The best practices for nutrient amounts or Prime Daily Values stand for the actual nutrient values that are needed to consume daily with supplements to achieve and retain a state of exceptional health and cognitive ability.
Basically, to be your best self at all times! And to flourish! And thrive! And do so till the rest of your life!
Although I did coin the term Prime Daily Values for easier reference, I did not develop the values themselves. These values have been developed by Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the most respected professionals in medicine, and are published in the book “The UltraMind Solution“.
From what I gather, these values (by now) have been a major factor in helping tens of thousands of people (or likely even more than that) to repair their health, fix and augment their brain, improve their general well-being and life quality.
Over time I have made small insignificant adjustments to these values that are fully based on what other high-profile health professionals recommend and define as the truth. Which I’ll explain all about below.
Amendments Made To The Original Prime Daily Values & Why?
So, as I already mentioned, above you can see infographics of the most up-to-date, amended, and improved Prime Daily Values (the best practices for nutrient amounts).
In the sections to come, I will explain what the changes have been, as well as I will cover what they originally were. So, you have both of the options available to you and you can follow the one whichever seems to reflect the truth to you the most.
Other than that, I want you to know that any future adjustments that we will make to the best practices for nutrient amounts (Prime Daily Values), I will also list here below.
Tocopherols & Tocotrienols Instead Of Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)
Originally Dr. Mark Hyman recommended taking mixed tocopherols (4 different forms of vitamin E) in amounts of 400 IU daily for your best health.
However, I feel these 4 forms do not do justice to vitamin E. Vitamin is much more than 4 different compounds. In truth, it’s about 8 different ones – 4 types of Tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and 4 types of Tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta).
Furthermore, as indicated by Andreas M. Papas, Ph.D., and Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D., all of these forms are hugely important, they serve very different functions, moreover, they compliment each other. Thus, all of them contributing to health in their own unique way [R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R]
Hence, given that Prime Daily Values, in essence, are about getting to, having, retaining the best health possible, I feel Tocotrienols are something that is a crucial part of all of that and can contribute to anyone’s well-being quite a bit.
That said, supplements actually providing that form of vitamin E are a different story. Mainly because you won’t find them there that often, especially when talking about multivitamin supplements. Still, when you do, it’s something that can only further benefit you.
Potassium Coined As Something Optional Instead Of Something Necessary
Another thing that originally was different about Prime Daily Values was it not listing Potassium as an optional thing. However, I do have a reason to believe that it essentially always has been the case.
Having extra Potassium may superficially seem like a good thing, however, it’s completely unnecessary. In fact, it can easily lead to overdosing on the mineral, which can be lethal and does require immediate medical treatment, as well as there are other concerns [R, R, R, R].
Thus, it makes complete sense that you won’t find any high-profile doctor recommending Potassium supplements as something necessary. Instead, it is said that you are likely to (or if not can) get more than enough from food sources alone. Consequently, Potassium supplements are something you’ll only ever need if under specific medical circumstances [R, R, R, R]
So, why was it included in the Prime Daily Values at all in the first place?
I believe mainly it was due to two reasons. First, a little extra Potassium can’t really hurt. Second, it’s pretty common in many multivitamins.
To illustrate, you should be getting (but many fall below that) up to 4700 mg daily of this mineral. So, 50 or 100 mg extra won’t be exactly the amount that will make or break things [R, R, R, R, R, R, R].
For Omega-3 Fatty Acids, “At Least” Is The Name Of The Game (EPA & DHA)
For Omega-3 fatty acids through Fish Oil, originally Dr. Mark Hyman recommended 1000 mg that consists of 300 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA twice daily. However, there’s a very high chance of this being an “at least amount”.
The reason for this lies in the incredible beneficialness of Omega-3 fatty acids (especially on brain-function), as well as the fact that you can get way more out of them if you do go with higher concentrations.
