The B Vitamins:
Some of the biggest news in vitamins has been this finding that women who get 200 to 300 mcg of folate per day from their diet,plus take a supplement of folic acid, can halve their risk of having babies with neural tube defect, such as spina bifida.The NAS now recommends that all women “capable of becoming pregnant” should get 400 mcg of folic acid daily and maintain a high folate diet.Fruit and greens are good sources.
Calcium and Vitamin D:
If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet or from supplements, your body will take it out of storage from your bones,making them vulnerable to fracture.The new,higher recommendation for calcium is 1,000 mg for women under 51.You can get that from your diet,but you’d better like dairy products to the tune of three servings a day.It wouldn’t hurt to take a supplement of 300 to 500 mg a day.Without vitamin D,our bodies can’t absorb calcium.The NAS’s suggestion for vitamin D is 200 I.U. daily for women between the ages of 19 and 50.You can get this amount from a short stint in the sun or drinking two glasses of milk.
Iron is the nutrient that Americans are most likely to be deficient in,according to the centers for Disease Control and prevention,children and women are mostly at risk.Children with low iron intake frequently have developmental and behavioural problems.Women under age 50 can easily get their iron RDA(15 milligrams per day)from a standard multivitamin.(Meat and fortified pasta and breakfast cereals are good sources.)Most of us don’t require more than that.If you are one of the persons who suffer from hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder in which the body absorbs too much iron from food or vitamin pills, then you should avoid iron supplements.
Selenium:Selenium is the new mineral to watch.In 1996 researchers discovered, to their surprise,evidence that a 200-microgram supplement could cut colon,prostate and lung cancer roughly by half.But so far there’s been only one clinical trial,and it’s not clear why selenium would be effective against only those three cancer.Still,the vitamin industry has rushed in to fill the new demand for 200 mcg selenium supplements.If you want to experiment on the basis of just one study (and we don’t suggest you should)try not to exceed that dose, as the mineral is known to be toxic at 800 mcg.And give Brazil nuts a chance there are about 100 mcg in every one.
The current RDA for vitamin C is 60 mg, a modest amount that is ridiculously easy to get from fruits and vegetables.(One green pepper has 94mg; a half of orange juice has 73 mg)Even without proof that larger doses can fight cancer and heart disease,some experts belive that supplementation in the 100-to-250-mg range is probably beneficial.(There was some consternation this past April when British researchers reported that as little as 500 mg could also have a pro-oxidant effect, but most scientists consider those results inconclusive.)
The experts are generally more bullish on vitamin E’s potential as a disease fighter.Unlike C, which is water soluble, supplemental E isn’t excreted out of the system so easily.The RDA for women is only 8 mg.Bit if you want the supposed disease-fighting benefits,you need to take much more-at least 100 to 200 I.U. and unless you like to drink vegetable oil, that amount would be difficult to get from food alone.(Athletes may want even more E and C.