Vitamins & Minerals Overview Alphabet Soup of Standards More is Not Always Better Fat Soluble Nutrients - Vitamins A, D, E & K Water Soluble Vitamins - Vitamins B and C Choosing the Right Vitamins Minerals - Hardware For Your Heart? Electrolytes Trace Elements Mineral Interactions Final Advice they prevent damage from a process known as oxida- tion.  If not controlled, oxi- dation results in damage to cells. Niacin used alone and in combination with other medications lowers blood cholesterol.  Calcium in amounts higher than tra- ditionally recommended can slow the development of osteoporosis and may lower blood pressure in some people. Despite these dramatic findings, there's little official acknowledgment that sup- plements have value except for use by a small number of groups including: • newborns routinely given a single dose of vitamin K to prevent abnormal bleed- ing. • pregnant and breast-feed- ing women's increased needs for most nutrients. • women with heavy men- strual periods who may need iron supplementation. • those on very low calorie diets who simply don't eat enough to get essential nutrients. • vegans (vegetarians who eat no animal products) who often don't eat enough foods rich in  calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B-12. OVERVIEW "If you eat a balanced diet - you don't need supple- ments."  This has been the advice of most health pro- fessionals for decades. It's time for change. Substantial evidence shows that intakes greater than the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA's) of spe- cific vitamins and minerals reduce the risk of particular diseases.  In addition, a generous intake of the right vitamins and minerals may help you feel and look your best no matter what your age.  You may be able to significantly reduce the risk of chronic, crippling dis- eases that steal your ener- gy, enjoyment and enthusi- asm for life. However, they are not magic bullets, nor will supplements neutralize the impact of a high-fat, low fiber diet of overly processed foods.  Don't rely on supplements as a nutritional shortcut - you won't come out a winner. Numerous studies report that particular nutrients have antioxidant effects that protect against heart disease, certain cancers and cataracts. They're called antioxidants because
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