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How should I take antioxidants?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Expert opinion remains divided about whether taking antioxidant vitamins in dosages higher than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) confers additional benefits. I recommend the moderate approach shown below:
  • Eat fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant vitamins (sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe and citrus fruits).
  • Take a good multivitamin that includes safe and effective amounts of the antioxidant vitamins and trace minerals.
  • Don't take megadoses of vitamins unless you are under the care of a physician and registered dietician.
If you decide to take antioxidants each day, then I recommend:
  • Vitamin C, 250 mg
  • Vitamin E, 400 to 800 IU of a natural form (d-alpha-tocopherol)
  • Selenium, 200 mcg of a yeast-bound type
  • Mixed carotenoids, 25,000 IU
  • B-complex vitamins that provide at least 400 mcg of folic acid
  • Calcium, 1,200 to 1,500 mg as calcium carbonate for those who are under 65 years of age or calcium citrate for those who are over 65 years of age.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.