December 18, 2014

POU Weekly Health Thread: Who Needs A Vitamin?

Last night I decided to clean out my medicine cabinet. I will constantly buy a supplement or vitamin that I forget about after a week. All kinds of stuff from GNC or the Herbal Shop. If I read about it in O magazine, for some reason I MUST get it. So today, I thought, why not break down what we really need and what we might need, and what we’re (and by “we” I mean “me”) wasting our money on.

The ABCs of Vitamins – Are They Worth Taking?

 

It seems as if each day there’s a new product that promises to provide you with extra nutritional support, a boost of immunity or a host of antioxidants to fight off diseases. 

Take a walk down the pharmacy aisle and you’ll see so many vitamin bottles, it can leave you confused: Which ones are necessary? Will taking them actually do anything helpful? 

“Here’s the point about vitamins,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist and FNC contributor. “Most people who eat a well-balanced diet in an upscale socio-economic environment do not need vitamin supplements, with the exception of calcium and vitamin D. Those are usually deficient in our diets.” 

So here’s a breakdown of what each vitamin does, how much your body needs, and in what form the vitamin is best taken: 

Vitamins A & E 

Siegel said vitamin A and E supplements are not necessary. Instead, people should seek natural sources of these antioxidants. 

“They are overused,” Siegel said. “These are are antioxidants that were trendy for many years, and it was thought they protected you from heart disease and cancers, but it turns out they don’t. So, I don’t recommend those.” 

Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli, while vitamin E is found in cucumbers, milk and vegetable oils.

 Vitamin B12 

Siegel said a lack of vitamin B12 can cause peripheral neuropathy, stroke or anemia, yet it can easily be replaced by an injection. 

“You’ve got to keep a check on your B12 levels, you can be tested,” Siegel said. 

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in liver, shellfish, milk and eggs.

 Vitamin C 

When it comes to vitamin C, 500 milligrams is enough, Siegel said. “But, be careful, you should be getting that already. It’s not just in orange juice, it’s also in meat.” 

Also, don’t be fooled by the popular myth that vitamin C prevents colds. Its main purpose is to help bones regrow and heal wounds, Siegel said.

 Fruits that contain the highest amounts of vitamin C include papayas, strawberries and oranges. 

Vitamin D 

A lack of vitamin D is associated with heart disease, muscle problems, a loss of mental acuity and fertility problems, Siegel said. 

“Everybody should consider taking a vitamin D supplement,” Siegel said. “You need at least 400 international units per day. You should have your doctor check your levels (through a blood test).”

 Siegel said proton pump inhibitors (medicines like Nexium or Protonix), which treat acid reflux symptoms, may block the body’s absorption of vitamins B12 and D, so anyone on those medicines should have their levels checked regularly. 

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin, because it is produced naturally in the body through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It can be found in salmon, tuna and eggs.

Vitamin K 

Vitamin K, which helps the body clot blood, is found in leafy green vegetables. If you are eating enough salads, you should be all set, Siegel said. 

Calcium 

You should take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day, especially if you are a post-menopausal female, Siegel said. Calcium is essential for keeping bones strong and preventing them from breaking. 

Women should continue to get their calcium from outside sources, even if they are taking a supplement, Siegel said. 

Calcium can be found in dairy products such as milk and cheese, as well as in almonds, figs, collard greens and kale

Folic Acid 

Not everyone is aware of how important folic acid is, especially to pregnant women as it can prevent major birth defects in the baby’s spine and brain, Siegel said. It is found in all prenatal vitamins. 

Foods such as liver, peas, spinach and sunflower seeds are high in folate.

Iron 

Most people do not need iron supplements.

“If you are iron-deficient, we want to know why,” Siegel said. “But, maybe a menstruating woman or someone who is iron-deficient should take a prescribed dose, in which case I would recommend 325 milligrams of Ferrosulfate twice a day.”

 Red meats, poultry, fish, beans and tofu are rich in iron. 

Magnesium 

Magnesium is essential to the body’s heart and muscle function, as well as your nerves, but you usually do not have to supplement magnesium, Siegel said. If you think you may be deficient, ask your doctor to check your magnesium levels through a simple blood test.

 Magnesium is found in foods like bananas, coconut, peanuts and shrimp. 

Thiamine 

People who are heavy drinkers — and are not willing to give up on the booze — should consider taking 100 milligrams of thiamine per day, Siegel said, as alcohol can lead to a thiamine deficiency. 

A deficiency in thiamine can lead to psychosis and brain disorders such as encephalopathy, which can be caused by cirrhosis of the liver. 

Foods rich in thiamine include pork, oatmeal, brown rice, cauliflower and oranges. 

Zinc 

“I’m not suggesting you take zinc unless you have a poor diet,” Siegel said. “It is good for the skin, and there is some evidence it may decrease the severity of colds, but I think that needs more studying. So, if you are going to take zinc, take 1 milligram each day.” 

Beef, lamb and liver have the highest concentrations of zinc in food. 

Siegel added that if you really feel your diet is “horrendous,” you may benefit from a multivitamin, but otherwise, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits should do the trick.

