body is missing valuable letters that cause the system to slow down, become less efficient and possibly fail in one of countless ways. Now, ideally you would get every vitamin and mineral you need in your diet. That is clearly optimal. But, it is not a perfect world in which we live. Darn the luck, right? But we can improve our diets. We can eat out less, reduce the amount of packaged foods we eat, utilize what we’ve learned about portion size, stop using the word “moderation” in favor of the word “minimize,” and put the brakes on those items you know you shouldn’t eat (ex: skip the three slices of meat lovers pizza in favor of a single slice of veggie pizza and a side salad). Now for a little insurance – the daily multi-vitamin.

There are at least six reasons that a capsulated nutritional insurance policy should be considered:

  1. Increased physical activity
  2. Increased stress
  3. A known nutrition deficiency
  4. Digestive issues
  5. Specific strength and power goals
  6. Medical diagnosis

vitamin 7Given all the above the only real question is which multi-vitamin to choose. There are hundreds of brands. While I have tried many, I will refrain from saying there is a single best option. What I will share are a few guidelines for you to choose what may work best for you. I will also share with you what I currently use after years of being none committal to any single brand. So unless you’re currently eating 7 – 10 fist size servings of fresh, whole, fruits and vegetables every day, read on brother. What you’re looking for is a comprehensive blend of vitamins and minerals – that is 100% of DV (daily value) for A, B, C, D, E and K vitamins. In terms of minerals were talking at a minimum calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium. Iron I prefer to separate into another supplement as men generally get what trace amount they need. For women, with approval of a physician or dietician, I would add an iron supplement. You also want to make sure the minerals are chelated to optimize absorption (while not proven, yet, worth a few extra cents for the hope). By the way, chelated means “firmly attached”, usually to an amino acid or other organic component so that the two do not disassociate in the digestive system and hence more easily absorbed. Also, look for vitamins with no unnecessary additives such as artificial sweeteners or colors.

exos5Personally, I discovered EXOS, which recently merged with another powerhouse, Thorne Research. Together they are pioneering human performance and have grown to become a leader in proactive health. They are trusted by elite athletes, and more importantly our finest soldiers. I don’t know about you but that’s good enough for me. These men and women are the next best thing to your favorite super hero. EXOS formulates and manufactures premium hypoallergenic dietary supplements that are available through licensed health-care practitioners. You can check out a short list of their products and even purchase at, which includes my favorite, Multi-Vitamin Elite A.M. and Multi-Vitamin Elite P.M. The A.M. dose includes antioxidant benefits and anti-inflammatory immune response benefits, while the P.M. dose includes a proprietary blend of ingredients to aid in managing stress, weight and improving mood. I also take an additional B vitamin with Relora, which helps balance cortisol levels, supports health weight management and reduces stress-related food cravings.

To learn more about vitamins, the foods where you’ll find them, and the role they each play in your body click here.

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