Pick_vitamin - COVER STORY like Eckerd, Kmart, Kroger, Rite...

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COVER STORY NUTRITION ACTION HEALTHLETTER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2003 3 Y ou don’t need a fancy multi. Some of our Best Bites are inexpensive private-label brands that are sold at stores like Eckerd, Kmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Safeway, Sav-on, Walgreens, and Wal- Mart. Or you can walk into just about any pharmacy and pick up a bottle of Theragran-M (or one of its clones). So why do you need our chart (see p. 5)? Because multis haven’t adjusted their ingredients to keep up with the latest recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). And even the Academy’s advice—which is up to five years old for some nutri- ents—may be out of date. For example, recent studies suggest that high doses of vitamin A may raise the risk of hip fracture and that the lat- est recommended levels of vitamin K may be too low to protect your bones. And a high dose of vitamin E may make colds worse. What’s more, labels can mislead shoppers. For example, a bottle may say that a multi has 100 percent of the Daily Value for vitamins A, C, and K. What it doesn’t say is that the govern- ment hasn’t changed the Daily Values since the mid-1970s. Experts now rec- ommend more C and K, so 100 percent of the Daily Value is less than a day’s worth. And experts recommend less vitamin A, so 100 percent of the Daily Value is more than a day’s worth. To simplify your search for the per- fect multi, we’ve evaluated dozens of brands to find our Best Bites, using dif- ferent criteria for men and pre- and postmenopausal women. Here’s how we separated the best from the rest. You can follow the same steps if you want to check out brands that aren’t in our chart. Look for 100 percent of eight vitamins A multi is supposed to supplement, not replace, your diet. But it’s easier to look for a multi that has a full day’s worth of each vitamin and mineral than to try to guess how much you’re not getting from your food. Our Best Bites have at least 100 percent of the Daily Value for thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), vitamins B-6, B-12, D, E, and folic acid. They also have at least 90 mg of vitamin C, which is the new recommended level for men (it’s 75 mg for women). That’s more than the current Daily Value (60 mg). Limit vitamin A According to a 2002 Harvard Medical School study of 72,000 women, those who consumed between 4,300 interna- tional units (IU) and 6,600 IU a day of vitamin A had a 43 percent higher risk of hip fracture than those who con- sumed 1,700 IU or less. The risk was greater in women who got even more than 6,600 IU. Only one kind of vita- min A, retinol, was linked to weaker bones. It’s found in animal foods (dairy, liver, eggs, etc.). Beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, is found in fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t increase the risk of hip frac- tures. The vitamin A in supplements can come from retinol (often called vitamin A palmitate or acetate), from beta-carotene, or from a combination of
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Pick_vitamin - COVER STORY like Eckerd, Kmart, Kroger, Rite...

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