Monday, June 29, 2009

How Do I Know My Vitamin Needs?

I am a 55 year old woman, 5'2" tall, 200 pounds. I am starting a 1500-1600 calorie level diet. Where can I find the vitamin needs for someone my age? --Claudia G.

Dear Claudia,

That's great you are concerned with a healthy diet as much as you are losing weight! The daily reference intakes can be found in many places, including food labels. The way the needs were established was by doing studies on a wide range of individuals. The need to prevent deficiencies and establish healthy blood levels was calculated. Then a substantial margin was added, so the levels published cover about 97% of the population who are healthy. Because you are over age 50 some of the levels are a bit different.

Here is a comprehensive table with needs for nutrients at different life stages, including upper safe limits, food sources, and special considerations.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about a specific nutrient and I'll try to get you the information you are looking for :)

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