Feb. 9-15, 2001
Back Issues
Former presidents to oversee National Commission on Federal Election Reform
Leading prostate cancer physician named to direct U.Va.'s new research institute
Research computing being evaluated

Two new e-mail programs now available

College leaders grapple with state of Arts & Sciences buildings
Take our Advice ... Getting the most from vitamins
In Memoriam
Women leaders sought for summer program
Notable - awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Creative writers coming this semester
Literature symposium to bring noted writers and theorists
U.Va. Law student to show award-winning Bosnia video
Students organize relief drives
Hot Links - Miller Center forums

Take our Advice ...
Getting the most from vitamins

The Institute of Medicine has provided new guidelines for the way adults and the elderly take vitamins, designed to optimize consumers' health and not just prevent vitamin and mineral deficiency. This is good news for dietitians and consumers alike; the problem is that this new information can be confusing.

Experts in nutrition at the University Medical Center are helping their patients sort out the new guidelines through counseling.

"Many people are becoming aware that vitamins are a good thing. The problem is they often think more of them are even better," said clinical nutritionist Carole Havrila. "The danger in that is when high levels of certain vitamins are taken, they may interfere with certain types of medications, or be harmful to people with certain medical conditions." (See chart for the most important changes.)

"The best way to get a handle on these changes is if people become their own advocates," Havrila added. "People will only learn proper vitamin and mineral dosing if they take some initiative." Some tips are as follows:

Do research. Some Web sites that offer reliable health and diet information include WebMD (http://webmd.com), and the American Dietetic Association (http://www.eatright.org).

Maximize your diet. Eat a variety of foods daily, and aim for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Be aware of conversions. Doses may be recommended in milligrams, and micrograms, but are currently listed in international units, or IUs.

If you take supplements on a regular basis, be aware of the new term, "Tolerable Upper Limit." This is the amount of a vitamin or mineral that could be dangerous if taken too long.

According to Havrila, the Food and Drug Administration isn't likely to change vitamin labels until all new recommendations are complete, a process that could take years. In the meantime, consumers needn't worry, just seek the facts.

Vitamins Used to Be Changed To
Calcium 800 milligrams per day for adults 31-50 1000 milligrams per day for adults 31-50 and 1200 milligrams for adults 51+
Vitamin D 200 IUs per day for adults 51-70 400 IUs per day for adults 51-70 and 600 IUs for older adults 70+
Folate 200 micrograms per day for adults 400 micrograms per day for adults to increase protection against neural tube defects
Vitamin B-12 2 micrograms per day for adults 2.4 micrograms per day for adults due to increased needs with aging
Vitamin E 12 IUs per day for women and 15 IUs per day for men 22 IUs per day for adults
Vitamin C 60 milligrams per day for adults 75 milligrams per day for women and 90 milligrams per day for men. More for smokers.


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