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July 2009 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Food Storage Safety, Energy Therapies and Vitamins and Minerals
Date:7/22/2009

the Special Report on Vitamins and Minerals, a supplement to the July issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. The Special Report covers information and issues related to vitamins and minerals, including when supplements are needed, highest safe doses and research on benefits and risks.

Some findings include:

Vitamin B-3 (niacin): Niacin helps the body convert food to energy and helps improve circulation and cholesterol levels. Researchers have found that, in high doses, niacin can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides and raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol. However, the doses needed for these effects, usually greater than 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day, can cause liver damage. High doses of niacin should be considered a prescribed medication and taken only under a doctor's supervision.

Vitamin C: Studies have shown that eating food high in vitamin C can lower rates of cancer and heart disease. It's unclear whether vitamin C supplements provide the same benefits.

Studies have shown that vitamin C supplements, taken with some other antioxidants and zinc, may slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration. However, there's little evidence that vitamin C prevents colds or lessens cold symptoms.

Vitamin D: It's called the sunshine vitamin because the body can produce it when exposed to sunshine. Yet, an increasing number of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.

It's been well established that adequate vitamin D and calcium can prevent or slow osteoporosis and reduce bone fractures. New research highlights other potential benefits of vitamin D, including reducing the risk of muscle pain and weakness, autoimmune disorders (such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis), cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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