In our order department, callers regularly contact us with vitamin and supplement questions. We use the term “vitamin and supplement” to encompass vitamins, minerals, herbs, omega-3 fatty acids, and any other dietary supplement. We know there are many more supplement users than the ones we to talk to, or correspond with through email. We want to offer a few of our hints and tips regarding supplement use:
• One of the most asked vitamin and supplement questions is whether to take the vitamin and supplement with food, or on an empty stomach. In general, vitamins are best absorbed with food. It doesn’t matter which meal you choose, just make sure it’s one that also contains some fat. This means if your morning breakfast is a piece of whole wheat toast with jam, a piece of fruit, and a container of fat-free yogurt, you need to take your supplements another time. Or, add almonds to this breakfast and take your vitamins then. The nutrition department at Cooper Clinic regularly recommends that both meals and snacks contain a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
• Please take the supplement as recommended on the label. We hear from many people who take the Original Cooper Complete formulation, but only take four of the eight tablets in the daily serving. Our scientific advisory team feels so strongly about the levels of vitamin D, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Selenium, and Chromium, that the levels are identical in the original formulation and Basic One, our one-a-day product! When the number of tablets is cut from eight to four per day, the strength of these ingredients is also cut in half. Please consider taking Basic One instead of Cooper Complete if you are unwilling or unable to take all eight tablets.
• It is okay to switch between vitamins. It is perfectly fine to switch back and forth between Cooper Complete Original and Basic One. Many people take Basic One when traveling, and Cooper Complete when home. We also have marathoners and triathletes who switch from Elite Athlete to either Cooper Complete or Basic One during the off season.
• Keep tabs on your vitamin D needs. Our adult multivitamin and mineral formulations (Cooper Complete, Elite Athlete, and Basic One) all contain 2,000 IU vitamin D. We also sell a standalone vitamin D3 softgel that’s 1,000 IU vitamin D per tablet. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers reported that 77 percent of Americans fall short of the 30 nanograms per milliliter minimum. While we can statistically assume that chances are good you’re below the minimum and may need additional vitamin D, the only way to know for certain is through a blood test. After the blood test, your physician will help you figure out how much vitamin D you need, and the recommendations vary widely depending upon individual circumstances – we hear everything from an additional 1,000 IU per day to an extra 50,000 IU each week.
• Know your calcium requirements. Look at your diet, figure out how much calcium you get on a typical day, and then decide how much (if any) calcium you need to add in supplement form. Our body can absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time. If you need more than 500 mg calcium per day, split it up into two or more servings. Cooper Clinic physicians recommend that calcium supplements be limited to 1,000 mg per day, and ideally 500 mg.
• Do not add a vitamin and supplement to your routine that you do not need. If you do not have joint pain, or if you don’t suffer the effects of an enlarged prostate, do not take Joint Health or Prostate Health supplements.
If you’re unsure about a product (be it ours, or another brand), or have a general supplement question, please call us at 888-393-2221 – we’d love to help you. A “real human” here at the Cooper Aerobics Center answers all the calls (so you’ll need to leave us a message if you phone after hours), and it’s genuinely our pleasure to help you figure out what supplements make sense for your particular situation.
Article by Jill Turner.