That said, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to imply that 2000 mg of fish oil with combined amounts of 1000 mg EPA & DHA daily is insufficient for great health. Not at all. It’s likely more than enough.
However, we’re after the truth. And the truth at this moment seems to be that by adding a little bit more (for example, combined amounts of 1200 mg EPA & DHA daily) you can get some extra more out of it.
Why Prime Daily Values Over DV, NRV, Or Any Similar Values?
These values, which you typically see labeled on the supplements (and which indicate a percentage of any respective nutrient that you get), are based on an outdated model. Per the teachings of Dr. Mark Hyman, a model of deficiency [R].
The key questions within this old model to establish reference values, such as DV (US), NRV (European Union, Australia), or any other similar values, are as follows:
- How much vitamin A is needed to avoid night blindness?
- How much vitamin B1 is needed to avoid beriberi?
- How much vitamin B2 is needed to avoid dermatitis or anemia?
- etc. [R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R, R].
So, what do you think? How much do you need a particular vitamin or mineral (including trace elements) in order to not develop a disease?
Well, typically not very much, which is also what we see, if we take a look at 100% values of DV, NRV, or any other similar value [R].
According to this model, as long as you don’t have any of the deficiency diseases, you are getting enough nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements). But this is simply not true.
You are getting enough nutrients to avoid deficiencies, yes. But not enough to optimize all of your cellular functions (and get the full benefit). Or, in other words, to achieve the best health and cognitive ability possible [R].
To better explain what I mean let’s look at some examples.
In this picture above you can see a hypothetical example of the Magnesium functions in the body. Hypothetical, because there are over 600 functions Magnesium is associated with. But here we have only four (so to say few of the big ones) in the picture [R, R]
So, what happens when one consumes nutrients only in the amounts of minimum daily values (100% of DV, NRV, or any other similar value)? Well, you get the picture below.
Meaning there is enough of Magnesium to ensure that you do not get sick with Hyperexcitability. It probably ensures that you don’t get cramps too. It also prevents other deficiency-induced effects.
But there is too little Magnesium to enhance your memory and ensure great learning ability. And you might think that you’re a slow learner or you have poor memory. Which is not necessarily the case. And all that it really might be, is not having enough Magnesium.
And this doesn’t stop there. Most of these 600 functions will not be carried out effectively or at all, because of the fact that your body simply does not have enough Magnesium.
Let’s look at another example.
Similarly, as with the Magnesium, also Vitamin D carries out quite a bit different functions in the body. For the sake of example, we have 3 of them in the picture (we’ll keep sticking with the few of the big ones for simplicity) [R, R].
Well, what happens when one consumes only the minimum daily values of nutrients (100% of DV, NRV, or any other similar value)? Similarly, as with Magnesium, you get the picture below.
Meaning, you may acquire enough Vitamin D to prevent rickets. But as all of it goes towards that goal, you might be hit by feeling constantly tired or getting sick (colds and bronchitis through the roof) [R, R, R, R].
Furthermore, nutrient deficiencies can also develop so-called long-latency diseases. These diseases happen when for a long period of time (many, many years) there is not enough of a particular nutrient for optimal cellular function. But DV, NRV, and other similar values do not ensure optimal cellular function [R].
For example, not having enough Folic Acid (being seriously deficient) in a pretty short time will develop amenia or birth defects for a baby. But in the long run, having not enough of the nutrient for optimal cellular function has a significantly higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease [R].
Other long-latency diseases include schizophrenia, attention-deficit disorder, cancer, depression, heart disease, dementia, and many other [R].
Thus, because all of this, being conservative and consuming nutrients only according to DV, NRV, or other similar values over the long run won’t ensure that you don’t develop these hugely devastating diseases and conditions mentioned.
Why Daily Values Are So Low When The Tolerable Upper Intake Levels Are So High?
If the ideas discussed before did not convince you, consider the following.
If you’ve ever come across the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs for short) – have you ever thought about why these established DV, NRV, and other similar values are so low, but the ULs are so high?
