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Supplement Basics

From the Fitness & Wellness After Hysterectomy Articles List

Supplement BasicsThere are so many vitamins and minerals and supplements out there, and people are always saying that I need to be taking this or that. What are some basic guidelines for dietary supplements?

Vitamin A
Critical for healthy eyes and skin
RDA: 5000 IU
What to look for in a multivitamin: Aim for 100% RDA—all or part may be from beta carotene.
Safe Upper Limit: 10,000 IU
The Scoop: Avoid single supplements of beta carotene in amounts of 25 mg or more; studies suggest NO benefit, even possible harm.

Vitamin C
Keeps your immune system, gums, and capillaries in good health
RDA: 60 mg
What to look for in a multivitamin: Aim for 100% RDA.
Safe Upper Limit: 1,000 mg
The Scoop: Only humans, guinae pigs, and monkeys need vitamin C; other animals make their own. To maintain even levels, take half in the morning and half at night.

Vitamin D
Makes it possible for you to absorb calcium from food
RDA: 400 IU - people over 50 800 IU
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA; choose calcium supplements with vitamin D.
Safe Upper Limit: 2000 IU
The Scoop: Research hints that vitamin D keeps arthritis in check.

Vitamin E
Neutralizes free radicals that can cause heart disease and cancer
RDA: 30 IU
What to look for in a multivitamin: Aim for 100% RDA, and add E supplement.
Safe Upper Limit: 1200 IU
The Scoop: Vitamin E is one nutrient that appears safe and beneficial at levels far above the RDA. If you take blood thinning medication, consult a doctor before taking it.

Vitamin K
Essential for blood to clot
RDA: 80 mcg
What to look for in a multivitamin: Aim for 25 mcg.
Safe Upper Limit: 30,000 mcg (or 30 mg)
The Scoop: If you're on blood thinning medication, tell your doctor before taking vitamin K.

Thiamin (B1)
Helps your body turn carbs into energy
RDA: 1.5 mg
What to look for in a multivitamin: Aim for 100% RDA.
Safe Upper Limit: 50 mg
The Scoop: High levels of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6 are sometimes sold as "stress" formulas. There's no evidence they help relieve stress.

Riboflavin (B2)
Helps produce energy in all your cells
RDA: 1.7 mg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA.
Safe Upper Limit: 200 mg
The Scoop: By law, white bread is enriched with riboflavin (as well as thiamin, niacin, iron and folic acid).

Niacin (nicotinic acid)
Helps your body use sugars and fatty acids
RDA: 20 mg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA.
Safe Upper Limit: 35 mg
The Scoop: Take higher levels (2000 mg or more to reduce cholesterol) ONLY under a doctor's care.

Vitamin B6 (pyriodoxine)
Helps produce antibodies that fight infection
RDA: 2mg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA (most women’s diets run short on B6).
Safe Upper Limit: 100mg
The Scoop: Too much B6 can cause (reversible) nerve damage.

Folic Acid
Critical for making DNA for new cells, helps reduce high levels of hemocysteine
RDA: 400 mcg
What to look for in a multi: 100% of RDA (It's unlikely that diet alone provides 100% RDA. Top sources are beans, legumes, orange juice and spinach.)
Safe Upper Limit: 1000 mcg
The Scoop: This is a must for women capable of bearing children, it's proven to cut nervous system birth defects in half. Folic acid may fight heart disease and colon cancer.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Helps make the protective lining of nerve cells
RDA: 6mcg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% (especially in menopausal women).
Safe Upper Limit: 3000 mcg
The Scoop: As you age, you absorb B12 better from supplements than from food; sublingual tablets are absorbed the best.

Biotin
Helps your body turn food into energy
RDA: 300 mcg
What to look for in a multi: Ignore - your diet has enough.
Safe Upper Limit: 2500 mcg
The Scoop: Bacteria in your intestines create biotin.

Pantothenic Acid
Helps turn your food into energy
RDA: 10 mg
What to look for in a multi: Ignore - your diet has enough.
Safe Upper Limit: 1000 mg
The Scoop: Pantos means "everywhere" in Greek, and it is thus found in most foods.

Calcium
Essential for bones, fights high blood pressure, colon cancer, and PMS
RDA: 1000-1500 mg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA.
Safe Upper Limit: 2500 mg
The Scoop: If you don't get enough calcium, your body will take it from your bones. If over 50, you may need more D than a multivitamin supplies. Take calcium carbonate with meals, or take calcium citrate on an empty stomach. For best absorption, don't take more than 500 mg at one time.

Iron
Part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to cells
RDA: 18 mg
What to look for in a multi: Low iron supplements are best.
Safe Upper Limit: 65 mg
The Scoop: Don't take iron above RDA unless blood tests indicate anemia. High iron intake may be linked to heart disease.

Magnesium
Part of many enzymes that control the chemical reactions in your body
RDA: 400 mg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA and eat lots of cooked dried beans, whole grains, and spinach.
Safe Upper Limit: 700 mg
The Scoop: Don't take more than 350 mg from supplements; higher amounts can cause diarrhea in some people.

Zinc
Important for wound healing and a strong immune system
RDA: 15 mg
What to look for in a multi: Aim for 100% RDA.
Safe Upper Limit: 30 mg
The Scoop: Too little zinc can impair the immune system, AND too much zinc can impair the immune system.

Selenium
Protects cells from free radicals that can cause cancer and heart disease
RDA: 70 mcg
What to look for in a multi: 100% RDA
Safe Upper Limit: 200 mcg
The Scoop: People taking 200 mcg a day cut their risks of lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer in half one study found; it may be toxic at 1,000 mcg.

Copper
Needed for healthy connective tissue in the heart and blood vessels
RDA: 2mg
What to look for in a multi: 100% RDA (most women's diets are way short).
Safe Upper Limit: 9 mg
The Scoop: Oysters, lobsters, and crab are loaded with copper.

Manganese
Part of many enzymes that control the chemical reactions in your body
RDA: 2 mg
What to look for in a multi: Ignore - your diet has enough.
Safe Upper Limit: 10mg
The Scoop: Whole grains are the best source of manganese.

Chromium
Works with insulin to help your body use blood sugar
RDA: 120 mcg
What to look for in a multi: 100% RDA
Safe Upper Limit: 1000 mcg
The Scoop: Take more than 200 mcg (to control blood glucose) ONLY under a doctor's care.



This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.


07-16-2003 - 01:36 PM


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