Supplement City Part 3: Vitamin C, Vitamin B, and Calcium
Author and over-50 fitness freak John Shumate shares his supplementation scheme by listing all of his daily supplements, then providing a detailed description of each one in his multi-part series Supplement City.
Part 3: Vitamin C, Vitamin B, and Calcium
So it seems reasonable for anyone to ask up front “ummm, I’m taking my multivitamin daily, why do I need anything else? “
Most multivitamins provide 100% or more of the RDA (recommended daily allowance), so why would anyone add on top of that?
Well, welcome to the world of nutritional debate. Keep in mind that this series is what I do and is only intended a food for thought and a benchmark for what’s right for you. And that, my friend, you will need to decide for yourself based on your own research, because, in my honest opinion, the “evidence” is wide reaching with few right answers.
As you will see, I tend to bias toward the upper dosage limits because of my age, my limited calories, and the demands I place on my body. And I can tell you that, since consuming vitamin supplements at this upper range, I have never felt better or been healthier in my life.
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, elastin and other structural components of skin as well as bone matrix and other body tissue. Hormones and other components of the nervous system require vitamin C for normal function. Iron absorption, transportation through the bloodstream and storage is facilitated by vitamin C. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means it protects body cells from a naturally destructive chemical process known as oxidation.
A note about vitamin C and cold prevention – multiple, well-respected studies have confirmed that vitamin C has never been proven to reduce the number of colds experienced by anyone other than people who are exposed to extreme exercise or cold temperatures.
And there’s the hitch; people who put their bodies through more stress seem to benefit more from high vitamin doses than the general populous.
Most studies suggest the upper range of vitamin C is 2g daily, and that’s how much I take. To maximize absorption, I take 1g (1,000mg) in the morning and again at night, both times with food.
It’s important to note that the phrase “vitamin B complex” comes from the fact that after vitamin B was discovered and named, it was learned that several other vitamins are wound into vitamin B, but all of the letters around B had been assigned to other vitamins, therefore we have vitamin B subsets of B-1. B-2, B-6, etc…
The B vitamin group is made up of the following:
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
Vitamin B3 – Niacin
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine
Vitamin B7 – Biotin
Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid
Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin
Vitamin B is required to maintain your body’s health. It’s used by your body to maintain healthy red blood cells. It also helps to keep nerves and tissue healthy, and it’s important to the immune system and helps to maintain healthy skin and hair, and is also great for energy and mood, among other things.
Because of its many benefits I personally take high doses of vitamin B, the RDA for vitamin B is very low so I take about 10x that amount. it’s not dangerous to take high doses in this range as long as you aren’t allergic to it (which is rare), plus the fact that the B vitamins are water-soluble, so your body will excrete what it can’t use.
Calcium is a mineral needed by the body for healthy bones, teeth, and proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves.
Calcium is also required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion. A large decline in bone mass occurs in older adults, increasing the risk of osteoporosis (yes, this happens to men).
The body cannot produce calcium; therefore, it must be absorbed through food. Of the many calcium supplements available, I take calcium citrate, because it is more easily assimilated than other forms, especially by older people with less stomach acid.
Getting the right amount of calcium can be a challenge. The government recommends that adults take 1000 mg a day of calcium, but it also says no one over 50 should be taking more than 2000 mg a day because our bodies can’t absorb more than that.
My diet is almost completely void of dairy, and, as already made clear, I place a lot of demands on my body. Additionally, I hydrate extremely well, consumer about 1 gallon of water daily, so I’m more likely to flush out excess nutrients like calcium that my body doesn’t need. Therefore, I’m on the high side, taking about 1,500 mg daily.