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SupplementationA recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, August 2007, reports that a substantial proportion of people 51 years of age or older do not get enough vitamins and minerals from their diets alone and that less than half take supplements.

The article states that older men and women who take nutritional supplements on a regular basis are more likely to get adequate amounts of several vitamins and minerals than peers who do not take supplements.

Analyzing data on 4,384 men and women aged 51 or older showed conclusively that those persons who took supplements were better nourished. However, only approximately 40% of the study population reported taking supplements daily.

The majority of supplement users (80%) were receiving enough vitamin A, B-6, B-12, C, and E; folate; iron; and zinc from diet and supplements. However, 20% of the supplement takers and nearly 100% of the non supplement takers had less folate, vitamin E, and magnesium than needed for their dietary requirements.

USDA statistics report that upwards of 60% of all Americans are deficient in Magnesium. Magnesium, arguably one of the most important mineral in the human body, is a cofactor in thousands of enzymatic processes and helps to regulate calcium homeostasis in the blood, serum and tissues. A deficiency in magnesium may expedite calcification of the soft tissues leading to severe health consequences

The reported deficiency in folate may be explained in part by examining the dates of collection of the data, 1994-1996, that was just prior to the 1998 introduction of fortified grain products with folate.

The report went on to comment that certain dietary supplement ingredient may cause health problems if ingested in excess, for instance: to much iron consumption may be harmful to the heart, while too much zinc may impair immune function and decrease HDL (good cholesterol).

The study further substantiates the importance of not only using dietary supplements to ensure proper nutritional intake and health, but also in using reputable products, high quality products that have been formulated based on scientific and clinical evidence.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, August 2007. Copyright Reuters