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Living Well

What You Really Need: A Personalized RDA

Jun 20, 2016

It is critical to bear in mind that multiple factors can affect individual daily allowances of vitamins and minerals, including the use of prescription medications and lifestyle. These cannot be accounted for in an RDA determined for a general population.

For example, if you are under extreme stress, you may need far more Vitamin C to help reduce your “oxidative stress”.

If you are on specific prescription medicines, they could be leeching away crucial micronutrients from your body, and you may need higher doses of that micronutrient than other people who are not on the medication.

You need to check what micronutrient your particular prescription drug depletes from your body in order to figure out what your “Personal RDA” should look like.

What Symptoms Does Nutrient Insufficiency Produce?

An insufficiency of a vitamin or mineral is the point at which symptoms of missing micronutrients begin to appear. Symptoms can develop even though an accepted lab standard of nutrient deficiency has not been met.

For example, a person could feel low energy, joint pain, dry skin, thinning of hair, loss of sleep, etc., that are often attributed to the aging process, when they could really be symptoms of low levels of key vitamins like Vitamin D, Vitamin C or the mineral Iron. You can have an insufficient level of a vitamin and simply be overlooking the symptoms or relating it to other reasons. The good news is that all this can be reversed by proper supplementation.

Can Years Of Nutrient Insufficiency Have Serious Health Consequences?

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Allowing nutrient insufficiencies to continue unchecked for years can lead to serious medical conditions. For example, men with low Vitamin D levels have a 2.43 times greater likelihood of experiencing a heart attack. According to the recent study, 92,500 heart attack related deaths could be prevented if every American took their optimal level of Vitamin D supplementation. As for women, vitamin D-deficient women are at a 253% increased risk of developing colon cancer.

In addition, studies show that higher levels of the sunshine vitamin can result in a 30-50% decrease in the incidence of breast cancer. This means that an insufficiency in a key vitamin or micronutrient can lead to conditions such as heart disease and even some forms of cancer.

The Flip Side: Huge Benefits Of Nutrient Sufficiency

Dr. Perlmutter, M.D., a global leader in integrated neurology, supports the need for optimizing levels of vitamin D in the body as it is used to activate over 900 genes, reduces inflammation and prevents disease. Using adequate levels of Vitamin C, especially during periods of physical and mental stress has found to be extremely beneficial.

Why would you choose to operate on half tank of nutrients when you can function better and put less stress on your body with a full-tank easily?

Choosing The Right Dose For Yourself

So how much of common vitamins and minerals should you take to maintain a healthy state? Sources that base their work on the latest research emerging on various vitamins and minerals can help you answer this question and stay ahead of the curve. At, the team works to compile such research and bring the best supplements and dosages to you. The Linus Pauling Institute (LPI), set up by double Nobel Prize Winner and distinguished chemist Dr. Linus Pauling, is another such source.

For example, LPI currently suggests a range of 250 mg to 4000 mg a day of Vitamin C or ascorbic acid to promote optimal health in adults.

The current RDA of of 45 mg daily, which is only enough to prevent Vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy in the majority of people.

Several naturopathic doctors swear by higher doses, since these are known to decrease the frequency and severity of colds and help prevent a number of diseases.This powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C, also has beneficial antiviral and antibacterial benefits in the body.

LPI also recommends 100-400 mg of vitamin B12 for adults over the age of fifty. This is a big difference from the RDA recommendation of 2.4 mg for adults. Vitamin B12 helps the body release energy from both fat and protein, is necessary for proper nerve function and assists in red blood cell and hemoglobin production. Excess amounts of B12, if any, are passed out harmlessly from the body via our urine.

The micronutrient and herbal supplement doses used in research studies and found to support many different chronic disease conditions is available, to help you make informed choices.

So remember: The RDA provides for the minimal requirements to avoid development of specific deficiency diseases. This daily amount may not be sufficient for your optimal health. Become an informed consumer and use the latest research to open up a dialogue with your healthcare provider. Supplement at the right dose and enjoy the best health possible!

Lisa DiFalco
Lisa is a New York state licensed massage therapist who uses a whole-body approach to help her clients achieve good health and wellness through proper nutrition and exercise. She has worked alongside chiropractors in delivering wellness care to patients.