Probably everyone should take a standard generic multivitamin with minerals every day. I recommend additional supplements of selenium, magnesium, and zinc in addition to the amounts found in the standard multivitamin with minerals.
Minerals play a large variety of very important roles in the human body. Sodium, most often consumed in salt as sodium chloride, is an essential element for survival. However, humans evolved in a salt-poor world. We evolved excellent ways of conserving sodium, so in the modern world an inadequate intake of sodium is very rare. Our main concern with sodium is too much due to its addition in modern processed foods. This is such a major issue that it gets listed one level up.
Calcium is a very valuable supplement for bone health, preventing hypertension, and for prevent certain cancers. However, calcium supplements triple the rate of prostate cancer in men. Calcium supplements are fine for women. However, excess sodium in the diet, primarily from salt, leaches calcium out of the bones. By dramatically reducing the extremely high levels of salt consumed by the average American, the need for supplemental calcium is markedly reduced. While dairy products are a good source of calcium, every species of mammal except modern man has survived just fine without dairy products. Some calcium can be found in numerous food and by eliminating sodium from the diet, dairy products are not necessary for a healthy diet, especially if my recommended vitamin D supplement is taken. In fact, dairy products including skimmed milk increase prostate cancer, the #1 cancer in men.
Potassium is a very beneficial element that is much more common in unprocessed foods and modern diets tend to get too little. Processed food are often low in potassium and high in sodium (salt). It can best be obtained through a healthy diet. Many natural foods are high in potassium, e.g. orange juice, bananas, split peas, etc. If a supplement is desired, simply using high potassium No Salt instead of table salt will give you all you need.
Research on selenium, magnesium, and zinc suggests that these are quite important to health and that supplements can be of value. More can be read on these issues above.
Iron is another important mineral. Deficiencies are common early in life, especially for menstruating women. However, most Americans get plenty of iron from the heavy meat intake in the diet. Some iron is present in almost all multivitamins with minerals, although the amount is reduced in tablets for older adults since a fair number of studies suggest that excessive iron may cause increased heart disease.
Boron research is scanty and not very impressive.
Boron Review: Authors claims that boron may be an essential nutrient for animals and humans. Dietary boron influences the activity of many metabolic enzymes, as well as the metabolism of steroid hormones and several micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Boron supplementation in rats and chicks has been shown to increase bone strength. Boron may also play a role in improving arthritis, plasma lipid profiles, and brain function. U Mass. The physiological effects of dietary boron. Devirian TA, Volpe SL. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003;43(2):219-31; Bone adjacent to joints with osteoarthrosis tends to be less mineralized (per unit trabecular bone volume) than control bone and bone from fracture patients, and has significantly lower concentrations of boron, lead and, zinc. These observations may reflect the more rapid turnover of bone close to the arthritic joint. Bone. 1996 Feb;18(2):151-7; Boron is obtained from a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. The daily intake has been estimated to range from 0.3-41 mg per day. The wide range is due to the variation of the analytical methods used and differences in the soil content of boron. Based on a limited number of studies, increasing dietary boron results in increases in the boron concentration of all tissues. Large amounts of boron are well tolerated while consistent signs of deficiency include depressed growth and a reduction in some blood indices, particularly steroid hormone concentrations. Via its effect on steroid hormones and interaction with mineral metabolism, boron may be involved in a number of clinical conditions such as arthritis. U Sydney. Prog Food Nutr Sci. 1993 Oct-Dec;17(4):331-49;
Arthritis Helped in Very Small Boron DB: Initial evidence was that boron supplementation alleviated arthritic pain and discomfort of the author. Author reports a) analytical evidence of lower boron concentrations in femur heads, bones, and synovial fluid from people with arthritis than from those without this disorder; b) observation evidence that bones of patients using boron supplements are much harder to cut than those of patients not using supplements; c) epidemiologic evidence that in areas of the world where boron intakes usually are 1.0 mg or less/day the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 20 to 70%, whereas in areas of the world where boron intakes are usually 3 to 10 mg, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 0 to 10%; d) experimental evidence that rats with induced arthritis benefit from orally or intraperitoneally administered boron; e) experimental evidence from a double-blind placebo-boron supplementation trial with 20 subjects with osteoarthritis. A significant favorable response to a 6 mg boron/day supplement was obtained; 50% of subjects receiving the supplement improved compared to only 10% receiving the placebo. Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Newnham RE. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov;102 Suppl 7:83-5. Seems over-stated.
Body-Builders Not Helped in Boron DB: The effect of boron supplementation on lean body mass, plasma testosterone levels, and strength in male bodybuilders.
Bone Mineralization Helped in Short Boron Study: 3mg boron/d, an amount equal to intake on high fruit/veg diet markedly reduced calcium excretion and improved bone mineralization in 12 women on a metabolic unit in Grand Forks who had low 0.25mg/d intake before. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. FASEB J. 1987 Nov;1(5):394-7; Ed: 150 mcg in Sentury Vite senior multivit from WalMart;
Rat Boron Research Mixed: Boron didn’t help bone mineralization in rats. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003 Summer;93(1-3):155-70;But is preserved bone after intense exercise. J Clin Densitom. 2002 Summer;5(2):187-92; Research studies with pigs and chickens repeatedly document some increase in bone strength and slight increase in weight.
Helps Blood Lipids: Cr essential for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Deficiency causes elevated blood glucose, insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides and decreased HDL. The large majority of studies find benefit from improved Cr nutrition. Many studies report normal dietary chromium is suboptimal. In hypoglycemia, supplemental Cr leads to normalization of insulin function (200 microg/d as Cr Cl). Eight studies with supplementation in subjects without diabetes finds improvement, e.g. incr HDL and decr triglycerides. For those with diabetes, dosage of 400 microg/d is needed and some up to 1000 microg with improvement taking several months. For gestational diabetes, 8 microg/kg as Cr picolinate did better than 4 microg. Cr is very safe with daily intakes upto 350 times the standard 200 microg/d being considered safe. Richard Anderson, USDA, J Am Coll Nutr 17:548-55, ’98.
