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01-30-2009, 03:01 AM #1
Dietary supplements: Using vitamin and mineral supplements wisely
Can you skip your daily servings of fruits and vegetables and take a vitamin and mineral supplement instead? Unfortunately, no.
Vitamins and minerals are substances your body needs in small but steady amounts for normal growth, function and health. Together, vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. Your body can't make most micronutrients, so you must get them from the foods you eat or, in some cases, from dietary supplements.
Dietary supplements can complement your regular diet if you have trouble getting enough nutrients. But they aren't meant to be food substitutes. Dietary supplements can't replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. So depending on your situation and your eating habits, a daily dietary supplement may not be worth the expense.
Whole foods: Your best source of micronutrients
Whole foods are your best sources of vitamins and minerals. They offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:
* Greater nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs - not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. A vitamin C supplement lacks these other micronutrients.
* Essential fiber. Whole foods provide dietary fiber. Fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage constipation.
* Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances recognized as important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring food substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants - substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
Who needs dietary supplements?
If you're generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats and fish, you likely don't need dietary supplements.
However, if you can't or don't eat enough healthy foods, or can't or don't eat a variety of healthy foods, you may need a daily dietary supplement. Dietary supplements may be appropriate if you:
* Don't eat well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day
* Are a vegetarian and don't substitute or complement your diet appropriately
* Are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breast-feeding
* Are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
* Are a postmenopausal woman
* Have a medical condition that affects how your body absorbs, uses or excretes nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas
* Have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly
Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about which supplements and what doses might be appropriate for you. Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with other medications.
Choosing and using dietary supplements
If you decide to take a vitamin or mineral supplement, consider these factors:
* Check the supplement label. Read labels carefully. Product labels can tell you what the active ingredient or ingredients are, which nutrients are included, the serving size - for example, capsule, packet or teaspoonful - and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
* Avoid supplements that provide 'megadoses.' In general, choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of all the vitamins and minerals, rather than one which has, for example, 500 percent of the DV for one vitamin and only 20 percent of the DV for another. The exception to this is calcium. You may notice that calcium-containing supplements don't provide 100 percent of the DV. If they did, the tablets would be too large to swallow. More importantly, divide your calcium intake throughout the day.
* Look for 'USP' on the label. This ensures that the supplement meets the standards for strength, purity, disintegration and dissolution established by the testing organization U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
* Look for expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn't have an expiration date, don't buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
* Store all vitamin and mineral supplements safely. Store dietary supplements in a dry, cool place. Avoid hot, humid storage locations, such as in the bathroom.
* Store supplements out of sight and away from children. Put supplements in a locked cabinet or other secure location. Don't leave them on the counter or rely on child-resistant packaging.
- 01-30-2009, 04:14 AM #2
- Rep Power
thank you. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago, many women I know ask the same thing (as there are NUMEROUS studies regarding food and breast cancer and PRIOR to diagnosis my diet was HORRIBLE) and everyone I asked (registered dietitions etc) say that "vitamins/supplements" provide only 10% of what the actual food does". There are many people who would RATHER take the supplement than eat a healthy diet and it is sad. Thank you again and take care.Rhonda
Mother to 12 yo Tony
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02-04-2009, 01:52 AM #3
thank to all who appreciate these things because most of us are aware but not listening on what might happen and effects.!
02-23-2009, 01:33 AM #4
I am glad to be a part of this forum. Thanks for sharing your posts. I feel there are different types of vitamins and each serves a different purpose in our body. Vitamin B1 aids in the conversion of fats to energy. Vitamin B2 helps in the prevention of skin diseases. Vitamin B3 helps in the breakdown of fats while Vitamin B6 and vitamin B5 are essential for growth.
02-25-2009, 05:22 AM #5
Your welcome Victoria! check this wonderful forum, you'll see a lot of information that we can treasure.
03-11-2009, 01:30 AM #6
- Rep Power
I recently began taking supplements simply because I have been experiencing lack of energy and lithlessness. I take a multivitamin for women, which claims to be produced using organic ingredients. I decided to take vitamins because my diet lacks many of the basic requirements. I also take B12 for stress.
Does anyone who takes supplements feel overwhelmed by the many choices and prices? Does price equate to a "better" supplement?
03-12-2009, 09:10 AM #7
Vitamins and Minerals benefits
I am glad to be a part of your forum. Thanks for sharing your posts. I think there are different types of Vitamins and Minerals which serves in a different purposes in our body. vitamins, minerals, water, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are the different types of nutritions.
Last edited by Rachelbuz; 03-12-2009 at 09:21 AM.
04-20-2009, 09:04 AM #8
Thanks for sharing such wonderful posts! I feel Vitamins are organic compounds in a nutrient and are vital to our bodies. In this case vitamins will help our bodies to manage our health status. The vitamins strengthen our body defense mechanisms and hence ensuring security for our health. So taking vitamin supplements is really good to be strong and healthy.
04-20-2009, 09:40 AM #9
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I take several supplements, in addition to a healthy diet. My doctor has looked over what I take and complimented me on taking charge of my health. He felt that they were necessary for me.
As far as expense, I buy the Walmart brand. My doctor said to check the ingredient label, but that basically most brands were equal.Spiritual:
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04-22-2009, 12:13 AM #10
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We make sure that the kids get a good majority of what they need through their diet. They take a vitamin specifically tailored for their fickle vegetables nature, but I also try to fit vegetables into their meals in other ways.
I also have to take Vitamin D and Calcium and will be also including soy into my diet with a family history of perimenopause. My grandmother had heart issues before she passed, so we eat lots of heart healthy foods.
12-02-2009, 11:59 PM #11
There are different kinds of dietary mineral supplements, each providing different nutritional benefits. It is essential to know which minerals you need to be sure you get the proper dietary mineral supplements.
01-01-2010, 11:04 PM #12
I take a multivitamin too, but I do think it's important to discuss this with your doctor. My husband had been taking a multivitamin, but now, on his doctor's instructions, he is also taking some additional vitamins, one on prescription to get a higher dosage than is normally available OTC. You have to be careful about vitamins that are fat soluble, as they will collect in your body and you can get an overdose. Vitamins A and D are examples of fat soluble. So taking supplements of fat soluble should really be done only after consulting with a doctor.
Once you hit 50 (or menopause for ladies) you should switch to a multivitamin without iron (sometimes labled as mature formula), as too much iron is another problem.
06-03-2010, 04:26 AM #13
I really think your right Momtotwoboys, there are many things that we can do to make our children healthy.
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