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Nutrition

Hard-to-get Nutrients

16 years, 2 months ago

4883  0
Posted on Sep 21, 2005, 2 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Many Americans are deficient in some of the most vital nutrients they need to keep their bodies healthy and strong. More than 35 percent of women don't get enough calcium; and about 70 percent of people don't get the vitamin E they need. Here is some advice on how to make sure you're getting what you need.
Many Americans are deficient in some of the most vital nutrients they need to keep their bodies healthy and strong. More than 35 percent of women don't get enough calcium; and about 70 percent of people don't get the vitamin E they need. Here is some advice on how to make sure you're getting what you need.

Americans are notoriously bad eaters, and though we know we should get our nutrients from food that's not happening. So more people are turning to supplements.

Dietician Debbie Strong, from the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, says you have to be smart about supplements. She says: "If you're taking 16 vitamins in one sitting, the body can only absorb so much. So, they're either going to fight for each other or you're only going to absorb some of it."

That's especially true with calcium. Your body can only absorb 500 milligrams at a time.

Vitamin D is also tricky. Strong says, "The only natural food source for vitamin D is oily fish, and our intake of oily fish is not substantial." Fifteen minutes of sun three times a week will do it. If you live above about 40 degrees latitude, you might need a supplement.

Also, go for vitamin E, but read the label carefully. "You want to be sure you get d-tocopherol instead of dl-tocopherol. So, if it says 'natural,' it should ideally be d-tocopherol," Strong tells Ivanhoe.

And get an omega-3 supplement that has as much DHA and EPA as possible. But leave omega-6 behind. "Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, and that's pretty much in the vessels. It's against the inflammation. But the omega-6 are pro-inflammatory," Strong says.

She says getting nutrients from food is our best bet, but just in case, you might want to add some supplements to the mix for a little extra insurance.

Research shows up to 10 million Americans are iron deficient because many foods inhibit absorption of it. To increase iron absorption, take it with vitamin C, fruits or vegetables.



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