Tuesday, May 5, 2009
There is no arguing the effectiveness of vitamins and minerals for optimum health. It is a fact however that people are often left confused by all the information out there, about what are the right quantities needed to meet the body’s daily requirements.
Recommended Daily Intake
The Recommended regular Intake or Reference Daily Intake refers to the levels of each nutrient that should be consumed on a daily basis. All calculations are based on the assumption that the person is healthy. When you look at food labels the information offered is based on these recommendations.
What are multivitamins?
Multivitamins are specially prepared supplements meant to add vitamins and minerals to our daily diets. It is unlikely that anyone can meet all their dietary needs just from food. Vitamin supplements are meant to fill the gap, and promote good health. They come in various forms, such as pills, soluble powders and liquid gel capsules among others.
Not surprisingly, there is still much debate as to the necessity of taking vitamin supplements. For the most part however, doctors seem to agree that it would be wise to take a vitamin supplement to give the diet a boost. One thing that many doctors seem to agree on is that more expensive does not necessarily mean better when it comes to multivitamins.
It is important to note that diets rich in antioxidants help prevent heart disease and cancer. However this has lead many to believe that they need to take these in large doses. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taken in large doses, antioxidant vitamins could actually have an adverse effect on the health. For this reason, most doctors suggest avoiding individual vitamin A, C and E supplements, as you can get these from your multivitamin in safer doses.
Doctors are also quick to point out that taking multivitamins, no matter how high the quality, does not mean that you can just eat what you want. A sensible diet and healthy lifestyle are still the hallmarks of well being. The recommendations for multivitamins that each person should take will vary depending on a number of factors. These include
• Gender, particularly if dealing with a woman of childbearing age
• The individual’s overall health
After menopause, women begin to lose bone mass. Therefore they would need a multivitamin with higher calcium content, or a special calcium supplement. The recommendation is that after turning 50, women need between 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium to maintain bone strength. Since it is best taken in doses of roughly 500 milligrams, a calcium supplement may be the best bet for women in this category.
Also, multivitamins become more important for people over age 60, as at that time the body may have difficulty absorbing some nutrients from food. Women who are pregnant or who are hoping to become pregnant should take a folic acid supplement, or a multivitamin that contains it. It has been shown that folic acid help to prevent birth defects. Individuals who have been placed on blood thinners should avoid vitamin K. This vitamin has been shown to interact with these types of medication.
In conclusion, one should not allow ourselves to believe that dose after dose of vitamins is the equivalent of a healthy lifestyle. Doctors are keen to stress that we should try to eat the minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. No matter how good your vitamins are, they can never replace a well balanced diet.