Health strategies change and evolve over the course of a woman's life. Doctors are likely to recommend that women over 50 take certain vitamins for reasons related to the natural ageing process. Each vitamin has specific purposes. Dr. Maoshing Ni, in his book "Second Spring," reminds women that vitamins often work in tandem with each other and with food.
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The most commonly recommended vitamins come from the B-complex group. The four B vitamins used are B-3 (niacin), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folate or folic acid) and B-12 (cobalamin). Also commonly used are vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin D. Although once highly recommended, vitamin E now comes with a warning about overuse.
Why Vitamins are Important
Vitamin supplements provide nutritional benefits lacking in the diet and are helpful with various conditions. B-3 improves cholesterol levels; B-6 works with B-9 and B-12 to reduce the risk of heart attack. Dr. Ni recommends taking the whole B complex to avoid imbalance. Vitamin C is beneficial for bone and muscle health, is an antioxident, and plays a part in many metabolic functions. Because the body does not make vitamin C, you should take it daily. Vitamin D works with direct sunlight to build and maintain healthy bones.
How to Take Vitamins
According to Dr. Ni, the best way to treat any condition is to change one thing at a time. Always check with your health care provider before starting any new health regimen, especially if you are already taking supplements or medication. He also recommends that vitamins and supplements be taken with your meals; then avoid taking your prescription medication within 30 minutes after taking a supplement.
Multivitamins are supplements that come with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and can address specific dietary needs. Because menopausal women require less iron, take a multivitamin with little or no iron. For women over 65, there may be many reasons why the diet lacks adequate nutrition; taking a multivitamin is more practical than single-nutrient vitamins. Older women should look for multivitamins specifically designed for their dietary needs.
Warning About Vitamin E
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and protects the body from the damage caused by free radicals. Taken in supplement form, it is known as alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E is believed to offer protection against heart disease, cataracts, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. As a result, people began taking megadoses. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high daily intake of vitamin E in supplement form may pose health risks and should be avoided.
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