Weekly Wellness: How to improve your fitness with vitamins
COLUMBIA -Vitamins and minerals are necessary. And if we aren't getting them from our foods, we might need to get them from a supplement. To help people better understand the minimum and maximum doses for supplements, the Institute of Medicine has established some guidelines.
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) and the AI (Adequate Intake) are the amounts of a vitamin or mineral you need to stay healthy and avoid nutritional deficiencies. They are tailored to women, men, and specific age groups.
The UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) is the maximum amount of daily vitamins and minerals that you can safely take without risking an overdose or serious side effects. For certain nutrients, the higher you go above the UL, the greater the chance of having problems.
Separate from the RDA and the UL, the FDA uses a different measurement of nutritional intake called the DV (Daily Value). The DV is the only measurement you'll find on food and supplement labels. This number is the amount of a vitamin or nutrient that a person should get for optimum health from a 2,000 calories-a-day diet.
Many people find it convenient to take an all-in-one multivitamin to cover all the proverbial bases. There has also been a lot of controversy in the media about whether or not multivitamins are a waste of money. Do they really do what they say the do? There is a lot of research available to help to steer you in the right direction as to what would be the ideal multivitamin for you - and which have the best rankings.
This link from WebMD can help you choose the best multivitamin for you. And this link from Labdoor.com will give you a product report and ranking of many of the popular vitamin brands found on the shelves today.
In the meantime, what are the vitamins and nutrients that we should be concerned about and how can we make sure we are getting what we need?
The Institute of Medicine has determined upper limits for 24 nutrients. Below you will find the values of the more recognizable nutrients. This table only applies to adults age 19 or older. It also does not apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as they have different nutritional requirements. Anyone who is under 19, pregnant, or breastfeeding should check with a doctor before using supplements.
• Age 1-3: 700 mg/day
• Age 4-8: 1,000 mg/day
• Age 9-18: 1,300 mg/day
• Age 19-50: 1,000 mg/day
• Women age 51+: 1,200 mg/day
• Men age 71+: 1,200 mg/day
• Age 19-50: 2,500 mg/day
• Age 51 and up:2,000 mg/day
While yogurt, milk, and cheese do have calcium, it is not an ideal amount so a supplement is needed.
• Men: 8 mg/day
• Women age 19-50: 18 mg/day
• Women age 51 and up: 8 mg/day
• 45 mg/day
You might get enough from foods like one cup of some breakfast cereals or red meat but if you don't eat those items frequently, you might want to look for a supplement.
• Men age 19-30: 400 mg/day
• Men age 31 and up: 420 mg/day
• Women age 19-30: 310 mg/day
• Women age 31 and up: 320 mg/day
• 350 mg/day (This applies only to magnesium in supplements or fortified foods. There is no upper limit for magnesium in food and water.)
You can get magnesium from dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, among others, but you may still need a supplement.
• 700 mg/day
• Up to age 70: 4,000 mg/day Over age 70: 3,000 mg/day
Almost all foods contain phosphorus. Particularly rich sources include dairy products (milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese), meat, poultry, fish, tofu and eggs.
• Age 19-50: 1,500 mg/day
• Age 51-70: 1,300 mg/day
• Age 71 and up: 1,200 mg/day
• 2,300 mg/day
Sodium is something that we need in our diets but it is relatively easy to get too much. Read labels to make sure you're staying within your recommended daily allowance range.
• Men: 3,000 IU/day
• Women: 2,310 IU/day
• 10,000 IU/day
It's best to get A from a beta-carotene source, such as a large carrot or a cup of sliced cantaloupe.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
• Men: 16 mg/day
• Women: 14 mg/day
35 mg/day (This applies only to niacin in supplements or fortified foods. There is no upper limit for niacin in natural sources.)
It's best to get vitamin B from grains. One cup of most fortified breakfast cereals has all the daily B you need. Other options: whole-grain breads, asparagus, and beans.
• Men age 19-50: 1.3 mg/day
• Men age 51 up:1.7 mg/day
• Women age 19-50: 1.3 mg/day
• Women age 51 up: 1.5 mg/day
• 100 mg/day
• Men: 90 mg/day
• Women: 75 mg/day
• 2,000 mg/day
It's best to get vitamin C from citrus fruits and vibrant veggies. A single orange, one red pepper or a cup of broccoli all provide your daily intake of C.
Vitamin D (Calciferol)
• Age 1-70: 15 micrograms/day (600 IU, or international units)
• Age 70 and older: 20 micrograms/day (800 IU)
• 100 micrograms/day (4,000 IU)
You will probably need a supplement. Milk, orange juice, and salmon contain small amounts of D, but nowhere near enough.
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
• 22.4 IU/day
• 1,500 IU/day (This applies only to vitamin E in supplements or fortified foods. There is no upper limit for vitamin E from natural sources.)
You can find vitamin E in leafy green vegetables, fish and plant oils but you might find it beneficial to use a supplement.
• Men: 11 mg/day
• Women: 8 mg/day
• 40 mg/day
If you have a zinc deficiency, it is suggested that animal food sources are better than plant food sources. Foods such as seafood, beef, lamb, pork, and chicken will provide excellent sources of zinc.
Read your food labels. Check your numbers. Fuel your body so that it will work for you. Be well.