Tuesday 14 March 2017

Who Does Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?

A vast majority of us can get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we need from food. A large orange provides all the vitamin C the average person requires each day, for example, and a small carrot has more than a day’s worth of vitamin A.
But research shows that there are some people who may need supplemental doses of certain nutrients, says Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. If testing reveals that you do need a supplement, your best bet is to take the type and dosage recommended by your doctor. That may be an actual “prescription” supplement, which, unlike over-the-counter versions, must adhere to the same standards for safety and quality as other prescription drugs. In some cases, when no prescription version is readily available, Lipman advises choosing a product that bears the seal of a reputable independent testing group, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia. (Read “What Supplement Labels Mean, and Don't.")

Talk with your doctor about taking these vitamin or mineral supplements if you are:

Planning on becoming pregnant within a month: 400 mcg of folic acid daily. Folic acid reduces the risk of brain and spinal-cord abnormalities, called neural tube birth defects, that can occur in the first month of pregnancy.

Pregnant: 400 mcg folic acid to help protect against neural tube defects and 800 IU of vitamin D to help prevent pre-eclampsia. Depending on your risk, your doctor may recommend higher doses. Prenatal vitamins contain a range of vitamins and minerals, but new research casts doubt on their necessity for women who eat a nutritious diet.

A strict vegan who consumes no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy: A daily B12 supplement.

A person who rarely gets out in the sun: A daily 800 IU vitamin D3 supplement. (Our bodies make vitamin D from sunlight.)

Taking certain drugs: Vitamin B12 and magnesium supplements may be needed if you regularly take heartburn drugs such as lansoprazole (Prevacid and generic) or diabetes medication such as metformin (Glucophage and generic).

Diagnosed with osteoporosis: 800 IU vitamin D3 supplements (or a higher dosage as recommended by your doctor), and at least 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium from calcium-rich foods such as dairy products and green leafy vegetables, to slow bone loss.

Diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration: A specific blend of vitamins C and E, plus copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, known as AREDS, can slow the progression of the disease.

Diagnosed with gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, or serious conditions such as cancer or HIV/AIDS: Talk with your doctor about specific nutritional supplement needs.


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