How Antioxidants May Help
Antioxidants are able to neutralize marauders such as free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. When a vitamin C or E molecule makes this sacrifice, it may allow a crucial protein, gene, or cell membrane to escape damage. This helps break a chain reaction that can affect many other cells.
It is important to recognize that the term antioxidant reflects a chemical property rather than a specific nutritional property. Each of the nutrients that has antioxidant properties also has numerous other aspects and should be considered individually. The context is also importantin some settings, for example, vitamin C is an antioxidant, and in others it can be a pro-oxidant.
People Differ In Their Vitamins And Mineral Requirements
Many factorsbody size, sex, health conditions and medications, stage of life, activity level, and otherscan affect peoples micronutrient needs, as well as how they absorb and use them.
Thats partly why we didnt include a recommended daily intake range for the above nutrients. It just varies too much. Consider the needs of a menstruating Crossfit athlete versus the needs of a sedentary, elderly male on multiple medications.
Generally, though, people have deficiencies for three reasons:4
- Insufficient intake due to low appetite, restricted diets, illness, or any other situation where certain food groups or calories are reduced or not absorbed properly
- Increased need due to illness, injury, surgery, intense physical training , or periods of growth
- Increased loss due to excessive sweating, diarrhea, bleeding, or medical conditions or procedures that lead to a loss of nutrients through urine or other body fluids
If any of these reasons apply to you or your client, be extra wary of deficiencies. Of course, always work with a qualified medical professional when addressing medical issues or clinical deficiencies.
What Vitamins And Minerals Are Important For Womens Health
All vitamins and minerals are important for good health. Vitamins and minerals often work together in your body. Its usually best to get your vitamins and minerals from many different types of food in all of the food groups. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and a variety of protein foods to build a healthy plate.
Why its important
- Helps your body make blood cells and the DNA for new cells
- Helps prevent certain birth defects called neural tube defects, which happen in the first three months of pregnancy
- Helps prevent premature births and low birth weight
Who may need it
All women who might get pregnant or are pregnant need to get 400800 mcg of folic acid each day from either dietary supplements or fortified foods like many breakfast cereals.1 Nearly half, or 45%, of all pregnancies in the United States are not planned,2 so its important to make sure you are getting enough folic acid even if youre not planning on getting pregnant right now.
Where to find it in food
Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, oranges and pure orange juice, nuts, beans, chicken, lean beef, whole grains, and cereals with added folic acid
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What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin B6
When taking a supplement, it’s important not to take too much.
Taking 200mg or more a day of vitamin B6 can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs known as peripheral neuropathy.
This will usually improve once you stop taking the supplements.
But in a few cases when people have taken large amounts of vitamin B6, particularly for more than a few months, the effect can be permanent.
The effect of taking vitamin B6 at doses between 10 and 200 mg is unclear. So there’s not enough evidence to say how long these doses could be taken for safely.
What Are The Risks Of Taking A Multivitamin
Multivitamins are supplements that contain a combination of different vitamins and minerals.
Individuals often take multivitamins to cover their bases. However, many multivitamins contain high levels of nutrients a person may already be consuming enough of in their diet.
Some diets, such as vegetarian or vegan diets or the diets of people with allergies or food intolerances, may be lacking in certain nutrients. Therefore, a person may need to supplement their diet with specific vitamins, minerals, or both.
For example, people following a vegan diet are at risk of developing deficiencies in vitamin B12, iodine, zinc, and iron. They may need to take a supplement or multivitamin to meet their needs.
If someone is considering taking a vitamin or mineral supplement, they should consult a doctor first. The doctor can order a simple blood test to check for any deficiencies.
Taking too many dietary supplements or consuming a specific vitamin or mineral in excessive amounts could result in severe side effects.
If a person is concerned about taking too many supplements, they should seek guidance from a healthcare professional.
If someone thinks their consumption of specific vitamins or minerals is either too high or too low, they should consult a doctor.
A simple vitamin and nutrition blood or urine test
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Do Vitamins Have No Side Effects
If you find yourself feeling weird after taking certain vitamins and minerals, it might be a good idea to leave them alone. Many people believe that vitamins have no side effects, but this is not the case. Instead of dealing with the ill effects, you need to find another way to get what you need.