So basically I just need to eat right!
 

m4s0n501
  • Miranda

    Speaking of health…i really don’t understand this lawsuit

    NYC’s big soda ban unfair to minorities, lawsuit says
    By Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press

    Opponents of the city’s limit on the size of sugary drinks are raising questions of racial fairness alongside other complaints as the novel restriction faces a court test.

    The NAACP’s New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation have joined beverage makers and sellers in trying to stop the rule from taking effect March 12. With a hearing set Wednesday, critics are attacking what they call an inconsistent and undemocratic regulation, while city officials and health experts defend it as a pioneering and proper move to fight obesity.

    The issue is complex for the minority advocates, especially given obesity rates that are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. The groups say in court papers they’re concerned about the discrepancy, but the soda rule will unduly harm minority businesses and “freedom of choice in low-income communities.”

    more here
    http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/01/23/16661800-nycs-big-soda-ban-unfair-to-minorities-lawsuit-says?lite

    • Aquagranny911

      I don’t understand this either. What are these people thinking & cui bono? I smell something that is all about the $$$ not “choice or health”

      Just my 2 pesos…

      • JojoRaze

        They are basically arguing the local bodegas are gonna suffer a steep drop in sales because people are gonna buy less soda. I’m like then stock fruit.

  • Aquagranny911

    Did you write this diary just for me? I’m ashamed to admit how many bottles of vitamins I have bought, only took a few & then they ended up on a shelf or in the fridge until they expired.

    I even still have a bottle of liquid multi-vitamins I bought after my daughter told me that pills & capsules often go right through you whole. She told me that Boulder County in CO waste treatment plant actually got a special machine to crush the pills still left in the caca because Boulder County people take enough vitamins to choke a land fill! This is true. I think you can actually look it up.

    She told me I should be taking liquid vitamins so I bought some. It tasted okay but looked like something you would find in a swamp so I quit taking them. Time to clean the fridge & pantry out, I do believe.

    I’m just not good with vitamins. I would rather eat stuff that looks & tastes good. Great diary, thanks!

    • Miranda

      Everytime I read a “take this! it will do wonders for “insert skin, metabolism or energy here”………I dutifully run right out and get it…..and that’s why I have a cabinet that looks like The Vitamin Shoppe store.

    • Miranda

      Everytime I read a “take this! it will do wonders for “insert skin, metabolism or energy here”………I dutifully run right out and get it…..and that’s why I have a cabinet that looks like The Vitamin Shoppe store.

      • Aquagranny911

        LOL! I’m so into instant gratification. If the vitamin does not make me slim, gorgeous & looking 25 again in 3 days I usually stop taking it!

      • Aquagranny911

        LOL! I’m so into instant gratification. If the vitamin does not make me slim, gorgeous & looking 25 again in 3 days I usually stop taking it!

  • Alma98

    Here’s what I take daily. Vitamin B-6, Vitamin D, Calcium, Flaxseed oil, chewable fiber gummies, and a daily vitamin supplement. We eat plenty leafy veggies and fruit every day.

    • Aquagranny911

      You are totally a way better woman than I am ‘Carlita Brown!’ I wish I was better dedicated to my health but I have gotten lax & just like to enjoy the days I have left by eating what I like.

      I have tried to take the vitamins but always give up very shortly. SIGH!

    • Aquagranny911

      You are totally a way better woman than I am ‘Carlita Brown!’ I wish I was better dedicated to my health but I have gotten lax & just like to enjoy the days I have left by eating what I like.

      I have tried to take the vitamins but always give up very shortly. SIGH!

  • ch555x

    My regiment consists of a multivitamin, C, any B, fiber (pill and powder), fish oil, garlic, potassium, aspirin, hybrids, and whatever is on clearance/sale at the time. For some reason, I’ll alternate them to where multivitamins are one day while the base elements are on another with aspirin, fiber, etc. everyday. Plus, the diet should include a lot of this stuff (i.e. oatmeal, fruits/veggies, nuts for lunch), so I should be oozing with this stuff…:/

  • ch555x

    My regiment consists of a multivitamin, C, any B, fiber (pill and powder), fish oil, garlic, potassium, aspirin, hybrids, and whatever is on clearance/sale at the time. For some reason, I’ll alternate them to where multivitamins are one day while the base elements are on another with aspirin, fiber, etc. everyday. Plus, the diet should include a lot of this stuff (i.e. oatmeal, fruits/veggies, nuts for lunch), so I should be oozing with this stuff…:/

    • Aquagranny911

      Your regiment makes me feel the total slacker & deficient in too many ways. In spite of my lax ways about vitamins & supplements, I do eat mostly good because I love fresh fruits and most vegetables & am really not that fond of meats. I do like oatmeal & most whole grains which I eat a lot. SIGH!

    • Aquagranny911

      Your regiment makes me feel the total slacker & deficient in too many ways. In spite of my lax ways about vitamins & supplements, I do eat mostly good because I love fresh fruits and most vegetables & am really not that fond of meats. I do like oatmeal & most whole grains which I eat a lot. SIGH!