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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin’

Do you take multivitamins or other dietary supplements?Dietary supplements. Variety pills. Vitamin capsules. Clipart The majority of us do take some type supplements either every day or occasionally. While most people consider that as a good thing, there are downsides. Vitamin/mineral supplements replace deficiencies when foods we select lack certain nutrients, but they aren’t a substitute for a healthy diet. Individuals with compromised immune systems or health issues, the elderly, pregnant women, and sometimes young children benefit from appropriate supplements. However, most who take supplements do not need them. Problems occur from our warped thinking that if a little works, a lot is better. Not so. Increased levels of certain vitamins and minerals can cause harm, and in extreme cases, may lead to health problems that result in death.

Some two decades ago, researchers observed that those who ate diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables were less prone to cancer. Because of that, they hypothesized that nutrients found in those foods could prevent this disease. In controlled rat studies, they set out to prove beneficial effects of large doses of certain nutrients. Results weren’t what they expected. Instead of improved health, some caused an increase in cancer.

Standards

If you do take a vitamin or mineral supplement, how do you know if you are taking safe amounts? The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and Adequate Intake of vitamins/minerals to help consumers determine safe amounts. The Tolerable Upper Limit Levels give a safety net to prevent overdoses and/or adverse effects. These standards aren’t listed on product labels. However, labels do list the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) nutritional measurements of Daily Values. In most cases, this measure is comparable to the RDA.

All dietary supplements must have a Supplement Facts panel listing the contents, active ingredients per serving, and added ingredients such as fillers, color, etc. Several independent labs assure that product labels give the name of the manufacturer, ingredients, and are free of harmful levels of contaminants. Three reliable companies who offer seals for those standards include U. S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International.

Warnings

Some vitamin/mineral products are more risky than others. While most of us are unlikely to have adverse effects from a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement when taken as directed, excess amounts of single nutrients may cause problems. Too high a dose of certain nutrients is dangerous. Those most likely to cause side effects from higher doses are fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, K and the minerals iron and selenium. The IOM established upper limits for twenty-four nutrients. Below are select ones from their list.

NUTRIENT UPPER LIMIT
Calcium   2,500 milligrams
Zinc        40 milligrams
Iron        45 milligrams
Selenium      400 micrograms
Folic acid   1,000 micrograms
Niacin        35 milligrams
Vitamin B6      100 milligrams
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)   2,000 milligrams
Vitamin A 10,000 International Units
Vitamin D   4,000 International Units
Vitamin E   1,500 International Units

Vitamin/mineral supplements may help when taken appropriately and under the supervision of a health professional. Be wary of advertisements that touts beneficial results without scientific prove to substantiate claims. Unless medically prescribed or recommended, invest your money on healthful foods. They are tasty and more likely to help you stay well.

 

 

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How long do you want to live? We seem to have a built-in urge to live longer. Normal healthy people don’t want the grim reaper at their doorstep.

Deaths occur from numerous causes. Several things may cut the lifespan, but science is closing in on many factors that seem to increase longevity. Some lifestyle patterns, like smoking, may shorten life while others such as exercise seem to add more years. Unscrupulous wonder-potions with claims to extend existence surface then disappear. Do specific foods or nutrients impact survival?

Insufficient amounts of vitamin D may cause or worsen several health conditions—osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, some cancers, auto immune diseases, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. These infirmities decrease quality of life, and some shorten the lifespan. Sufficient quantities of vitamin D may help prevent various health problems, especially certain types of cancers and diabetes.

Researchers studied the role of vitamin D in more than 10,000 people with an average age of fifty-eight. Based on blood levels below thirty nanograms per milliliter, they classified seventy percent as vitamin D deficient. Those with deficiencies were more prone to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and increased mortality. Survival rates improved when they treated the vitamin D-deficient with supplements.

How much vitamin D do older adults need? Like other nutrients, it’s best to get vitamins from food sources. Unlike other nutrients, the sun is an excellent source of vitamin D. In the elderly, loss of the skin’s ability to generate vitamin D from sunshine aggravated by immobility or limited exposure to outside physical activities causes even greater risks for deficiency. The most plentiful natural food supply is fatty fish. Mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and liver contain limited amounts. The food industry supplements many products— namely milk, yogurt, cereal, and orange juice—with vitamin D to close the nutrient gap in diets.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D after age seventy is 800 International Units (IU) per day. The Institute of Medicine set a level of 4,000 IU as the upper limit for supplementation. Although other health professionals increase that limit to 10,000 IU, the lower level reduces the potential for harm from an overdose.

While studies show definite health improvements in those treated for deficiencies, too much vitamin D has a downside. We cannot assume that if a little is good, more is better. Doses of vitamin D above the upper recommended levels can cause health issues, especially for those with kidney problems. However, the potential consequences from deficiency outweigh the less life-threatening conditions of overdose.

Will vitamin D delay aging and cause you to live longer?  Maybe. Evidence seems clear that vitamin D plays a role in longevity. If you fail to consume vitamin D rich foods, either natural or fortified, supplements may make a difference. You don’t have to wait until old age to start. After all, if you delay consuming adequate amounts, you may not get there.

 “Healthy Eating & Diet,” http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/are-you-getting-enough-vitamin-d

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November is American Diabetes Month. Nearly 26 million American children and adults have diabetes, and 79 million more are at risk with pre-diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness in adults. Two out of three with this malady will die from heart disease or stroke. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates the annual national cost of the disease at $174 billion.

Food plays a significant role for those with diabetes as well as those with the potential to develop type 2 diabetes. Why aren’t we paying attention?

The ADA identifies ten superfoods beneficial not only to those with the disease, but also to the rest of us.

  • Beans.  Take your pick from pinto, kidney, navy or black beans. All are high in fiber and provide exceptional sources of magnesium and potassium. Also, they are high in protein.
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables.  These include spinach, kale, collards, and others. They’re low in calories and carbohydrates and packed with needed vitamins, especially vitamin A.
  • Citrus Fruit.  Fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are loaded with vitamin C.
  • Sweet Potatoes.  These all-time favorites, especially during holidays, are a starchy vegetable abundant in vitamin A and fiber. They make a great substitute for white potatoes because of their lower Glycemic Index.
  • Berries.  Pick your favorite. All are abundant in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
  • Tomatoes. Most people enjoy this food in many ways from fresh slices to ubiquitous tomato sauces and salsa. They provide vitamin C, iron, vitamin E, and other nutrients.
  • Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  Salmon is the usual favorite, but mackerel, tuna, herring, and halibut are other great choices.
  • Whole Grains.  Check labels carefully. Whole wheat means the product contains bran—the outer hard shell, germ—packed with most of the nutrients, and endosperm—the starchy part. Most wheat breads are made from the endosperm. Whole grains contain rich sources of B-vitamins plus
    magnesium, chromium, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Nuts.   They provide satiety value—help you feel full longer—and are great for weight management if you don’t eat too many. They contain healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber.
  • Fat-free Milk Products.  Readily known for its rich sources of calcium, milk comes fortified with needed vitamin D.

This list isn’t just for those with diabetes. To eat healthier, include these super-foods in your diet for power-packed ways to help you stay healthy.

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/diabetes-superfoods.html

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