Productivity Boost – Recommended Daily Allowances for Vitamins
“Time management is all about mind management.”
This is a mantra that I preach to individual clients and participants in my seminars and workshops. It’s your brain that decides how you’re going to use every single second of every single minute of every single day. Your brain will decide whether to stay focused or wander. Your brain will decide whether or not to procrastinate and if so, for how long. Your brain will decide whether to go after low-hanging fruit or attack your top-level priorities.
Time management is all about mind management.
Your brain is your most crucial time management weapon; therefore, taking care of your brain and its housing should be one of your most important daily goals. Monitoring your health and nutrition should be a part of your time management foundation.
This is why increasing your knowledge about vitamins and minerals is important. Most doctors will give you recommendations at your annual exam about what vitamins and supplements you should add, increase or decrease according to your body’s needs. The problem is doctors can be general. You’ll leave the office after the doctor says, “Get enough Vitamin C,” or “You need more iron,” but that doesn’t tell you a specific amount.
It’s more important than ever to be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Be prepared to ask questions. When your doctor uses a relative term like “more” or “less” or “average,” advocate for yourself by asking, “Can you be specific for my situation?”
Recently, three different female clients talked about their doctors saying they needed to change up their vitamin intake, but they didn’t receive specific dosage recommendations. These women are different ages – 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. As with many things in life, there’s not a cookie cutter approach to vitamins, minerals and supplements that will work for every human or even all humans of a specific gender. So, here is the approach we took.
I located charts that specified the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals. I also found a couple of articles that shared what types of foods naturally contain those nutrients, since that is the best way for the body to receive them. Another article mentioned absorption rates and how some vitamins and minerals should be taken separately from a multi-vitamin.
I recommended to my clients that they bring in with them to their doctors:
*a list of their current vitamin and mineral dosages
*a list of their current medications and dosages
and ask the following questions about recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals based on their individual conditions:
*Based on my bloodwork and labs you just ran, do I need to lower my intake of any vitamins or minerals? Which ones? What should those daily dosages be?
*Based on my bloodwork and labs you just ran, do I need to increase my intake of any vitamins or minerals? Which ones? What should those daily dosages be?
*Based on my bloodwork and labs you just ran, do I need to begin taking any vitamins or minerals? Which ones? What should those daily dosages be?
*Are there any vitamins or minerals on my list to take that are more effective if they’re taken in smaller doses multiple times per day as opposed to all at once?
*Are there any vitamins or minerals on my list to take that should be taken separately from the rest because of interactions or absorption rates?
*Are there any vitamins or minerals on my list to take that interact with any medications I’m taking? If so, can they be taken at different times, or can you recommend a substitute for the medication or the vitamin?
When it’s time for your annual exam (or if you need to schedule an exam because you’re not feeling as healthy as you should be), prepare by gathering information and listing your questions.
Your body and brain will thank you.
Here are the charts and articles I found:
Charts plus an overview for women
An overview for men – caution: the chart shown is a comparison and not daily allowances Recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals by gender and age
Check for medication, vitamin and supplement interactions:
Drugs.com – You can compare up to four pills without needing an account. I’ve found this website extremely helpful in determining when to take or not take various medications and vitamins.
Be sure to check on absorption rates!
Let’s use calcium as an example. I discovered through research that calcium is best absorbed in dosages of less than 500-600 mg, so that might mean you need to spread your intake throughout the day. Additionally, calcium should not be taken within two hours of ingesting a multi-vitamin with iron, magnesium or zinc. Doctors can’t possibly memorize every single absorption rate and interaction, so it will be important for you to do your own research. (Unfortunately, I have yet to locate one handy chart.)
Here are two articles that give a brief overview about absorption:
Livestrong – Which vitamins are dangerous to take at the same time?
Consumer Lab – Which vitamins should be taken together or separately?
To learn more about how your self-care affects your productivity levels, be sure to check out chapter 4 in The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.
Hi! Thanks for the info – It would be nice to have a chart that showed a lot of the common interactions.
My main question – are RDA (recommend daily amounts) calculated to assume 25 or or 50 or 100% absorption? (Depending on how one takes a supplementary vitamin these rates could different between 10-90% from what I understand)
For example, if someone is in a winter climate, does getting the RDA of D3 mean before or after absorption rates when taking a supplement?
I know you suggest getting tests/bloodwork to understand one’s individual case and consulting with a professional medical advisor about the results, which makes sense.
Thanks so much for stopping by! There are links to charts in the section called “Here are the charts and articles I found.” I never found a chart that contained all the information, variables and factors someone might need. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) kinda sorta take into account absorption rates. Here’s an explanation of my use of “kinda sorta” as a descriptor: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234926/. For the most accurate RDA for your body, health condition, age, climate and any other factors, please be sure to consult with your physician.