Choosing the right vitamin supplement

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Vitamin D is good for your bone health, but how much milk do you need each day to get enough?

"You'd have to drink four glasses of vitamin D enriched milk to meet your daily needs," explained registered dietician David Grotto. "Or, 12 to 14 large eggs to meet your vitamin D needs."

What about vitamin C? It's a powerful antioxidant with a number of benefits, so should you break out the orange juice?

Not so fast, says Grotto.  While most people believe oranges to be the best source of vitamin C, a tropical fruit called the guava has the highest content.

Grotto is also an author.  His most recent book, The Best Things You Can Eat, he makes a comprehensive list of essential vitamins and minerals and the best places to find them.

Most daily diets probably don't include four glasses of milk, guavas or many other important vitamins and minerals that the body needs.  That's why many people turn to vitamin supplements to fill the nutritional shortfall.

However, just because the label reads vitamin, it does not mean it is completely safe.

"They (vitamins) can play a significant role in how your medicine can and should work," said pharmacist TJ Woodard.

Be aware that supplements and vitamins often interact with prescription medications, making them less effective or even more potent.

"Many times it is perfectly fine to supplement, but you don't want that one case where it's not and you're actually doing more harm than good," said Woodard.

Experts say patients should discuss all medications with their doctor or pharmacist before adding any vitamins or supplements, paying particular interest to the active ingredients.

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