Sorry I've been quiet the past couple of days. Just busy and/or tired. Today's entry will be dull, I'm afraid. No Gratuitous Musings today (though I have a a few in the works, so stay tuned).
I've decided, after a few weeks of CR, that it's time to add supplements to my routine--but just a few. I never knew much about vitamins and minerals because I never really paid much attention to what I was getting from my food. Food labels would have you believe the only things you need to pay attention to are Vitamins A and C, and the minerals Calcium and Iron. Sodium is the only mineral labels report by actual number of milligrams, while the rest just give percentages that may or may not reflect my needs.
Like most people, I always assumed that I was getting everything I needed if only because of the sheer volume of food I was eating (wrong), much of it artificially enriched.
What nutrients have I been lacking?Like every other aspect of my eating routine, CRON-O-Meter has radically affected my understanding of my micronutrient needs and intake, and revealed some potential problems:
- Vitamin D: Unless you delight in eating sardines on a daily basis or consume large quantities of fortified dairy products, it's extremely difficult to get adequate vitamin D, and recent list chatter suggests this vitamin is more important (and required in greater quantities) than we have thought in the past.
- Zinc: I never knew before that men require so much more zinc. It's roughly analogous to a woman's need for iron, and like women, related to our reproductive equipment. But I'm not happy to eat oysters every day (or any day, really...I have not yet acquired the "taste" for these snotty little globs of grayness).
- B's: I regularly find myself short on various B vitamins, but never the same ones, so determining one that I'm typically short on was impossible.
- Biotin: While it's extremely unlikely that I am biotin deficient (especially since I've given up on my recent "discovery" of using raw (pasteurized) egg whites in my breakfast smoothies, when I read the list of symptoms, I had to acknowledge that it got my attention: hair and skin problems similar to ones I regularly experience. (I still wonder of pasteurization makes it safe for biotin: cooking egg whites denatures their protein in a way that prevents its binding to biotin, but since the pastuerized egg whites won't "whip up," I wonder if the process also makes them safe for biotin. I don't know how I'll figure out the answer to that one.)
How did I decide which nutrients to supplement?I reviewed CRON-O-Meter nutrition reports that averaged my intake over the period that I've been doing CR, and looked at which vitamins and minerals were lowest, especially below 80%. This included the following:
- Various B's (occasionally)
- Vitamin D (regularly)
- Vitamin E (occasionally)
- Potassium (regularly)
- Zinc (regularly)
I decided that it was most important to supplement Vitamin D and Zinc; probably safe to supplement B's with a B complex (just to be sure); and to tweak my quotidian diet to fix the vitamin E and potassium deficiencies, which was pretty easy to do with a little attention and a daily MegaMuffin.
Here, then, are the supplements I am now taking:
- Vitamin D, 400 IU, from fish liver oil
- Chelated Zinc, 50 mg
- Biotin, 1000 mcg
I'm interested in any tips and/or advice, and especially if I'm making any big and/or dangerous mistakes here. I'm especially concerned about zinc--is this the best form? What about balancing it with copper--that's something I don't understand very well yet.
It's a learning process, and I want to treat supplements as something very specific and deliberate, rather than the "one a day multi" approach most people take.