January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012
Choose Your Vitamins Carefully


Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Monday and I hope you had a safe and great weekend. It was another busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Most people take vitamins whether they are healthy or not. But do you know which vitamins are the best for those over 50 or people with chronic illnesses like HIV?

The best way to get crucial vitamins and minerals is by eating the right balance of healthy foods. But for people over age 50 or living with chronic illnesses, even the best diet may not provide enough of some important nutrients. How many of us can claim to be getting the full complement of what we need from our diet each day?

Here is the A to Z Guide will help you learn about the vitamins, minerals and supplements that are most important for older adults so you can be sure to consume them regularly. (Note: If you have certain diseases, such as cancer or diabetes, your body may have special nutritional needs. Also, certain medications can have adverse interactions with vitamins and other dietary supplements. Be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about the vitamins, minerals and supplements you take.

Vitamin A

How much to you need? 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 (thiamine)

How much do you need? Men: 1.2 mg. Women: 1.1 mg

Why you need it: Thiamine is 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 do you need? Men: 1.3 mg. Women: 1.1 mg

Why you need it: Riboflavin is 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 do you need? Men: 16 mg. Women: 14 mg

Why you need it: Niacin is necessary for the 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 do you need? Men: 1.7 mg. Women: 1.5 mg

Why you need it: Vitamin B6 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 do you need? Men and women: 2.4 mcg

Why you need it: B12 is 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 E

How much do you need? Men and women: 15 mg

Why you need it: Vitamin E 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 do you need? Men and women: 400 mcg

Why you need it: A B vitamin, folic acid 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 do you need? Men: 120 mcg. Women: 90 mcg

Why you need it: Vitamin K 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.

Tomorrow I will do a blog on the minerals recommended. Hope you have a great start to your week!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,



Daddy Dab