Vitamins For Dummies
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Your mom may not be giving you chewable vitamins with your breakfast anymore, but that doesn't mean you can just forget about them! Following a daily program of taking supplements and eating nutrient-dense foods is vital for maintaining your health and getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Some nutrients alleviate common maladies so you can reduce your intake of over-the counter and prescription medications. Always follow the recommended daily allowance for vitamins and supplements.

Recommended daily supplement program for good health

Because your body needs a healthy daily dose of vitamins and minerals get into a supplement-taking routine, consistency is the key to success with supplements. Even though each person’s needs are different, the following list of daily supplements is beneficial for almost everyone:

  • Complete multivitamin and mineral supplement with whole foods and herbs to make sure all your health bases are covered

  • Vitamin C to help protect cell membranes from toxic wastes

  • Vitamin E and Selenium to protect cells and tissues from damage

  • Calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong

  • Magnesium to calm you and help you de-stress

  • Ginkgo (if you’re over 45) to protect your eyes, ears, and memory

  • Milk thistle (if you regularly consume alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs like aspirin) to benefit the health of your liver

  • Siberian ginseng if you are under stress or are active and want to increase endurance

  • Hawthorn to protect your heart and cardiovascular system

  • Saw Palmetto (if you’re a man and over 50) to protect the health of your prostate gland

  • Phytoestrogens (for women) from red clover, soy, or kudzu root to protect your bones and heart and ensure an easy menopause

Whole food sources of common supplements

The best way to get most of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need is through your diet. As you choose to eat healthy foods, you’ll soon see and feel the benefits — like increased energy, clearer thinking, and better looking skin. To get the supplements you need, look for these food sources:

Supplement Natural Sources
Calcium Yogurt, broccoli, leafy greens, sesame seeds
Folic acid Brown rice, leafy greens, salmon, whole grains
Iron Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, raisins, liver, beef
Magnesium Grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seafood
Potassium Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds
Selenium Yeast, wheat germ, rice, and other whole grains
Zinc Oysters, meat, eggs, whole grains, pumpkin seeds
Vitamin A and beta-carotene Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, egg yolk
Vitamin B Whole grains, vegetables, nutritional yeast
Vitamin C Citrus, bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries
Vitamin E Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dark green leafy

Easing common ailments with nutritional supplements

Supplements play a vital role in supporting many body functions and offer tremendous benefits for increasing energy, easing common symptoms, , and reducing the effects of stress. Take a look at the following chart to see what vitamins and minerals can help alleviate some common conditions:

Condition Nutritional Supplements
Arthritis pain Multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, glucosamine,
ginger, turmeric
Back pain Vitamin C, glucosamine, calcium, magnesium, St. John’s
wort, ginger
Colds Zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, echinacea, yarrow, peppermint,
Constipation Vitamin C, psyllium seed, cascara sagrada, flaxseed
Fatigue Multivitamin and mineral supplement, folic acid, Siberian
ginseng, ginseng root, licorice root, vitamin B-12
Hay fever Vitamin C, quercitin, nettles, eyebright, reishi
Insomnia Melatonin, magnesium, 5-HTP, valerian, kava, California
Poor memory Vitamin B-12, lecithin, folic acid, ginkgo
Obesity Chromium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-6
Osteoporosis Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, boron, red clover, nettles,
Parasites Acidophilus, black walnut, garlic, multivitamin and mineral
supplement, grapefruit seed extract, artemesia (mugwort)
Premenstrual syndrome Calcium, magnesium, vitex, motherwort, evening primrose oil,
Sore throat Zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, sage
Sprains and strains Vitamin C, glucosamine, magnesium, St. John’s wort
Stress B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, Siberian
ginseng, California poppy

Natural substitutes for medication

Although no herbal medicine is safe under every condition for every person, herbal remedies are becoming increasingly popular because they’re considered safer than pharmaceutical drugs. Take a look at some of the natural substitutes you can use for prescription and over-the-counter medications:

Medication Substitute
Allergy medication Quercitin, vitamin C, nettle
Antibiotic Vitamin C, echinacea, goldenseal, bropilus
Antidepressant St. John’s wort, vitamin B-6, 5-HTP, tyrosine
Anxiety reliever B-vitamin complex, calcium, magnesium, kava, California
Arthritis relief Glucosamine, Chondroitin sulfate, turmeric, ginger, evening
primrose oil, omega-3 fatty acids
High cholesterol Niacin, vitamin C, garlic, shiitake, fenugreek
Daytime cold medication Vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc lozenges, echinacea, elder
Indigestion Acidophilus, gentian root, artichoke leaf digestive
Sleep aid Melatonin, magnesium, 5-HTP, valerian, California poppy

*See your doctor or other health practitioner about persistent, serious conditions.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., is an holistic health expert whose many books include Herbal Remedies For Dummies??. Elson Haas, M.D., is the author of Staying Healthy with the Seasons and The Detox Diet.

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