When buying a new appliance or car, you get an operating manual that takes you through step by step on how to care for it, keep it running as smoothly as possible for as long as possible, there is always a section on troubleshooting, we all diligently store and refer to these manuals. With our wonderfully complex bodies, we arrive into this world without an operating manual. The sad reality is that many people do not take good care of their bodies until they begin to break down and produce symptoms. Understanding the basics that govern our health will ensure that we live life more enjoyably and longer.
Many will be aware of the RDA’s (short for Recommended Dietary Allowance) for our various vitamins and minerals that have been promoted as our nutrient guidelines, they will meet the needs of most healthy people. These recommendations will certainly prevent absolute nutritional deficiency diseases such as scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), beriberi (vitamin B1 – Thiamine deficiency) and pellagra (vitamin B3 – Niacin deficiency), yet the RDA’s are not designed for optimal health.
RDA’s can be compared to “minimum wage”, they keep you away from nutritional diseases (comparable to starvation when you don’t have enough money) but they do not allow you to live a life of optimum health and wellness.
Many studies have documented that doses above the RDA provide significant health benefits. In saying this we also need to be aware that taking nutrients at high doses for extended periods can also be dangerous for the body. Important to know is that you can not consume high doses of Iron, Vitamin D, A and E and selenium for extended periods as they will produce toxicity. Yet in general, it is individuals who do not ingest sufficient levels of nutrients for optimum health and produce disease than the occasional person who will overdose on a nutrient and cause toxicity.
It is the correct use of nutrients along with a healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle that will result in most people having a well-functioning immune system and a healthy ageing process.