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What to take:
Most nutritionists say it is better to get your vitamins and minerals from a healthy diet of natural foods. See more at supplements in alternative medicine.
However many people don't have a healthy diet.
A 2006 report by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concluded that "regular supplementation with a single nutrient or a mixture of nutrients for years has no significant benefits in the primary prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration or cognitive decline." However, the report noted that multivitamins have beneficial effects for certain sub-populations, such as people with poor nutritional status, that vitamin D and calcium can help prevent fractures in older people, and that zinc and antioxidants can help prevent age-related macular degeneration in high-risk individuals.

  In 2015 the NY Attorney General's office accused four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves.
  Three out of six herbal products at Target -- ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort and valerian root, a sleep aid -- tested negative for the herbs on their labels. But they did contain powdered rice, beans, peas and wild carrots.
  See New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers - The New York Times

The most common recommendations are:

  • Multiple Vitamin -
    Basic commercial multivitamin supplement products often contain the following ingredients: vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid (B9), B12, B5 (pantothenate), H (biotin), A, E, D3, K1, potassium iodide, cupric (sulfate anhydrous, picolinate, sulfate monohydrate, trioxide), selenomethionine, borate(s), zinc, calcium, magnesium, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, betacarotene, and iron.
    Source: Multivitamin - Wikipedia
  • Vitamin D3 - Can lower the risk of colon and possibly many other cancers, as well as other chronic diseases.
  • Folic Acid - May lower the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer.

How Much:
Supplements have several guidelines for quantity.
DRI is the general term for a set of reference values used to plan and assess nutrient intakes of healthy people and includes the following.

  • RDA - Recommended Dietary Allowances - Amount you need to stay healthy and avoid nutritional deficiencies.
    Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine - U.S.
  • DRI - Dietary Reference Intake -
    Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
  • EAR - Estimated Average Requirement - The average daily nutrient intake level estimated to meet the requirement of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.
  • AI - Adequate Intake - Established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
  • DV - Daily Values - The amount of a vitamin or nutrient that a person should get for optimum health from a 2,000 calories-a-day diet.
  • UL - Tolerable Upper Intake Level - The maximum amount of daily vitamins and minerals that you can safely take without risking an overdose or serious side effects.
MVM - multivitamin/mineral dietary supplements.
Many ULs are much higher than the RDA but With some vitamins and minerals, the upper limit is pretty close to the RDA. Source: Vitamins and Minerals: How Much Do You Need?
See also Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc | National Academies Press (NAP)

"Supplements in Your 70s and Beyond" (AARP Magazine, Dec. 2014) says,
"Our guts become less efficient as we age and that limite our ability to get sufficient nutrients from food explains Dian McKayk a nutrition research scientist at Tufts U."
They recommend:
Vitamin B12 - 2.4 micrograms daily.
Essential for optimal brain function.

Vitamin D - 800 IUs D3 daily
Your body doesnt synthesize D from sunlight as well.

Protein - 20-30 grams of whey protein power mixed into a daily shake.
Once you lose more than 10% of your muscle mass, your immune system doesn't function properly.

Example Wholesale Nutrition Multivitamin
Vitamin A (as retinyl Acetate) 10,000 IU 200%
Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) 600 IU 150%
Vitamin B1 (as thiamine mononitrate) 2.3 mg 150%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 2.6 mg 150%
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxin hydrochloride) 3 mg 150%
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) 9 µg 150%
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 90 mg 150%
Niacin (may cause slight flush) 30 mg 150%
Pantothenic Acid (as Ca pantothenate) 15 mg 150%
Vitamin E (d-alpha Tocopheryl Acet.) 45 IU 150%
Folic Acid 400 µg 100%
Biotin 150 µg 50%
P A B A (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) 30 mg **
Calcium (as dicalcium phosphate) 100 mg 10%
Phosphorus (as dicalcium phosphate) 75 mg 8%
Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 60 mg 15%
Iron (all iron removed) 0 mg 0%
Iodine (as potassium iodide) 225 µg 150%
Zinc (as zinc oxide) 23 mg 150%
Manganese (as manganese gluconate) 5 mg 250%
Copper (as copper gluconate) 300 µg 15%
Selenium (as sodium selenate) 30 µg 43%
Chromium (as chromium aspartate) 50 µg 42%
Molybdenum (as sodium molybdate) 50 µg 67%
Boron (as boron citrate) 1 mg **
Alpha Lipoic Acid 3 mg **
Coenzyme Q-10 4 mg **
Other ingredients: Ethylcellulose (binder), magnesium stearate (lubricant),
silicon dioxide (dispursant), sodium glycolate (coating)
*Percentage of U.S. RDA for a healthy adult. **RDA not established.
Source: Wholesale Nutrition Ingredients | Nutri.com
Centrum Advanced Tablets Contains:
Quantity % EU RDA
Vitamin A (RE) 800 µg 100 %
Lutein 500 µg - **
Vitamin E (α - TE) 15 mg 125 %
Vitamin C 100 mg 125 %
Vitamin K 30 µg 40 %
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 1.4 mg 127 %
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1.75 mg 125 %
Vitamin B6 2 mg 143 %
Vitamin B12 2.5 µg 100 %
Vitamin D 5 µg 100 %
Biotin 62.5 µg 125 %
Folic Acid 200 µg 100 %
Niacin (NE) 20 mg 125 %
Pantothenic Acid 7.5 mg 125 %
Calcium 162 mg 20 %
Phosphorus 125 mg 18 %
Magnesium 100 mg 27 %
Iron 5 mg 36 %
Iodine 100 µg 67 %
Copper 500 µg 50 %
Manganese 2 mg 100 %
Chromium 40 µg 100 %
Molybdenum 50 µg 100 %
Selenium 30 µg 55 %
Zinc 5 mg 50 %
Source: Centrum Advance - Complete Multivitamin Support | Centrum UK

Information for Consumers > Questions and Answers on Dietary Supplements | FDA.gov
Nutrient Recommendations : Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)
supplements in alternative medicine.
What to Look for in a Multivitamin Supplement
Vitamins and Minerals What You Should Know About Essential Nutrients | Mayo Clinic
Vitamins | The Nutrition Source | Harvard School of Public Health
Vitamins and Minerals: How Much Do You Need? | WebMD
Chemical Structure of Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and Minerals | Food and Nutrition Information Center - USDA.gov
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets | nih.gov
Vitamins and Minerals: What You Should Know About Essential Nutrients - Supplement to Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource
The Truth About Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements | DoctorsResearch.com

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last updated 16 jan 2015