Chromium & type II DM: Says DB placebo study in China found of value. MK Hellerstein, UC Berkeley Nutr Rev 10/98 56:302-6 @
Chromium for Wt Loss No Benefit for Wt Loss Tho Slight Incr Lean Body Mass: picolinate a popular supplement. Case of rhabdomyolysis in Pharmacother 7/98 18:860-2 and case of hypoglycemia in 5/98 Psychosomatics. @Nutr Rev 6/98. Chromium is an essential nutrient in reg of carbo and lipid metab. Normal intake said often suboptimal. Said to incr lean body mass and decr % body fat. RA Anderson, Beltsville USDA, Nutr Rev 9/98 56:566-70. Case of 33yo woman ingesting 6-12 times recommended dose for 4 months. 1200-2400 microg/d ingested. Presented with wt loss, anemia, thrombocytopenia, liver dysfunc and renal failure. With blood chromium 2-3 times normal. Ann Pharmacother 4/98 32:428-31. 36 obese Rx 26 weeks with DB placebo or chromium yeast or chromium picolinate with very low cal for 8 weeks them maintenance. Only picolinate group showed incr lean body mass at 26 weeks tho all lost comparable amount of wt. Act Med Austriaca ’97;24:185-7
Helped Eight Treatment Resistant Depression: 50yo with 25 yr hx dysthymia partially responsive to sertraline improved on self-prescribed chromium picolinate 200-400 microg/d. Four others then tried. All responded, two as sole med and three as adjunct. McLeod, J Clin Psychiatry ’99;60:237. Same author raises total to eight. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2000 Dec;3(4):311-314
Chromium Picolinate Helped Depression in Small DB: 15 MDD DB PC 8 weeks. 70% (7/10) chromium 600 microg/d vs 0% placebo responded. Duke. Effectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: a placebo-controlled trial. Davidson JR, Abraham K, Connor KM, McLeod MN. Biol Psychiatry 2003 Feb 1;53(3):261-4
Anecdotal Reports of Chromium Helping Depression: Med Hypotheses 1994 Oct;43(4):247-52, McCarty. Gives some highly speculative reasons why such benefit might exist and mentions that there have been anecdotal reports.
Chromium Picolinate No Help in Wt Training: 17 overwt women 48-71yo DB PC 12 weeks. Increased strength but high dose chromium no effect. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002 Jun;12(2):125-35; Similar = J Appl Physiol 1999 Jan;86(1):29-39
Chromium Picolinate No Help for Women/Male Athletes: DB PC 4 weeks 15 female athletes. 500mg/d. J Strength Cond Res 2001 May;15(2):161-6; Same with 20 male wrestlers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998 Dec;30(12):1730-7
Chromium picolinate No Help Wt Loss: Twelve weeks of 400 microg/day of chromium as a CP supplement did not significantly affect body composition, RMR, plasma glucose, serum insulin, plasma glucagon, serum C-peptide and serum lipid concentrations or iron and zinc indices in moderately obese women placed on an exercise program. U Mass. J Am Coll Nutr 2001 Aug;20(4):293-306
Chromium Picolinate No Impact on Lipids: DB PC 19 normal adults 63-77yo. Chromium picolinate supplementation alone does not appear to improve insulin sensitivity, serum lipids, or change body composition in nonobese, healthy men and women of advanced age. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2000 May;55(5):M260-3
Chromium Side-Effects: Various. One severe renal disease on 1200-2400 microg/d x 5 months. Can cause skin allergies and diseases.
Iron: Iron Deficiency Lowers Math Scores: Iron-deficient children were twice as likely to score below average on math testing, even those without anemia and especially teenage girls who had the highest rate of deficiency. U Rochester J Pediatrics 6/2001 Dr Jill Halteman blamed menstruation for deficiency in teen girls. Other studies show iron-deficiency anemia lowers developmental scores in children. Females tend to do better in math in grade school and junior high but then fall behind boys. 5398 6-16-year-olds in nation sample. Deficiency in 3% including 8.7% teen girls (7% teen girl deficient without anemia.
Potassium: Lowers Stroke: Harvd study with 8 yr f/u men taking K supplement during first 2 yr 69% fewer strokes. Men in highest K intake (4.3 g supllemt or 9 serving fruits & veg) 38% less than lowest intake (2.4 g or 4 servings).
Potassium Baking Powder OK, OJ Cheapest Source: Potassium is high in most natural foods including almost all fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, etc. It is low in refined flour and of course absent in sugar and oils. Supplements at Walmart Potassium 99mg. #250 cost $4. At local health food store, #100 cost $4-8. Potassium baking powder at a health food store costs $4.50 for the equivalent of #400 pills (29160mg). OJ 4500mg/1/2 gal, 560mg/cup, or 18000mg for $5.20 at Aldis premixed. Studies are of supplements of 60-120 Meq/day or 4500 mg-9000 mg./day (1 mEq=75 mg). Micro-K 10 Extencaps have 750 mg. potassium. The usual dietary intake of potassium for an adult is 50-100 mEq/day or 3500-7000 mg./day. Excessive levels are rare if normal excretory functions. However, in chronic renal failure, systemic acidosis, acute dehydration, extensive burns, adrenal insufficiency or with a potassium sparing diuretic medication such as spironolactone, triamterene, or amiloride, there is a danger of overdosage.