While taking a mega pea dosage of vitamins and minerals can cause serious problems, the opposite is also true. When micronutrients like vitamins and minerals are in short supply, your body, being so intelligently created, temporarily reserves what is needed for the most essential organs.
However, those tasks that are not critical will suffer. God created our bodies to do this so that we can survive. If this happens occasionally, it should not be a problem. However, if there are chronic shortages this will result in health problems. Two well known examples of problems these types of shortages can cause are rickets (vitamin D deficiency) and scurvy (vitamin C deficiency).
The most common reason for these chronic shortages is a bad diet – pure and simple. No surprise there. Of course there are other factors that could contribute to these deficiencies such as medications, stress, habits like smoking, drinking, certain illnesses and even dehydration.
Vitamins and minerals act in a variety of ways: as antioxidants; stabilizers of proteins; and as enzyme cofactors. They are involved in all body functions, including the maintenance and repair of your DNA (genes).
That last one is extremely important. When your DNA is not correctly or efficiently repaired because of nutrient deficiencies, that is known to contribute to increased cancer risk, accelerated aging and other degenerative diseases. In fact, many of the major killers – athersclerosis, most cancers and type II diabetes – can be prevented and in some cases reversed by improving diet and proper supplementation.
While mega dosing is definitely not the answer, adhering to the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) may actually not be enough. So what is the right amount of a vitamin or mineral to get each day?
There are recommended intake levels for selected nutrients based on RDAs from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. Where no RDA is established, AIs (Adequate Intake) levels have been established.
Just as it sounds – “adequate” doesn’t mean “optimal.” Adequate is just enough to keep you from major problems, but not enough to improve health or reverse a condition.
It was very recently decided to remove the “100% RDA” option for setting maximum levels of vitamins and minerals. This means that the maximum level of each vitamin/mineral contained in a supplement could not exceed 100% of the RDA.
This is important because in most cases the RDAs are extremely low. When studies are done on what supplements can improve a particular condition, the amounts are always more than the RDAs.