(Sponsored by Medical Utilization Management, L.L.C.)
.Welcome to VitaminManual. This is the internet version of Vitamins, Nutritional Supplements and You, 2002 by Lee Barber, M.D. Approximately 65% of the American population takes some form of nutritional supplementation. Studies indicate that most of us, even with great effort, fall short of taking in the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Nutritional supplementation has the potential to treat vitamin deficiencies (vitamin C and scurvy, for example) and to be a tool in the approach to preventive health (calcium and osteoporosis). But how much do we know, or think we know?
Below is a list of vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbals most frequently used by the public. Under each topic is a summary of the current scientific literature found in peer review journals such as JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine. At the bottom of each topic are the references from which the information has been derived. If the topic in which you are interested is not yet listed, please e-mail at jfn@VitaminManual.com or check back from time to time, as Dr. Barber may be updating information upon her return. She is board-certified in internal medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at MCP-Hahneman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was most recently in practice there at the Centers for Women's Health, as well as the Director for Ocular Health and Wellness in Bala Cynwyd.
Please remember to discuss your vitamins and nutritional goals with your health care provider. He or she may have specific nutritional recommendations (for suggested dosages see Appendix A). All these products are available over the counter, but be aware that many supplements do not contain what is on the label; others contain contaminants such as pesticides, arsenic and mercury. Still others may not dissolve or be in a form that the body can use. The FDA does NOT monitor purity, amount contained or ability to be absorbed (for more information and a listing of quality manufacturers see Appendix B). Also be aware that although these products are "natural", there is still the potential for interaction with drugs you may be taking, and this should be reviewed with your provider as well (for some potential drug interactions see Appendix C).
Calcium-Recommended to prevent or treat osteoporosis. The recommended total daily intake is 1000 mg for women under 50 or on estrogen replacement therapy, and 1,500 mg for women over the age of 50. May also be of benefit in prevention of rectal cancer.
Folate-lowers homocysteine levels with potential decrease in stroke and heart attacks.
Soy Protein and Soy Isoflavones-potential beneficial effects in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. Black cohosh may reduce menopausal symptoms and improve mood.
Antioxidants (Vitamins A, E and C)-potential reduction in certain cancers, stroke, coronary artery disease, slow progression of macular degeneration and improve immune function in the elderly.
Glucosamine-has been shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Saw Palmetto-may have a significant effect in the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy and on urinary flow, with less symptoms of erectile dysfunction than finasteride.
St. John's Wort-Has been shown to be as effective as certain prescribed anti-depressants, with fewer side effects.
Fiber-Has been shown to reduce cholesterol and may decrease the incidence of cancers of the colon and breast.
Appendix-Look here for information on suggested intake and Recommended Daily Intake (Appendix A). Look here too for recommended brands and additional web sites for more information (Appendix B). Also included is information on toxicity and drug interactions (Appendix C).
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