The vitamins and essential minerals are just that – essential. They must be part of the diet every day, day after day, year after year. Long-term failure to include enough of even one vitamin or essential mineral from the diet will cause disease, cell death and tissue degeneration. Eventually, the entire body will begin to die. Obviously, this is not a scenario consistent with the goal of Healthy Aging, as deficiencies of essential minerals and vitamins are the unhealthiest way to age. In the paradigm of healthy aging, ensuring adequate intakes of these essentials is the first step. Without this essential foundation, the other pillars of healthy aging crumble fast.
Today, in this enlightened, affluent, highly educated era, it would seem acceptable to think that no one in the United States could suffer from a vitamin or essential mineral deficiency, or so the US government and the American Medical Association may have you believe. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t true.
According to US government data, over 90% of all adult Americans do not consume enough calcium every day to satisfy the current government-sanctioned (that is, minimal) dietary standards. The same holds true for magnesium and vitamin E. Another 75% of all US adults are deficient in copper or zinc; half are deficient in vitamin C, vitamin D or chromium; and between 10% and 15% are deficient in one or more of the B-vitamins. Amazingly, even in the face of the current epidemic of obesity, widespread nutritional deficiencies are rampant in the US. We’re eating more than ever in the history of human existence. Yet, what we’re eating more of is empty calories. Processed foods are a high percentage of the Standard American Diet (So SAD!) and these foods are devoid of many essential vitamins and minerals. So while we’re eating more, we’re not consuming enough of the essentials.
You might ask, “So what? I don’t feel unhealthy.” It’s not like we have problems with:
- Prostate Health (vitamin D, vitamin E, selenium and zinc)
- Bone Health (calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K)
- Weak Immune Systems (selenium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D)
- Hair Health and rough skin (B-vitamins)
- Healthy Blood Sugar (chromium, magnesium and vanadium)
- Feeling Tired (B-vitamins and magnesium).
- Gum Health (vitamin C and magnesium)
- Periodontal Health (calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D)
- Heart Health (selenium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin D)
- Memory Issues (folate/folic acid, thiamin, choline, vitamin E, selenium)
These issues are so prevalent in our population that it’s easy not to be concerned about them. The more one thinks about them, though, the more one realizes the problems they can lead to. The irony of it all is that these areas can all be supported simply by ensuring adequate intakes of essential vitamins and minerals.
In addition to the prevention of the classically recognized nutritional deficiency diseases, healthy intakes of vitamins and minerals can do the body a world of good. A few stellar examples should make the point.