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Based on your goals, lifestyle, purpose, general health and condition, you can select the right supplements accordingly and adjust the dosage. You might want to check with your doctor if you are under certain medications as a preventive measure. Always make sure you read the label carefully.
To me, multivitamins/minerals are the foundation of your supplementation program. When choosing your multi, opt for the most complete one. Keep in mind that the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) are the minimum requirements for deficiency disease prevention only!
| RDAs Incorporated Into DRIs.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), established in 1941 and updated regularly, are the intake levels of essential nutrients deemed adequate by the U.S. Government to meet the dietary needs of healthy persons.
In 1995, however, the traditional RDAs were replaced and expanded into Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). DRIs have four parts:
DRIs are adjusted for many factors, including age and gender, to take into account a variety of lifestyle settings.
Like I mentioned in the very beginning of this article, our nutritional needs are very high because of stress (working out is perceived as a type of stress by your body).Bodybuilding.com has great prices on products, so check out the cyberstore to check availability and order.
I like adding an extra dose of vitamin C and B Complex even though they are included in my multi. (They are water soluble, so they don't accumulate in your body and must be replenished daily.) The following are some of their benefits.
Benefits Of Recommended Supplements
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant (you can even maximize this effect by taking bioflavonoids in combination with it), helps the body to get rid of many harmful substances, and plays a major role in immunity (stimulates immune cells). My daily intake is somewhere between 1000 mg to 2000 mg. Higher dosage might give diarrhea to certain sensitive people.
Vitamin B Complex
I call the Vitamin B Complex the "de-stress team" as they play a major role in brain function, can alleviate anxiety/depression, help maintain nerve health as well as that of the skin, eyes, hair, liver, and mouth. It promotes healthy muscle tone in the intestine (helps in fighting constipation). Mostly, it is a big help for the proper absorption of nutrients. My personal intake: 50-75 mg/daily.
I always take calcium on the side, too. I like to get the "citrate" form, as it is said to be better absorbed by your body. This mineral is vital for the formation of strong bones (preventing osteoporosis [bone deterioration]), teeth, and gums. It's needed for muscle growth, contraction and help in preventing cramps.
Note: Highly active females and menopausal women need more calcium then others. Their estrogen level is lower (estrogen protects the bones by promoting the deposition of calcium in it). I make sure I get at least 500 mg daily through supplementation and that is without counting the ones found in food.
Another important aspect of a good supplementation program are the amino acids. They are the building blocks of protein and enable the vitamins and minerals you are taking to perform their job efficiently.
There are 9 essentials aminos that you must get from your diet and/or supplementation, and 16 non-essentials that can be manufactured in the body from the other ones (the 9 essential ones, that is). Supplemental amino acids are available in a variety of forms (capsules, powder, etc.). They can be derived from animal protein, yeast, or vegetable protein. Try to choose the "L" form ones. They are more compatible with the human body.
| Don't All Amino Acids Start With The Prefix "L-" ?
No. Almost every amino acid occurs in two forms, L and D. The L- and D- forms of amino acids are molecular mirror images (i.e., stereoisomers called chiral enantiomers) of each other. In addition, DL forms do exist (combinations of the two, called racemic mixtures).
"Chirality" describes the "lefthanded/righthanded-ness" of a molecule that is observable by the ability of a molecule to rotate a plane of polarized light either to the left (Levorotatory) or to the right (Dextrorotatory) - hence the letters L & D.
All of the alpha amino acids in proteins are "left-handed". Therefore, they are all L-amino acids. D-amino acids are never found in proteins, but they do exist in other places in the body, in foods, in antibiotics, in other plants and animals, etc.
L-form amino acids are usually tasteless, whereas D-forms tend to taste sweet. For example, spearmint gum and caraway seeds, respectively, contain L-Carvone and D-Carvone. These smell different because our taste receptors contain chiral molecules which behave differently in the presence of enantiomers.
I suggest that you take them on an empty stomach to avoid making them fight for assimilation with the aminos present in the food you are eating! You can take them as a "complex" or take some individual ones for different reasons and purposes.
Benefits Of Amino Acids
Here are some of the health benefits of some of the amino acids I choose to take regularly.
L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in the muscles of the body. It's not considered "essential" but rather "conditional". What I mean by that is that you need it under certain conditions that might jeopardize your muscle mass (i.e., high stress level situations, regular workout activities that are demanding, dieting, illness/injury that leaves you inactive, etc.).
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I also found that my energy levels are better since I started taking it regularly. I put one teaspoon of L-glutamine powder in my shake after my morning workout! That gives me around 4500 mgs of it.
L-Tyrosine is a great mood elevator (good for PMS, ladies!), helps control the appetite and cravings, can reduce body fat due to the effect it has on the metabolism which is controlled in part by the thyroid gland. My suggested dosage: 500 mg per day.
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I hope you found this info helpful in your quest for the right supplements. If so, please be sure to read my next article which will be the second part of this series. Until then, take care and be healthy!
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