Taking some vitamins solo is as effective
as shaving your head to win a custody battle. Get maximum benefits by rubbing
them the right way. Some vitamins and minerals are needier than Britney. Taking
them without their significant others known in the biz as 'co-factors' can make
them next to useless. "Some nutrients compete with others, so by taking
one supplement, you may cause yourself a deficiency in another," says
accredited practicing dietitian Melanie McGrice, of nutrition plus.com.au.
And according to the head of Evelyn Faye nutrition, former pharmacist Ian
Collins, certain medications can mess up the mechanics of some supplements
worse than a DIY buzz-cut. Likewise, some nutrients, whether in food or pills,
can undermine certain meds. With four million Australians knocking back vitamin
and mineral pills at last count, the scary part is that most vitamin and
mineral supplements are purchased over the counter - or even online with
varying degrees of expert advice. Collins insists on staffing his business with
qualified naturopaths, but the same may not be true when you load your trolley
at a discount chemist. His advice? Always ask an accredited nutritionist or
naturopath for further advice before taking nutritional or herbal supplements,
and ask a pharmacist or doctor about medication clashes. And don't think
natural means no worries. Even greens and grapefruit can cause havoc with some
medicines. Finally, don't mistake a bottle of magnesium for a license to
subsist on frozen meals. "Always check the brands, doses and types of
nutritional supplements with your dietician and choose food over supplements
whenever possible," McGrice concludes. Now, about your three wishes...
This is one of the most common supplement
staples, zinc's a little sensitive when it comes to absorption, with many
common factors causing excessive loss of zinc. Think stress, alcohol,
cigarettes, gastrointestinal and digestive disorders and chronic diarrhea.
Deficiency can be associated with acne, brittle nails, impaired wound healing,
loss of taste and smell, low sperm counts, poor concentration, increased
incidence of colds/flus.
The RDI for Australian adults is 8-14mg/day.
On a plate:
Shellfish, red meat, eggs, milk, sunflower seeds, whole grains.
Oysters are the richest source of zinc,
with one oyster (50g) providing around 8mg of zinc.
Enemies: Excessive calcium impairs zinc
levels, as they both compete for absorption. The same is true for iron. Alcohol
and some prescription meds may also inhibit zinc absorption.
stress, alcohol, cigarettes, gastrointestinal and digestive disorders and
You wish: Immunity & wound healing
Symptom: White spots on your nails
Best buds: Vitamin A, B6, D, E and Magnesium
Arch Enemes: Booze
Best Tim: Morning, after breakfast
red meat, eggs, milk, sunflower seeds, whole grains.
An essential mineral involved in over 300
metabolic reactions including energy production, magnesium is one of the most
widely used supplements, especially among athletes. According to Collins, it's
used in every muscle movement and nerve conduction. Exercise increases the
body's demand for magnesium as it's excreted through sweat.
According to Collins, "most people are low in magnesium, especially as you
get older; magnesium becomes more and more important, with its role in
preventing muscular cramps and maintaining heart health". Deficiency signs
include anxiety, cold hands and feet, chronic fatigue, cramps, irregular
heartbeat, hypertension, insomnia, PMS, poor growth and vertigo.
RDI for Australian adults is 310-420mg/day.
On a plate:
Almonds, barley, molasses, wholegrain cereals, kelp, eggs, seeds. Add 1/2 a cup
of oat bran to your morning muesli or smoothie for extra 96mg of magnesium.
Similar to zinc. High levels of calcium or iron may compete with magnesium for
utilization. Excess consumption of caffeine and alcohol also prohibits the
absorption of magnesium.
to Collins, it's used in every muscle movement and nerve conduction.
Your wish: Stave off muscular cramps
Symptom: Killer PMS
Best buds: Vitamin B1, B6, C, D, potassium,
boron and calcium
Arch Enemies: Caffeine
Best time: "In the morning, says Collins,
after breakfast and one to two hours clear of coffee or tea.
Metabolic function? Check. Stress relief?
Check. But B Vitamins are water soluble, which means they are eliminated
quickly, so you need to clue up on how to get the benefits before they
you fancy some offal, liver is a fantastic source of all the B Vitamins,
especially B5 with 85g chicken liver providing 7mg.
A classic sign of B vitamin deficiency is "cracked lips" says Ian.
Generally speaking symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, poor immunity, sleepiness
and weakness and mainly associated with a range of B vitamin deficiencies.
RDI's for Australian Adults are as follows: B1 - 1.1-1.2mg/day; B2 1.1-
1.3mg/day; B3 14-16mg/day; B5-4- 6mg/day; B6 1.3-1.7mcg/day; B12 -
On a plate:
The yeast found in vegemite, provides 0.5mg of B1, 0.85mg of B2, 5.8mg of B3
per teaspoon. If you fancy some offal, liver is a fantastic source of all the B
Vitamins, especially B5 with 85g chicken liver providing 7mg. Tuna is a great
source of Vitamin B6 with 100g serve providing over 1mg. Vitamin B12 can only
be found in animal products so often needs to be supplemented for vegetarians.
100g fillet of salmon provides more than your daily dose with 3.25mcg B12.
Excessive intakes of coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes and protein can reduce
is a great source of Vitamin B6 with 100g serve providing over 1mg.
Your wish: Less stress
Symptom: Cracked lips
Best buds: All B vitamins are synergistic,
meaning they need each other as cofactors to be utilized efficiently by the
body, hence, most come in a B Multivitamin. Magnesium also partners well.
Arch Enemies: Excess protein
Best time: Bright and early, says Collins.
"There is some thought that vitamin B6 may affect your quality of sleep if
taken at night."