Tuesday, 1 January 2013



Some of the terminology describing certain plants is typically American. I do not know whether they are available in India under some other name.


 In general the way to get crucial vitamins and minerals is  through  healthy foods, so for a completely well-nourished person, supplements  may be a  waste of money. But for people over age 50, even the best diet may not  provide enough of some important nutrients.

Use this information to  explore details about the Vitamins,  Minerals and Supplements that are most  important and specially as you grow older for people over 50.
Supplements  may cause side effects. If you have certain diseases,  such as cancer or  diabetes, your body may have special nutritional needs.
Be sure  to talk to your  doctor about the vitamins and supplements you  take.


            1.1 Vitamin A
            1.2 Vitamin B1  (thiamin)
            1.3 Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
            1.4  Vitamin B3 (niacin)
            1.5 Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
            1.6 Vitamin B12
            1.7  Vitamin C
            1.8 Vitamin D
            1.9 Vitamin  E
            1.10 Folic acid
            1.11 Vitamin K


            2.1 Calcium
            2.2 Chromium
            2.3 IODINE
            2.4 IRON
            2.5 Magnesium
            2.6 Potassium
            2.7 Selenium
            2.8 Zinc

[3] Supplements

            3.1 Omega-3 fatty acids
            3.2 Echinacea
            3.3 Ginkgo
            3.4 Ginseng


            [1] Vitamins  

            Vitamin A

            How much?        Men: 900 mcg     Women: 700 mcg
            Why you need it:   Promotes good vision; helps keep immune system healthy.
            Good to  know:  In supplements, look for vitamin A as beta carotene, not as  retinol  or  retinoic acid, which increases the risk of bone  fracture.
            Food sources: Dairy products, fish, darkly colored  fruits and vegetables.

            Vitamin B1 (thiamin)

            How much?   Men: 1.2 mg   Women: 1.1 mg
            Why you need it:    Necessary for healthy nerve and brain cells; helps convert food to   energy.
            Good to know:  Antacids and some diuretics may lower  thiamin levels by decreasing absorption and increasing urinary  secretion.
            Food sources:  Liver, whole grains, enriched breads and  cereals.

            Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

            How much?    Men: 1.3 mg   Women: 1.1 mg
            Why you need it:   Important for red blood cell production; helps convert food to  energy.
            Good to know:  Older men and women may be especially  susceptible to riboflavin  deficiency, which can cause cracking or sores at the  corners of the  mouth, skin  irritation or weakness.
            Food sources:   milk, eggs, fortified bread products and cereals.

            Vitamin B3 (niacin)

            How much?     Men: 16 mg   Women: 14 mg
            Why you need it:  Necessary  for proper functioning of the digestive system, skin and   nerves;
            helps convert  food to energy.
            Good to know:   Can cause skin flushing; may be  prescribed to treat high  cholesterol but  should be used only under a doctor's  care because of potentially             severe side  effects.
            Food  sources:   Meat, fish, poultry, eggs.

            Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)  

            How much?     Men: 1.7 mg   Women: 1.5 mg
            Why you need it: Aids  in the formation of red blood cells;  strengthens the  immune system.
            Good  to know: Too high doses of supplements may cause nerve damage,  numbness and  trouble walking.
            Food sources: Beans, nuts, eggs, whole  grains.

            Vitamin B12

            How much?  Men and women: 2.4 mcg
            Why you need it: Essential for  keeping nerves and red blood cells healthy.
            Good to know: As many  as a third of people over 50 do not absorb enough B12 from diet alone;  inadequate absorption may lead to neurological  and  balance  problems.
            Food sources: Fish, shellfish, meat, dairy products.  

            Vitamin C

            How much?   Men: 90 mg   Women: 75 mg  (Smokers should add an extra 35  mg)
            Why you need it: Important for wound healing; boosts  immune system; required for  growth and  repair of tissues in all parts of  body.
            Good to know:  No studies confirm vitamin C prevents colds  although it may shorten  the  length of a cold; excessive amounts may lead to  upset stomach and         diarrhea.
            Food sources:  Citrus fruits, tomatoes,  kiwi, strawberries.

            Vitamin D

            How much?  Ages 51-70: 400 IU (10 mcg)  Age 71+: 600 IU (15 mcg)
            Why  you need it: Helps the body absorb calcium; may protect against  heart   disease, cancer, diabetes and several autoimmune diseases.
            Good to know: The current recommendation is under review and may  soon increase  substantially.
            Food sources: Sun  exposure provides the body's main supply of vitamin D;  fatty fish, fortified  milk and juices also contribute.

            Vitamin E

            How much? Men and women: 15 mg
            Why you need it: Helps protect  cells from damage; may reduce the risk of developing  cancer,  heart disease and  other chronic diseases, but further research is       needed.
            Good to know:  If you take a blood thinner, talk to your doctor before taking  supplements;  vitamin E increases bleeding risk.
            Food sources:  Vegetable oils,  nuts, fruits, vegetables.

