Everything you need to know about Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements.

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In general the way to get crucial vitamins and minerals is through healthy
foods, so for a completely well-nourished person, supplements may be a
waste of money. But for people over age 50, even the best diet may not provide
enough of some important nutrients.
Use this information to explore details about the Vitamins, Minerals and
Supplements that are most important and specially as you grow older for
people over 50.
Supplements may cause side effects. If you have certain diseases, such as
cancer or diabetes, your body may have special nutritional needs. Be sure
to talk to your doctor about the vitamins and supplements you take.
____________________________________
Vitamins
1.1 Vitamin A
1.2 Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
1.3 Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
1.4 Vitamin B3 (niacin)
1.5 Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
1.6 Vitamin B12
1.7 Vitamin C
1.8 Vitamin D
1.9 Vitamin E
1.10 Folic acid
1.11 Vitamin K
[2] MINERALS
2.1 Calcium
2.2 Chromium
2.3 IODINE
2.4 IRON
2.5 Magnesium
2.6 Potassium
2.7 Selenium
2.8 Zinc
[3] Supplements
3.1 Omega-3 fatty acids
3.2 Echinacea
3.3 Ginkgo
3.4 Ginseng
____________________________________
[1] Vitamins
____________________________________
Vitamin A
How much?
Men: 900 mcg
Women: 700 mcg
Why you need it:
Promotes good vision; helps keep immune system healthy.
Good to know:
In supplements, look for vitamin A as beta carotene, not as retinol or
retinoic acid, which increases the risk of bone fracture.
Food sources:
Dairy products, fish, darkly colored fruits and vegetables.
____________________________________
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
How much?
Men: 1.2 mg
Women: 1.1 mg
Why you need it:
Necessary for healthy nerve and brain cells; helps convert food to energy.
Good to know:
Antacids and some diuretics may lower thiamin levels by decreasing
absorption and increasing urinary secretion.
Food sources:
Liver, whole grains, enriched breads and cereals.
____________________________________
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
How much?
Men: 1.3 mg
Women: 1.1 mg
Why you need it:
Important for red blood cell production; helps convert food to energy.
Good to know:
Older men and women may be especially susceptible to riboflavin
deficiency, which can cause cracking or sores at the corners of the mouth, skin
irritation or weakness.
Food sources:
milk, eggs, fortified bread products and cereals.
____________________________________
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
How much?
Men: 16 mg
Women: 14 mg
Why you need it:
Necessary for proper functioning of the digestive system, skin and nerves;
helps convert food to energy.
Good to know:
Can cause skin flushing; may be prescribed to treat high cholesterol but
should be used only under a doctor's care because of potentially severe side
effects.
Food sources:
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs.
____________________________________
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
How much?
Men: 1.7 mg
Women: 1.5 mg
Why you need it: Aids in the formation of red blood cells; strengthens the
immune system.
Good to know: Too high doses of supplements may cause nerve damage,
numbness and trouble walking.
Food sources: Beans, nuts, eggs, whole grains.
____________________________________
Vitamin B12
How much?
Men and women: 2.4 mcg
Why you need it: Essential for keeping nerves and red blood cells healthy.
Good to know: As many as a third of people over 50 do not absorb enough
B12 from diet alone; inadequate absorption may lead to neurological and
balance problems.
Food sources: Fish, shellfish, meat, dairy products.
____________________________________
Vitamin C
How much?
Men: 90 mg
Women: 75 mg
(Smokers should add an extra 35 mg)
Why you need it:
Important for wound healing; boosts immune system; required for growth and
repair of tissues in all parts of body.
Good to know:
No studies confirm vitamin C prevents colds although it may shorten the
length of a cold; excessive amounts may lead to upset stomach and diarrhea.
Food sources:
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, strawberries.
____________________________________
Vitamin D
How much?
Ages 51-70: 400 IU (10 mcg)
Age 71+: 600 IU (15 mcg)
Why you need it: Helps the body absorb calcium; may protect against heart
disease, cancer, diabetes and several autoimmune diseases.
Good to know: The current recommendation is under review and may soon
increase substantially.
Food sources: Sun exposure provides the body's main supply of vitamin D;
fatty fish, fortified milk and juices also contribute.
____________________________________
Vitamin E
How much?
Men and women: 15 mg
Why you need it:
Helps protect cells from damage; may reduce the risk of developing cancer,
heart disease and other chronic diseases, but further research is needed.
Good to know:
If you take a blood thinner, talk to your doctor before taking supplements;
vitamin E increases bleeding risk.
Food sources:
Vegetable oils, nuts, fruits, vegetables.
____________________________________
Folic acid
How much?
Men and women:
400 mcg
Why you need it:
This B vitamin helps form red blood cells and produce DNA.
