Vitamins Minerals supplements. Who, How, and What
Vitamin and mineral supplement are available in most of the pharmacy and drug stores. Which one should you take and how, if any.
Who should take vitamin mineral supplements?
You do not need to take supplements if you are healthy and eat a balanced diet consisting of approximately 1,600 calories per day.
The reasons for taking supplements are as follows:
1. Prenatal vitamins for women planning pregnancy, during pregnancy and during nursing.
2. The daily food intake decreases, while the need for nutrition increases for elderly. Post menopausal vitamin needs are different than for younger women.
3. Children who do not eat properly.
4. You should take supplements when you are on a diet to lose weight.
5. A physician may advise you to take supplements during post-operation recovery.
6. A physician may advise you to take supplements, if you are suffering from a chronic condition.
7. A physician may advise you to take supplements if a prescription medication interferes with metabolism.
8. Vegetarians, who do not drink sufficient milk (at least 2 cups per day), and eat plenty and different varieties of Dal (Lentils and beans).
How to take vitamin supplements?
1. Vitamin supplements should be taken during or after a meal. This allows slow absorption. The fluids in the meal metabolize water-soluble vitamins, while the fats in the food will metabolize fat-soluble vitamins.
If you take a vitamin supplement on an empty stomach, up to 85% of the water soluble vitamins may be expelled out with urine or feces. The fat soluble vitamins may be stored in liver.
2. You should not expect more than 60% of the nutrients to be absorbed. This is problematic. The supplements are formulated for 100% RDA. A person may be tempted to take two supplements, one in the morning and one in the evening. You will get right amount of water-soluble vitamins, but you may be staring at over-dosage or toxicity associated with fat-soluble vitamins in the long run.
3. Always take vitamin supplement with a glass of water. Don't take vitamins with a glass of milk, cup of coffee, tea or Soda pop. Calcium in milk may impede absorption of iron and other minerals.
4. I recommend taking supplements at night before going to bed. Some people feel nauseated when taking supplements. Taking supplements at night before going to sleep alleviates this concern till you get used to it.
What Vitamin mineral supplements should be taken?
You should not take a single vitamin or mega vitamins. Choose a supplement with multiple vitamins and minerals that are formulated in given proportions optimum absorption and effectiveness for given conditions.
1. Seniors may take formula specially designed for Seniors. The size of the pill prohibits to put enough Calcium and Fish oil (Omega3). You my need to take multivitamin supplement, Calcium supplement with Vitamin D, and Omega 3 supplement.
Seniors formula may have Lutein and Lycopene for macular degeneration
Vegetarian seniors may opt for Omega 3 (DHA) Marine Algae supplement.
Seniors may also need special supplements such as Vitamin B12 as sublingual wafer, Calcium and Vitamin E
2. Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated for women planning a pregnancy, during pregnancy and during nursing. In addition, the physician may prescribe a Marine Algae (DHA about 250 mg).
3. Children vitamins are specially formulated for ages six months to 4 years. The formulations include Vitamin A for vision and skin, Vitamin C to protect bones and tissues, and D for development of bones and teeth.
The breast-fed babies whose one of the parent is of Indian origin, should be given Vitamin D drops. Some of these children may also need iron drops.
Omega 3 (DHA) is becoming one of another recommended supplement for children for vision and brain development.
Most of these vitamins are available as either chewable or as drops depending on the age. You should always consult pediatrician before giving any vitamins or mineral supplements.
4. Lacto vegetarians who do not drink enough milk (2 cups per day), eat plenty and different varieties of Dal (Lentils and Beans) should consider taking multivitamin supplements with minerals.
What is ACES?
ACES refers to Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Selenium. Originally Vitamin A was included as Retinol. Now a days, at least half of it is replaced by Beta-carotene. ACES help reduce oxidative stress. ACES is a general antioxidant formulation to reduce inflammation of cells and slow down effects of aging.
Are there specific guidelines for specific formulation?
Some of the micronutrients need special attention.
1. There is no need to take iron for men over the age of 21, or women after menopause. Most of the seniors supplements have no iron.
2. Vitamin A should not exceed 3000 IU as Retinol, the remainder should be included as Beta-Carotene.
3. Indians living in USA and Canada should consider taking Vitamin D3 at all ages.
4. Hindus should read the label carefully. Many of the vitamins included in the supplements are animal based (specially Vitamin D). To be safe, select Vegan supplements.
5. Unused fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver. Too much of fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful. Unused water-soluble vitamins are just expelled out in urine or feces.
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