Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Do Your Body Good
Learn how dietary supplements can make you healthier and happier! By Kaye Langit-Luistro
Chances are, you have taken several vitamin supplements since childhood. Your parents have probably explained to you that those pills help you fight diseases and make you grow faster, right? How many vitamins are you familiar with? Do you know that there are actually thirteen vitamins classified according to their ability to be absorbed in fat or water? Vitamins A,D,E are called fat-soluble vitamins because they perform best when taken with fat-containing foods. On the other hand, the eight B vitamins and vitamin C are called water soluble vitamins because they cannot be stored in the body's fat.
But which vitamin and mineral should you take as supplements? Medical experts “have whittled down more that twenty-five essential vitamins and minerals to only nine key nutrients you need to zero in on,” writes the editors of Prevention magazine in its February 1997 edition, because they’re likely to come up short in our diets. Check out the back label of your multivitamin (multi) for its Daily Value (DV), the old name for Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA—referring to amounts of vitamins and minerals that should be taken daily.
Iron. Do you know that women who are still getting their monthly period need at least 18 milligrams (mg.) of iron daily? While adult men and women who have stopped having their period (menopausal women) only need between 0 and 9 mg. Research shows that “excess iron raises risks of heart disease and colon cancer, that is why experts now advise men and menopausal women to look for supplements with no or low iron,” according to the February 1997 edition of Prevention Magazine.
Vitamin A or Beta-carotene. Make sure that your “multi” has 5,000 international units (I.U.), which is 100% DV. Remember: It’s dangerous to take more than 10,000 I.U. If taken properly, people who take supplements and whose diets are rich in beta-carotene have lower chances of getting heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin D. Do you know that our bodies can create vitamin D from proper sun exposure? Just limit your intake to 800 I.U. a day from supplements and foods, like cereals and milk, nothing more.
Vitamin B6. You only need 2 mg., and you’re done for the day! Studies show that people with low intake of Vitamin B6 have higher risks of heart attack and poorer immune system, especially among the elderly.
Folic Acid or folate. Search for 400 micrograms or 0.4 mg in any multi because this is everything your body needs daily. Folic acid is amazing because when pregnant women take it, they give birth to fewer babies with serious brain and spine defects. And it even lowers risks of heart disease and colon cancer when taken regularly.
Magnesium. A 100 mg. DV may even prevent diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and migraine headaches. But if taken in excess, magnesium may lead to diarrhea.
Zinc. Studies show that if you take 15 mg. a day, your immune system and wound healing get better in time. But too much zinc may lower your good cholesterol, so ease up!
Copper. Take 2 mg. daily to keep your bone, heart healthy, and regulate blood sugar and iron absorption.
Chromium. You need between 50 and 200 mcg daily to handle blood sugar and risks of acquiring adult-onset diabetes.
These are the usual vitamins and minerals present in any multi, just varying in Daily Value. But there are three important nutrients that are insufficient in “multis,” so they should be taken in single supplements, according to the experts.
Vitamin C. To help fight colds and cough, you need to take between 200 and 500 milligrams a day.
Vitamin E. Your body can’t tell the difference between synthetic and natural vitamin E, as long as you take between 100 and 400 I.U. daily.
Calcium. Make sure you take between 500 and 1,000 mg. to help keep your bones healthy, and to avoid osteoporosis when you’re much older.
Most of the time, our diet does not include all the essential vitamins and minerals our body really needs on a daily basis. Supplements containing 100% DV surely help in filling in the nutritional gap, for a healthier and happier life.
When you’re shopping for the best multivitamin, check out the following:
• Expiration date.
• Ability to dissolve. Look for the letters USP on the label, because this means the supplement should dissolve inside you.
• Ability to be absorbed. It’s up to you whether to buy minerals in “chelated” or “colloidal” form, because experts say that there is no significant difference between them.
• Natural vs. synthetic. It’s your call! Either one will do you good.
• When to take with meals. Eat a small portion of fatty food when you take vitamins A,D,E, K and beta-carotene for maximum absorption. On the other hand, never take multivitamins with iron and calcium supplements at the same time. Studies show that calcium may interfere with iron absorption.
“Does Your Multivitamin pass Our Test?”, February 1997 edition of Prevention Magazine. Rodale Press, USA.
“Miracle Vitamins,” December 1998 edition of prevention Magazine. Rodale Press, USA.
"Vitamin," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
This article appeared in the 2005 edition of Buhawi Magazine, a High Reference material published by Diwa Publishing Group. Blog Gadgets