Blood Pressure - Daily Supplement

Your body requires nineteen vitamins and minerals daily in addition to protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber to function normally. These requirements are expressed in terms of the recommended daily in-take (RDI).

Vitamins and most minerals are required in trace, or very small, quantities. For example, every day you need just 400 micrograms (400 millionths of a gram) of the B vitamin folic acid.

Compared to that, calcium is required in large amounts ranging from 1,000 milligrams (1 gram) for most people up to about age fifty; then the need increases to 1,200 milligrams, and some experts claim 1,500 milligrams is needed.

Magnesium’s requirement is midway between 200 to 400 milligrams daily. With the exception of calcium and magnesium, all your vitamin and mineral needs can be packed into a single tablet about 1 gram in weight.

Taking a balanced multivitamin and mineral supplement daily is insurance against a shortfall. Use a supplement that provides the vitamins and minerals in the amounts listed in Table below.

With the exceptions of calcium and magnesium, supplements that contain values within 10 to 20 percent of those listed in Table below are readily available in most supermarkets, drugstores, health food stores, and even discount stores.

It is important that your supplement contains all these vitamins and minerals and that you take it daily. Usually the product you select will have less calcium and magnesium than suggested.

Your diet already contains excess phosphorus and about 20 percent of the magnesium you need. If the product you select comes within 20 percent of the calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus levels listed in Table below, it is fine.

Don’t select a supplement that varies in these three areas by more than that amount. Most vitamins are safe at ten or more times the RDI, so if you choose to do as I do and take some extra, you don’t have to worry— you’re not harming yourself.

Vitamins Amount per Tablet* Percent U.S. RDI
Vitamin A (as beta carotene) 2,500 IU** (500 mcg RE***) 50.0
Vitamin D 200 IU (5 mcg) 50.0
Vitamin E 15 IU (5 mg alphatocopherol equivalents) 50.0
Vitamin C 30 mg 50.0
Folic acid 0.20 mg 50.0
Thiamin (B1) 0.75 mg 50.0
Riboflavin (B2) 0.86 mg 50.0
Niacin 10 mg 50.0
Vitamin B6 1 mg 50.0
Vitamin B12 3 mcg 50.0
Biotin 0.15 mg (150 mcg) 50.0
Pantothenic acid 5 mg 50.0
Calcium 125 mg 25.0
Phosphorus 180 mg 40.0
Iodine 75 mcg 50.0
Iron 9 mg 50.0
Magnesium 50 mg 12.5
Copper 1 mg 50.0
Zinc 1 mg 50.0
Selenium 50 mcg ****
Manganese 0.50 mg ****
Chromium 50 mcg ****
Molybdenum 30 mcg ****
* Two tablets provide 100 percent U.S. RDI for all nutrients except calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
** International Units.
*** Microgram retinol equivalents.
****U.S. RDI not established.

Recent studies of elderly people indicate that our needs increase as we get older, so taking more than the RDI is undoubtedly beneficial. However, taking excessive amounts of some trace minerals, such as zinc, can be detrimental to health, so more is not always better.

Common Question

  • Aren’t the excess vitamins and minerals I excreted just creating expensive urine?

Especially when you’re under stress, but even if you’re starving, your body will lose some vitamins and minerals daily through excretion.

Under most conditions, your urine is truly “expensive.” If your blood level of nutrients is high, your urine level will also be high; that is normal human physiology.

  • Isn’t it expensive to take vitamins and minerals?

In our society, each person spends on average $1 daily on soft drinks. The multiple vitamin and mineral supplement costs less than 25 cents daily. Is your health worth 25 cents a day? Expensive is only meaningful by comparison.

  • A salesperson I know sells a brand of vitamins not available in stores. He says they’re better and are all natural, but they’re quite expensive. Should I use them?

Just about all vitamins are made by five companies world-wide. Every atom in each vitamin is as natural as the atom in any other vitamin.

My advice is to go with a good brand name because brand-name firms have the most to lose if something goes wrong and therefore usually have the best quality control.

  • I notice some companies have products that are targeted to specific age groups. I can understand supplements made specifically for children, but what about those aimed at seniors?

If the supplement supplies at least what is listed in Table above, it is fine. A little more won’t hurt and can actually help. Some studies have shown that certain age groups, especially older groups, require larger quantities of certain vitamins and minerals.