Nutrition Notes VII
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I commonly work with clients who are trying to increase muscle mass, decrease fat cells and lose weight. I wanted to make this post about a less common problem: inappropriate supplementation.
Recently, I met with a man who was experiencing low energy, dizziness, weakness, and constipation. I did a Resting Metabolic Rate test on him to make sure that his symptoms were not being caused by inadvertent caloric restriction. I made a few adjustments to his meal patterning, but overall, he seemed to be eating nutrient dense foods in the appropriate amounts.
Towards the end of a 90 minute nutrition consultation, he mentioned that, 6 months ago, he had started taking a multivitamin supplement. My ears pricked because this corresponded to the onset of his symptoms. I asked, “Does the supplement contain iron?” The answer was “yes”.
Because men don’t lose iron monthly with menstruation, nor do they lose blood with childbirth, there is almost never a reason for men to supplement with iron, let alone a supplement with 100% RDA for iron. I said to my client that unless he was an anemic, vegan, extreme athlete training at altitude, he did not need these multivitamins. This warning would also apply to post menopausal women.
This client’s symptoms were probably due in part, to iron overload. If left untreated, this condition can severely damage the liver. The takeaway, is to NOT start a supplement regimen without discussing it with an Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and or your Doctor. (Please don’t take the advice of someone trying to sell you products) I routinely recommend USP certified supplements when lab results confirm a need and only in dosages that will not promote toxicity, and will not interfere with other medication.
Stay Happy and Healthy
Lisa Richardson MA, RDN