“What is a UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level)?” you might ask.
Well, simply put, those are levels set to formulate the highest amount of a particular nutrient intake daily that poses no risk of adverse effects when used for very, very, very long periods of time. To put it in other words, if you do not exceed these levels formulated, there is no risk of acquiring a disease or an adverse condition of some kind [R, R].
Of course, risk-wise ULs are referable to 98-99% of the population. We all are different. So it is possible that for 1-2% of the population these levels can be lower or even higher.
To better understand where I’m going with this, let’s look at an example of DV and NRV in respect to the established ULs, shall we?
NRV and DV values for Vitamin E are 12 mg and 30 IU, respectively.
UL for European Union is 300 mg, therefore, the gap between the respective NRV and its UL is 288 mg. UL for the US, on the other hand, is 1000 mg, therefore, there is a gap of at least 970 mg.
Take a minute and just really let that sink in!
288 mg gap, when no adverse effects of using Vitamin E are present! That’s 24 times the NRV value. Or about 39 times the DV value in the case with that ridiculous 970 mg difference for the US.
I mean, at this point, I feel it’s fair to point out that there must be a reasonable explanation to this. Because can you deny the huge gap and explain it with “oh, I just peed out everything because my body didn’t need that 300-ish mg or 400 IU of vitamin E”?
I believe not. And this is exactly my point.
Many will still try to. Many will justify the situation with the classical: “Yes, this can be easily explained because most probably any excess Vitamin E will easily be excreted from the body. 300 mg or 1000 mg probably is just too much of the amount, which our bodies can no longer reliably excrete.”
While it superficially may seem like a solid point. It’s not one.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. And being fat-soluble, it’s not really known for its easy excretion from the body because no fat-soluble vitamin is that when consumed in excess amounts. This unique ability can only be allocated to the water-soluble vitamins [R, R, R, R].
Thus, a consequential question arises. Where do these amounts of either 300 mg (EU) or 1000 mg (US) go?
Where do they go, if this amount can be consumed for years in and years out without posing any threat or adverse effects to health?
There is only a single reasonable explanation for this. This previously thought excess vitamin E actually gets utilized by the body to carry out important functions (which, of course, it doesn’t do when the amounts of the vitamin are scarce).
Moreover, if we were to look at other vitamins and minerals and their respective UL values, we would encounter similar gaps to those already discussed most of the time. They may at times not be so huge, but they are there.
Which may raise the question of “why only most of the time”?
Why At Times DV Are Higher Than Prime Daily Values (The Best Practices)?
Yes, at times DV, NRV, or any other similar type of value is higher than that mentioned by the Prime Daily Values. “Why is that” is such an awesome and attentive question.
The difference lies in what these two types of values stand for.
Meaning, DV, NRV, and similar value focus on minimal daily requirements for nutrients that you need to consume. And do so in any way – food, supplements, drinks, shakes, anything else that’s edible.
Whereas Prime Daily Values stand for, as indicated at the very beginning of this article, the actual nutrient values that are needed to consume daily with supplements (and with supplements only) for great health.
Thus, these do not account for all sources of the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as the DV, NRV, and similar values do.
Hence, the difference.
At the end of the day, still, I don’t hope that everyone will understand this. Or be flexible enough to see that maybe there’s a different truth out there than that what they have been convinced of in the past.
Remember that “convictions are greater enemies to truth than lies” (a quote by Nietzche). Don’t be a person, who’s misguided by one’s own convictions if you have any.
I know, it takes a level of open-mindedness and faith in a guy without a Ph.D. or MD (if we don’t account for his initials). But I’m all about the truth (and research), I can promise you that.
And if it helps at all, know that I took the very essence of these ideas from one of the most respected doctors in the field all of (functional) medicine – Dr. Mark Hyman.
This article was originally published on November 4, 2017. The article was republished on July 19, 2019.