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Vitamins at Every Age - Ladue News: Health-wellness

Vitamins at Every Age

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Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:45 pm, Tue Aug 9, 2011.

In an ideal world, everyone would get all of the nutrition they need through a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and many people need vitamin supplements to fill in gaps in their nutritional needs. LN talked with the experts about what vitamins women need at different points in their lives. But remember to always talk with a doctor or dietician before taking a vitamin supplement, as all of our experts stressed that overdoses of some of these items can lead to problems that range from kidney stones to liver damage, and they might not be right for everyone.

20/30s

Dr. Kate Lichtenberg

Family Medicine Physician Mercy in Eureka

  • Calcium: About 1,000 mg per day is recommended to add bone mass. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption, and most calcium supplements include it.
  • Folic Acid: A recommended 0.4 mg per day helps prevent birth defects during the child-bearing years. Good food sources include spinach, broccoli, peanuts and fortified products.

Katie Eliot

Registered dietitian, director of undergraduate nutrition and dietetic programs

Saint Louis University

  • Folic Acid
  • Calcium, Vitamin D

Dr. Diane Hood

Internal medicine physician

St. Luke’s Hospital

  • Blood volume expands during pregnancy, which can lead to iron deficiency and anemia. Iron also might be a concern if you are a vegetarian or have abnormal periods.
  • Vitamin C: Helps the body to absorb iron. Despite widespread belief, there have been no studies by the FDA or CDC that show Vitamin C helps ward off colds or the flu.
  • Calcium, Vitamin D: Having enough is important, but it’s also easy to overdose when taking supplements.

40/50s

Dr. Kate Lichtenberg

Family Medicine Physician Mercy in Eureka

  • Calcium: Although the body has finished adding bone mass, maintaining bone health is important during middle age. About 1,000 mg is recommended until age 50, and 1,200 mg is recommended from age 51 to 70.
  • Soy: Women in Asian countries, where soy is a large part of the diet, report fewer hot flashes. Though there is little evidence, it may help some women. See your doctor before starting a supplement, though, since soy does have weak estrogen-like effects.

Katie Eliot

Registered dietitian, director of undergraduate nutrition and dietetic programs

Saint Louis University

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: For heart health and to lower triglycerides. RecomÂ-mended levels can be reached through two servings of fatty fish per week. Talk with your doctor before starting a fish oil supplement.
  • Calcium, Vitamin D

Dr. Diane Hood

Internal medicine physician

St. Luke’s Hospital

  • Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Iron with Vitamin C to help absorb it, especially during menopause

60s & beyond

Dr. Kate Lichtenberg

Family Medicine Physician Mercy in Eureka

  • Calcium: 1,200 mg per day in combination with Vitamin D helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Aspirin: For some people, a daily aspirin can help abate the risk of heart disease. However, there is a risk of side effects such as stomach bleeding, so check with your doctor.

Katie Eliot

Registered dietitian, director of undergraduate nutrition and dietetic programs

Saint Louis University

  • Vitamin B12: Keeps energy levels high. A deficiency can result in changes in personality and altered mental status.
  • Calcium, Vitamin D: Since Vitamin D typically comes from sunshine, it is more likely you might need a supplement as you age and spend less time outside.

Dr. Diane Hood

Internal medicine physician

St. Luke’s Hospital

  • Niacin: Found in green leafy vegetables, helps with cholesterol.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Iron with Vitamin C

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