If you choose to take a vitamin/mineral supplement, here are some tips to help you decide which is best:
- Read the labels.
- If you are over 50, check with your doctor to see if you need any additional iron – some supplements designed for people over 50 years of age contain no iron.
- People over 50 and vegans may need extra vitamin B12 – your doctor can measure your B12 level to see if it is adequate.
- Some supplements contain less than or equal to 100% of the Daily Value – High levels over 100% DV can lead to nutrient imbalances or toxicities.
- Pay attention to Vitamin A – too much increases the risk of liver damage and bone fractures – look for one that contains vitamin A as beta-carotene.
- Be aware that the Daily Value of Vitamin A is based on 1500 ug (5000 IU) per day for adults. For women, the RDA is only 700 ug (2330 IU), so a supplement containing 100% of the Daily Value provides over twice the RDA.
- Excess Vitamin A is a particular concern for pregnant women because it may contribute to birth defects.
- Vitamin B6, vitamin D and calcium needs are increased in people over 50 years of age.
Note: The Daily Values are a single set of standards for everyone, they may overestimate the amount needed of a nutrients for some groups. They are based on two sets of standards, the Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) and the Daily Reference Values (DRVs) . To avoid confusion, only the term “Daily Value” appears on food and supplement labels.