While a vegetarian and vegan diet can be very healthy, people often lack certain vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin B12 and iron are two helpful nutrients that vegetarians often need to supplement. Vegans often need to supplement their calcium and vitamin D intake to ensure they are getting the right nutrients.
Brittle Hair And Nails
A variety of factors may cause brittle hair and nails. One of them is a lack of biotin.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, helps the body convert food into energy. A deficiency in biotin is very rare, but when it occurs, brittle, thinning, or splitting hair and nails are some of the most noticeable symptoms.
Other symptoms of biotin deficiency include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, cramps, and tingling in the hands and feet .
Pregnant women, heavy smokers or drinkers, and people with digestive disorders like Crohns disease are at the greatest risk of developing biotin deficiency.
Also, the prolonged use of antibiotics and some anti-seizure medications is a risk factor .
Eating raw egg whites may cause biotin deficiency as well. Thats because raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin and can reduce its absorption (1,
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Recommended Sodium Intake For Older Adults
Sodium is another important mineral. In most Americans diets, sodium primarily comes from salt . Whenever you add salt to your food, you’re adding sodium. But the Dietary Guidelines shows that most of the sodium we eat doesnt come from our saltshakers its added to many foods during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much over time can lead to high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How much sodium is okay? People 51 and older should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day. That is about one teaspoon of salt and includes sodium added during manufacturing or cooking as well as at the table when eating. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoon of salt, may be helpful. Preparing your own meals at home without using a lot of processed foods or salt will allow you to control how much sodium you get. Try using less salt when cooking, and dont add salt before you take the first bite. If you make this change slowly, you will get used to the difference in taste. Also look for grocery products marked low sodium, unsalted, no salt added, sodium free, or salt free. Also check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in a serving.
How Am I Going To Acquire All Of My Vitamins
Six Ways To Get All Of Your Vitamins And Minerals From Your Food.
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Vitamin Pills Are Not Miracle Cures
It is commonly believed that taking mega-doses of certain vitamins will act like medicine to cure or prevent certain ailments. For instance, vitamin C is suggested as a cure for the common cold, and vitamin E is widely promoted as a beneficial antioxidant to help prevent heart disease.
After extensive research, however, neither of these claims has been shown to be true. Large-scale studies have consistently shown little benefit in taking mega-doses of supplements. In fact, there is some evidence that taking high-dose supplements to prevent or cure major chronic diseases , may be harmful to your health.
Your Night Vision Deteriorates
If you don’t take in enough vitamin A, your night vision and the sharpness of your sight could deteriorate over time.
“A lack of vitamin A causes the cornea to become dry and that makes the eyes cloudy and can lead to vision loss,” Graham says. “It can also damage your retina.”
If you notice changes in your vision, schedule a visit with your ophthalmologist, who will examine the back of your eye.
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How Much Is Too Much
Because high doses of some supplements can have risks, how do you know when it’s OK to take more than the RDA or DV?
One way is to look for the UL of a nutrient. With many vitamins and minerals, you can safely take a dose much higher than the RDA or DV without coming close to the UL.
For instance, the average person can take more than 50 times the RDA of vitamin B6 without reaching the upper limit. But some people develop symptoms of nerve pain with these higher levels of B6. So you should always be cautious. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Some supplements are riskier than others. With some vitamins and minerals, the upper limit is pretty close to the RDA. So it’s easy to get too much. For example, a man who takes just over three times the RDA of vitamin A would get more than the upper limit. High doses of vitamin A — and other fat-soluble vitamins like E and K — can build up in the body and become toxic. Other risky supplements include the minerals iron and selenium.
Supplementsare designed to be additions to your diet. Popping pills is not the answer to good health. Experts say you should eat a well-balanced diet and take supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps. Some people take a multivitamin with minerals for nutritional insurance.
How Vitamins And Minerals Work
Dr. Lynn Anderson a naturopathic doctor, author and yoga instructor explains how vitamins and minerals actually work: We need enzymes to be activated so that we can do all of our bodily functions. Enzymes are activated by vitamins and minerals.
