VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS & YOU
Decades of use by millions of people demonstrates that supplements have an excellent safety record. Although most vitamins have a wide range of safety, misuse or overuse should be avoided. Some nutrients can be toxic at high levels, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B-6, niacin and iron. The recommended levels on supplement labels should be followed, and you should be aware of your total intake if you consume more than one product.
Are there health or lifestyle circumstances that increase nutrient needs?
Depending on your lifestyle you may need additional vitamins and minerals. To determine your nutrition profile ask yourself these questions: How well do I eat? Do I select foods high in vitamins and minerals? Do I eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day? Am l dieting or watching my calorie and fat intake? Do I smoke? Am I over 50 years old? Am I taking medication(s) on a regular basis? Am I pregnant or trying to become pregnant?
Do nutrient needs change as we get older?
Yes. As we age, our metabolism slows down, and we may decrease our level of physical activity. While our bodies may require fewer calories, our nutrient requirements remain the same and in some cases increase. For instance, since our skin produces less vitamin D as we age and our ability to metabolize it decreases, the need for vitamin D increases in older adults. Due to age-related changes in the digestive system, additional amounts of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are required by many older adults. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends increased amounts of calcium throughout life, but especially in post menopausal women, to protect against osteoporosis. Aging may also diminish the body's ability to resist infections. A recent study demonstrates that consumption of a multivitamin and mineral supplement may improve the body's ability to fight disease and decrease the risk of infection in the elderly. The Alliance for Aging Research recommends antioxidant vitamins to provide protection against certain age-related conditions, including cancer and heart disease.
Due to age-related changes in the digestive system, additional amounts of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are required by many older adults. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends increased amounts of calcium throughout life, but especially in post menopausal women, to protect against osteoporosis.
Aging may also diminish the body's ability to resist infections. A recent study demonstrates that consumption of a multivitamin and mineral supplement may improve the body's ability to fight disease and decrease the risk of infection in the elderly. The Alliance for Aging Research recommends antioxidant vitamins to provide protection against certain age-related conditions, including cancer and heart disease.
Scientific evidence supporting the role of vitamins and minerals in promoting good health and reducing the risk of disease is rapidly mounting. Making healthy dietary choices, including the appropriate use of nutritional supplements, should be part of a healthy lifestyle.
|Vitamin A||Promotes growth and repair of body tissues, bone formation and healthy skin and hair. Essential for night vision.|
|Beta carotene||Serves as an antioxidant and may help protect against certain cancers, cataracts and heart disease. Converted to vitamin A in the body.|
|Vitamin C||Promotes healthy cell development, wound healing, and resistance to infections. Serves as an antioxidant and may help protect against certain cancers, cataracts and heart disease.|
|Vitamin D||Aids in the absorption of calcium and helps to build bone mass and prevent bone loss. Helps maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphorous|
|Vitamin E||Helps protect cells from free radical injury and is key for normal growth and development. Serves as an antioxidant and may help protect against certain cancers, cataracts and heart disease.|
|Vitamin K||Needed for normal blood clotting|
|Thiamin||Essential for converting carbohydrates to energy. Needed for normal functioning of the nervous system and muscles, including the heart muscle.|
|Riboflavin||Helps in red blood cell formation, nervous system functioning and release of energy from foods. May improve vision and help protect against cataracts.|
|Niacin||Promotes release of energy from foods and proper nervous system functioning|
|Vitamin B-6||Important for metabolism of protein and proper nervous system functioning|
|Vitamin B-12||Vital for blood formation and healthy nervous system|
|Biotin||Assists in the metabolism of fatty acids and utilization of B- vitamins|
|Folic Acid||Needed for normal growth and development and red blood cell formation. Helps reduce risk of neural tube birth defects. May reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia.|
|Pantothenic Acid||Aids in normal growth and development|
|Calcium||Essential for developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Assists in blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Helps reduce risk of osteoporosis.|
|Chromium||Aids in glucose metabolism and regulates blood sugar.|
|Iron||Necessary for red blood cell formation and function. Amount needed is higher in women of childbearing age.|
|Magnesium||Activates nearly 100 enzymes and helps nerves and muscles function|
|Phosphorus||Works with calcium to develop and maintain strong bones and teeth. Enhances use of other nutrients.|
|Potassium||Regulates heartbeat, maintains fluid balance and helps muscles contract.|
|Selenium||Essential component of a key antioxidant enzyme. Necessary for normal growth and development.|
|Zinc||Essential part of more than 100 enzymes involved in digestion, metabolism, reproduction and wound healing.|
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