            Folic acid

            How much?  Men and women:  400 mcg
            Why you need it:   This B vitamin helps form red blood cells and produce  DNA.
            Good to know: High levels may mask vitamin B12  deficiency, especially in older  adults. Recent research, suggests that for  women, folic acid along with             vitamins B6  and B12 may reduce the risk of  developing age-related macular  degeneration.
            Food sources:    Enriched cereals, whole-grain breads, dark, leafy  vegetables.

            Vitamin K

            How much?  Men: 120 mcg   Women: 90 mcg

            Why you need it:  Helps blood clot properly and helps maintain   strong bones  in older men and  women.
            Good to know: Can dilute the effect of blood thinners, so  talk to  your  doctor if you take Coumadin (warfarin) or other blood  thinners.
            Food sources: Plant oils, green vegetables, cabbage,  cauliflower.

            [2] MINERALS

         1.    Calcium

            How much?   Men and women: 1200 mg
            Why you need it: Helps form and  maintain healthy teeth and bones;  needed  for normal heartbeat; helps with blood  clotting.
            Good to know: The body needs vitamin D to help absorb  calcium, so if you  use calcium supplements choose one that contains D. Recent  studies  have  linked calcium pills to increased risk of heart  attack.
            Food sources: Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, bok  choy,  calcium-fortified orange juice.

            2.   Chromium

            How much?  Men: 30 mcg  Women: 20 mcg
            Why you need it: Helps  maintain normal blood sugar levels.
            Good to know: There has been  interest in treating high glucose levels and  type 2 diabetes with supplemental  chromium, but research to date is inconclusive.
            Food sources: Meat, chicken, broccoli, apples, fish, grape juice.

           3.   Iodine

            How much?    Men and women: 150 mcg
            Why you need it:  Necessary for normal thyroid function; prevents goiter, a swelling of  the  thyroid gland.
            Good to know:  Deficiency occurs more often in women than men; when buying salt,  choose one labeled "iodized."
            Food sources: Seafood, iodized salt.

            4.   Iron

            How much?  Men and women: 8 mg
            Why you need it:  Essential for  healthy red blood cells.
            Good to know: Men and women over 50  generally should not take a mutivitamin  containing  iron unless they have been  diagnosed with iron deficiency.
            Food sources:  Meat, eggs,  fortified bread and grain products.

            5.   Magnesium

            How much?  Men: 420 mg   Women: 320 mg
            Why you need it:  Supports  a healthy immune system; helps keep bones strong;  regulates heart  rhythm.
            Good to know: Magnesium-rich foods may help protect against  the  development of type 2 diabetes; may also decrease the risk of high  blood  pressure in            women.
            Food sources: Whole grains, nuts, green  vegetables.

           6. Potassium

            How much?  Men and women: 4700 mg
            Why you need it:  Crucial for heart, kidney, muscle, nerve function; important in   controlling blood pressure; works with sodium to maintain the body's   water  balance.
            Good to know:  With age, kidneys become less able to remove potassium from blood,   so  speak with your doctor before taking supplements. A diet rich in             fruits and   vegetables generally provides sufficient potassium.
            Food sources:  Cantaloupe, bananas, yogurt, leafy green vegetables and sweet  potatoes.

            7. Selenium

            How much?  Men and women: 55 mcg
            Why you need it:  Helps make  special proteins that play a role in preventing cell  damage.
            Good to  know:  May reduce the risk of certain cancers, including lung, colorectal   and  prostate, although not all studies have found this effect.
            Food  sources:  Red meat, fish, chicken, vegetables.

            8.  Zinc

            How much?  Men: 11 mg   Women: 8 mg
            Why you need it:   Aids in  wound healing; keeps sense of smell and taste sharp.
            Good to know: Many people take zinc to ease the miseries of a common cold, but  its effect is controversial; some studies suggest zinc can speed  recovery,  others  conclude it doesn't work. Some studies show that taking a  combination of  antioxidants and zinc reduces the risk of advanced _age-related  macular        degeneration.
            Food sources:  Fortified cereals, red meat, eggs,  seafood.

            [3] SUPPLEMENTS

           1.  Omega-3 fatty acids

            What does it do:  Important for blood clotting, cell division, relaxation and  contraction of  muscles.
            Good to know:  The omega-3 fatty acids  plentiful in fatty fish and fish oil  supplements  have built a powerful  reputation for reducing the risk of a second         heart   attack. Studies on fish oil  and memory have had mixed results. May interact with blood  thinners.

            2. Echinacea

            What does it do: This native American plant may reduce the duration of a cold.
            Good  to know:   Study results are mixed about whether it can prevent colds and  other  infections.

            3. Ginkgo

            What does it do:  Derived from the oldest living tree species, ginkgo extract improves  walking in people with certain circulatory problems that affect the  legs.
            Good to know: Research on ginkgo's effect on Alzheimer's and  memory loss has been  disappointing. Ginkgo can increase bleeding risk, so talk  to your  doctor if you  take blood thinners or have surgery  scheduled.

            4.  Ginseng

            What does it do:  The root of this plant appears to benefit people with heart  disorders. It  may also lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2  diabetes.
            Good to know:  People with diabetes should use caution  with ginseng, especially if  they are taking medication to lower blood  glucose.

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