She explains that certain enzymes need certain vitamins for activation. For example, A particular enzyme needs vitamin B6 to activate it. We need this enzyme activated so that it can send nerve impulses to our fingertips. If there is a deficiency in vitamin B6, you might feel tingling in your fingertips.
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If You’re Pregnant Or Could Get Pregnant
If you’re pregnant, trying for a baby, or could get pregnant, it’s recommended that you take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement daily until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
Folic acid supplements need to be taken before you get pregnant, so start taking them before you stop using contraception or if there’s a chance you might get pregnant.
This is to help prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in your baby.
Some women have an increased risk of having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect and are advised to take a higher dose of 5mg of folic acid each day until they’re 12 weeks pregnant.
This is important and unlikely to cause harm, as it’s taken on a short-term basis, but speak to your doctor first.
Get more advice about vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, including who should take a higher dose of folic acid.
Advice For Infants And Young Children
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that babies from birth to 1 year of age should have a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they are:
- formula-fed and are having less than 500ml of infant formula a day, as infant formula is already fortified with vitamin D
Children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D at most pharmacies and supermarkets.
Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing vitamin D.
See the Healthy Start website for more information.
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How Much Vitamin B12 Do I Need
Adults need about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.
If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.
But as vitamin B12 is not found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of it.
Read about the vegan diet for nutrition information and advice.
Other Factors To Consider
Safety and quality are the most important factors to consider when shopping for vitamins and supplements. However, there are other aspects to think about as well.
For example, some coatings and added ingredients in supplements may be derived from animal products. As a result, if youre following a vegan diet, youll want to look for products that are certified vegan.
Similarly, supplement products may contain gluten or other common allergens, such as soy or dairy.
Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, foods and dietary supplements are required to explicitly state the presence of any of the eight major allergens (
Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should choose a product thats certified gluten-free.
Read this guide for more information on what to look for on supplement labels.
Other aspects to consider include how often you have to remember to take it and what form you prefer, such as a liquid, tablet, powder, or gummy.
Finally, even if its a high quality product, its important to buy from a reputable source. Most supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place, and some even need to be refrigerated.
As a result, youll want to choose a retailer that you trust to handle products properly.
Youll want to look for supplements that adhere to any dietary restrictions you may have. How often you need to take the supplement, as well as its form, such as capsules or chewable gummies, should also be considered.
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Are You Getting Enoughvitamins And Minerals
Now that your chart is complete, let’s see how it compares to USDA’s recommended nutrient consumption. Log onto USDA’s Interactive DRI Tool for Health Professionals. Fill out the required data about yourself and click Submit.
Scroll down to view the recommended intake per day for the 8 vitamins and minerals you tracked. Compare with your logsheet and notate which items you met the recommended guidelines and which you did not.
A Closer Look At Major Minerals
The body needs, and stores, fairly large amounts of the major minerals. These minerals are no more important to your health than the trace minerals theyre just present in your body in greater amounts.
Major minerals travel through the body in various ways. Potassium, for example, is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, where it circulates freely and is excreted by the kidneys, much like a water-soluble vitamin. Calcium is more like a fat-soluble vitamin because it requires a carrier for absorption and transport.
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Are All Multivitamins Created Equal
The nutrient composition of multivitamins varies by brand and product because there is no standard for what constitutes a multivitamin . Multivitamins are sometimes known as multis, multiples, or vitamins. Tablets, capsules, chewable gummies, powders, and liquids are just a few of the options.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin A
Some research suggests that having more than an average of 1.5 mg a day of vitamin A over many years may affect your bones, making them more likely to fracture when you’re older.
This is particularly important for older people, especially women, who are already at increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones.
If you eat liver or liver pâté more than once a week, you may be getting too much vitamin A.
Many multivitamins contain vitamin A. Other supplements, such as fish liver oil, are also high in vitamin A.
If you take supplements containing vitamin A, make sure your daily intake from food and supplements does not exceed 1.5 mg .
If you eat liver every week, do not take supplements that contain vitamin A.
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