Posted: 12/26/2014

Vitamins & Minerals: Do You Need More?

Multivitamin-vitamin-supplement

Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals through the food you eat every day. Take a look at the table below and assess if you are getting enough of these essential vitamins and minerals. Plus get tips on improving your vitamin and mineral intake so you can live a healthy life.

Recommended Daily Intake (Based on a 2,000 Calorie diet)

Vitamin/Mineral

Daily Value

Food Sources

Vitamin A

900 mcg

Liver, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, orange foods

Vitamin B1-Thaimine

1.2 mg

Sunflower seeds, lentils, beans, legumes

Vitamin B2-Riboflavin

1.3 mg

Eggs, almonds, yogurt, mushrooms, soy, milk

Vitamin B3-Niacin

16 mg

Tuna, chicken, salmon, turkey, sardines, peanuts

Vitamin B6

1.3 mg

Salmon, chicken, tuna, turkey, beef, potatoes

Vitamin B9-Folic Acid

400 mcg

Legumes, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, orange juice

Vitamin B12

2.4 mcg

Fish, shellfish, lamb, beef, meat

Vitamin C

90 mg

Bell pepper, chili pepper, guava, leafy greens, berries

Vitamin D

15 mcg

Fish, milk, eggs, think dairy

Vitamin E

     15 mg

Sunflower seeds, almonds, olive oil, avocado, spinach

Vitamin K

     80 mcg

Kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, leafy greens

Calcium

1,000 mg

Spinach, sesame seeds, tofu, yogurt, milk, cheese, dairy

Chromium

  35 mcg

Broccoli, grape juice, basil, black pepper, dried spices

Magnesium

  400 mg

Oat bran, almonds, spinach, cashews, black beans

Iron

    *18 mg

Oysters, beef, white beans, dark chocolate

Phosphorus

700 mg

Meat, dairy, salmon

Potassium

3,500 mg

Broccoli, lima beans, potatoes, fish, leafy greens

Selenium

     55 mcg

Brazil nuts, fish, pork, shrimp, beef

Sodium

**2,300 mg

It’s difficult not to get too much sodium

Zinc

      11 mg

Oysters, beef, shellfish, pork

* Men can suffice with less iron, about 9mg.

** 2,300 mg of sodium is the recommended maximum. A healthier quantity is 1,500 mg.

 

To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

Whether or not you need to take supplements is a long-debated issue among scientists and health professionals. The general consensus among many scientists is that you do not need to take supplements unless you are deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral. Most people who eat a balanced diet are not deficient, and food is by far the best source of nutrition. Taking supplements while eating nutrient-lacking food will not suffice. Natural food contains a variety of substances that are vital to our health that vitamins alone do not, such as fiber and phytochemicals.

A couple of common exceptions that have been made to this rule in the medical world are vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin B9 or folic acid. Most older adults are advised to take B12 supplements because their bodies are no longer absorbing it from food. In some cases, older Americans may also be advised to take vitamin D, but recent studies are indicating that the efficacy is unclear. In the future, vitamin D may only be recommended for those who have a deficiency. Pregnant women are advised to take folic acid if they aren’t eating enough folate-rich foods to keep up with the higher amount recommended for pregnancy. Vegans will most likely need supplements.

Excess Can Be Detrimental

Taking too many vitamins or supplements can be dangerous and have undesirable effects. Rather than making you healthier, they can actually be detrimental to your health in large quantities. Just like most things in life, vitamins are better in moderation, and you should stick to your daily recommended intake unless you have a deficiency. Your body will only absorb the nutrients that it needs. Unless you are deficient, you are basically pouring money down the toilet. Some vitamins, especially fat-soluble vitamins, can be toxic in high amounts. Signs of vitamin overdose include joint or bone pain, irregular or rapid heartbeat, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, dry or cracked lips, and sensitivity to light. If you think you are taking too many supplements, talk to your doctor about doing a blood test.

Several studies have been done to try to prove the benefits of extra vitamin C. In fact, taking Vitamin C supplements is one of the most common health tips. The supposed benefits of taking Vitamin C include preventing a cold, shortening a cold, anti-aging, and cancer prevention. These studies began to spark interest after Linus Pauling, a chemist and Nobel Prize winner, tried vitamin C in 1970. On the advice of a fellow biochemist, he began to supplement with large quantities to try and extend his life. He claimed to feel livelier and started to tout vitamin C as a cure all for the cold, cancer, aging, and more. Since then his theories about vitamin C have been tested and proved wrong multiple times in a number of scientific studies done by the University of Maryland, the University of Toronto, and the Mayo clinic, among others. Linus Pauling died of prostate cancer in 1994, and his wife passed away from stomach cancer.

Supplements & Cancer Prevention

In recent years, studies that involve tens of thousands of participants have tested groups who take vitamins versus those that don’t. Groups that took vitamin and mineral supplements had an increased rate of cancer and heart disease. One of these studies was done at the University of Minnesota in 2011 when 39,000 older women took multivitamins and mineral supplements. This group had a higher rate of death over those who didn’t supplement.

There are numerous studies out there that may be biased toward one side of the argument or the other. No studies prove cause and effect. They only show correlations. At this point in time, the consensus among most national and international health organizations seems to be: only use supplements if you know you are deficient, or you have a medical condition for which a supplement is scientifically proven to help.

For more information about how to stay healthy and for health news and health tips, stay tuned to our blog.

By HelpRx Staff Writer

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About the HelpRx.info Blog

HelpRx.info is staffed by experts in the prescription medication industry. Get the latest health, medical news and pharmaceutical news that can save you money and allow you to take charge of your healthcare. With frequent updates about the prescription drug industry as well as medicine news, you'll gain an insider look into the industry and learn more about how to get the best price on your prescriptions while not sacrificing quality. Subscribe to the HelpRx.info pharmacy blog through our RSS feed or get updates by liking HelpRx.info on Facebook and following HelpRx.info on Twitter.

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Our discounts provide you access to negotiated prices on your prescription drugs at your local pharmacy. We can provide these because we're partnered with OptumRx, a BIG pharmacy benefit provider that provides prescription coverage for MILLIONS of people like you.

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