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Friday, January 26, 2007

Take Your Vitamins

Who needs supplements of vitamins and minerals?

Family practitioner Dr. Deirdra Greathouse, with Provena Saint Joseph's Medical Group of New Lenox, said she only really recommends vitamins to three groups of her patients: those who are vegans, those who are lactose-intolerant, and women of child-bearing years.

That comes from an article at HeraldNewsOnline.com

Greathouse continues:
It's hard for vegans to get all the vitamins they need without eating animal products, she said, and lactose-intolerant people sometimes don't get enough calcium.


Chart from www.faqs.org

Women who might get pregnant must have folic acid in their systems before they actually conceive, or their babies might have a higher risk for birth defects.

But for her other patients, Greathouse said she recommends eating a varied and balanced diet that will naturally provide the nutrients our bodies need.

"Studies have shown that taking a daily multi-vitamin doesn't have any major benefits," she said. "Vitamins alone do not insure health."

...

Women who don't get enough calcium in their diets, she said, should take calcium supplements. The mineral protects us from bone loss and fractures. From about age 25 to 50, women need 1,000 mg calcium per day. Post-menopausal women over the age of 50 need at least 1,500 mg calcium a day, she said.


A sidebar lists some reccomendations and warnings:
• Calcium. Post-menopausal women need more, and most multi-vitamins don't contain enough. Take calcium supplements that are not part of multi-vitamins so you make sure you get enough.


• Chromium, selenium, and zinc are often missing from multi-vitamins.


• Vitamin K. Many multi-vitamins have little or no vitamin K, but research suggests vitamin K may reduce the risk of hip fracture. It does interfere with blood thinners, though, so ask your doctor.

Make Sure You Don't Get Too Much:


• Vitamin A acetate or palmitate (retinal). Too much can raise the risk of hip fractures.


• Vitamin E. Several trials have found that the risk of dying rose steadily as the vitamin E dose increased from 100 I.U. to 2,000 I.U a day.


• Iron. The highest safe level is 45 mg from food and supplements combined.


• Zinc. You need only 8 mg for women or 11 mg for men. Too much can make it hard to absorb or retain copper. It can also impair the immune system.

Source: Nutrition Action Healthletter, March 2006

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