Monday, February 20, 2012

Supplement Madness!

Marketing companies have done a fantastic job of making everyone think that they "need" to take vitamins to be healthy, or even that if they don't take them then they will get cancer, heart disease, their leg will fall off...etc...etc..

Well.  I'm here to give you the nitty gritty truth about supplements...and it just may surprise you!

First. Forget everything you have ever heard, read, or that Cosmo magazine had an article about. Purge all the stuff you have read and listen (err...read?) up!

Here are the biggies: 

1. If your doctor told you that you need a particular supplement/vitamin, listen to him/her because your situation may be different then the "generic" information I will be giving here.

2. A good old multivitamin is likely to be okay. Would you believe that there is even controversy over this in the medical community? There are a lot of studies coming out now that are saying taking a daily multivitamin may be harmful to your health! My take on this is the following: If you eat like crap and do not have a good, balanced diet, then you should probably take a multivitamin. If you DO have a balanced diet (you know, whole wheat, veggies, fruits, milk) then you probably do not need to take a multivitamin.

3. Any female of child-bearing age that is not abstinent, and has a uterus and ovaries, should take folic acid daily. Folic acid is essential for proper spinal cord and brain development in a fetus, so taking this daily will help you one day IF and/or when you do get pregnant. Also, this takes about 3 months to build up in your system, so its best to take it PRIOR to pregnancy.

4. Vitamin D IS your friend. The one vitamin that has probably been studied the most recently is Vitamin D. Due to increased use of sunscreen (YAY!) and the fact that not many foods have a lot of Vitamin D, many different medical societies agree that adults <70 years old should probably supplement with 600 i.u. of Vit D and adults >70 years old and post-menopausal WOMEN with 800 i.u. of Vit D daily.  These guidelines are especially true for women, who are more prone to osteoporosis (brittle bones) after menopause..(ugh, not just the hot flashes!)

5. All "anemias" are not created equal! Unless your doctor told you to take iron pills...don't! There is only one type of anemia which requires iron supplementation..."Iron Deficiency Anemia"..(see, and you thought this medical stuff was hard!)  Please, do not just take iron for the heck of it. Talk to your doctor first.

6. All of these recommendations are just that, recommendations. These are based on guidelines/recommendations from medical societies for the average, healthy woman. If you have any specific questions, or if you are unsure if these recommendations are right for you, please contact your doctor.

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, I take the adult gummy vitamins (I loathe swallowing multivitamins) and folic acid daily..:)

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