Good to know:
High levels may mask vitamin B12 deficiency, especially in older adults.
Recent research, suggests that for women, folic acid along with vitamins B6
and B12 may reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Food sources:
Enriched cereals, whole-grain breads, dark, leafy vegetables.
____________________________________
Vitamin K
How much?
Men: 120 mcg
Women: 90 mcg
Why you need it: Helps blood clot properly and helps maintain strong bones
in older men and women.
Good to know: Can dilute the effect of blood thinners, so talk to your
doctor if you take Coumadin (warfarin) or other blood thinners.
Food sources: Plant oils, green vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower.
____________________________________
[2] MINERALS
Calcium
How much?
Men and women: 1200 mg
Why you need it: Helps form and maintain healthy teeth and bones; needed
for normal heartbeat; helps with blood clotting.
Good to know: The body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium, so if you
use calcium supplements choose one that contains D. Recent studies have
linked calcium pills to increased risk of heart attack.
Food sources: Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, bok choy,
calcium-fortified orange juice.
____________________________________
Chromium
How much?
Men: 30 mcg
Women: 20 mcg
Why you need it: Helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Good to know: There has been interest in treating high glucose levels and
type 2 diabetes with supplemental chromium, but research to date is
inconclusive.
Food sources: Meat, chicken, broccoli, apples, fish, grape juice.
____________________________________
Iodine
How much?
Men and women: 150 mcg
Why you need it:
Necessary for normal thyroid function; prevents goiter, a swelling of the
thyroid gland.
Good to know:
Deficiency occurs more often in women than men; when buying salt, choose
one labeled "iodized."
Food sources: Seafood, iodized salt.
____________________________________
Iron
How much?
Men and women: 8 mg
Why you need it:
Essential for healthy red blood cells.
Good to know:
Men and women over 50 generally should not take a mutivitamin containing
iron unless they have been diagnosed with iron deficiency.
Food sources:
Meat, eggs, fortified bread and grain products.
____________________________________
Magnesium
How much?
Men: 420 mg
Women: 320 mg
Why you need it:
Supports a healthy immune system; helps keep bones strong; regulates heart
rhythm.
Good to know: Magnesium-rich foods may help protect against the
development of type 2 diabetes; may also decrease the risk of high blood pressure in
women.
Food sources: Whole grains, nuts, green vegetables.
____________________________________
Potassium
How much?
Men and women: 4700 mg
Why you need it:
Crucial for heart, kidney, muscle, nerve function; important in
controlling blood pressure; works with sodium to maintain the body's water balance.
Good to know:
With age, kidneys become less able to remove potassium from blood, so
speak with your doctor before taking supplements. A diet rich in fruits and
vegetables generally provides sufficient potassium.
Food sources:
Cantaloupe, bananas, yogurt, leafy green vegetables and sweet potatoes.
____________________________________
Selenium
How much?
Men and women: 55 mcg
Why you need it:
Helps make special proteins that play a role in preventing cell damage.
Good to know:
May reduce the risk of certain cancers, including lung, colorectal and
prostate, although not all studies have found this effect.
Food sources:
Red meat, fish, chicken, vegetables.
____________________________________
Zinc
How much?
Men: 11 mg
Women: 8 mg
Why you need it:
Aids in wound healing; keeps sense of smell and taste sharp.
Good to know:
Many people take zinc to ease the miseries of a common cold, but its
effect is controversial; some studies suggest zinc can speed recovery, others
conclude it doesn't work. Some studies show that taking a combination of
antioxidants and zinc reduces the risk of advanced _age-related macular
degeneration.
Food sources:
Fortified cereals, red meat, eggs, seafood.
____________________________________
[3] SUPPLEMENTS
Omega-3 fatty acids
What does it do:
Important for blood clotting, cell division, relaxation and contraction of
muscles.
Good to know:
The omega-3 fatty acids plentiful in fatty fish and fish oil supplements
have built a powerful reputation for reducing the risk of a second heart
attack. Studies on fish oil and memory have had mixed results. May interact
with blood thinners.
____________________________________
Echinacea
What does it do:
This native American plant may reduce the duration of a cold.
Good to know:
Study results are mixed about whether it can prevent colds and other
infections.
____________________________________
Ginkgo
What does it do:
Derived from the oldest living tree species, ginkgo extract improves
walking in people with certain circulatory problems that affect the legs.
Good to know:
Research on ginkgo's effect on Alzheimer's and memory loss has been
disappointing. Ginkgo can increase bleeding risk, so talk to your doctor if you
take blood thinners or have surgery scheduled.
____________________________________
Ginseng
What does it do:
The root of this plant appears to benefit people with heart disorders. It
may also lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Good to know:
People with diabetes should use caution with ginseng, especially if they
are taking medication to lower blood glucose.



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