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Vidyya, from the Sanskrit "vaidya," a practitioner who has come to understand the science of life.

Volume 2 Published - 14:00 UTC    08:00 EST    18-January-2001      
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Back To Vidyya A Two Issue Look At Vitamins And Minerals

Three Vitamins Examined Today, Three Minerals Tomorrow


On Tuesday, Vidyya reported that fruits and vegetables do not provide as much of the essential vitamins as previously thought. As a result, new recommendations have been issued for several known vitamins and minerals. To round out this week, we will be presenting information on six of the substances that have been the target of the new recommendations. Today's issue features information on vitamins A, D and E. Tomorrow's issue will contain updated knowledge regarding magnesium, selenium and zinc.

As previously reported, darkly colored, carotene-rich fruits and vegetables -- such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli -- provide the body with half as much vitamin A as previously thought, says the latest report on Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) from the National Academies' Institute of Medicine. This means people need to make sure they eat enough of these fruits and vegetables to meet their daily requirement for vitamin A, especially if they do not eat animal-derived foods, which serve as abundant sources of the nutrient for most people.

Darkly colored fruits and vegetables are still good sources of vitamin A," said Robert Russell, professor of medicine and nutrition, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, and chair of the panel that wrote the report. "But new evidence shows that it takes twice as much of them to yield the same amount of vitamin A in the body as we previously understood. People need to take this into consideration and make sure they select enough carotene-rich fruits and vegetables to meet their daily vitamin A requirement. This is especially true for those who don't eat meats, fish, eggs, or vitamin A-fortified milk or cereal. They may need to significantly increase their consumption of such fruits and vegetables."

Vitamin and mineral nutritional supplement products are regulated as foods by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but, the Agency has not established standards for their quality. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP), which sets standards for drug products, recently established standards for individual and combination vitamin and mineral nutritional supplements. These standards address quality issues for the companies that make these products. Increasingly, these standards will provide consumers of nutritional supplements with a means of identifying those products whose quality can be trusted.

The USP is a nongovernmental, voluntary organization. Since 1820, USP has set standards to assure the integrity and uniform quality of drug products and related articles. USP has been officially recognized in federal law since 1906 as the organization that establishes standards for product strength, quality, and purity. Standards established by USP for drug products are legally enforceable by the FDA.

Vitamin and mineral manufacturers will be starting to alert consumers that their products meet the USP purity, potency, disintegration, and dissolution standards. Beginning in late 1993, after all the USP standards for nutritional supplements became official, nutritional supplements featuring "USP" on the label adjacent to the product's brand name began to appear. Consumers and practitioners should be told to look for this assurance of product quality.

Vidyya is pleased to provide you with quality, up-to-date information of supplements in today's and tomorrow's issues.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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