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Function: Vitamin D is important in helping the body use and absorb calcium. It is also necessary in the utilization of phosphorous. Also known as Calciferol, it promotes strong bones and teeth, prevents rickets, supports muscle and nerve function, and, some studies have shown, helps prevent osteoporosis.
Sources: Fortified milk and cereals, eggs, tuna, fish-liver oils, and sun exposure all help the body obtain vitamin D.
Recommended daily intake: Men and women aged 19-50 should consume at least 200 IU of vitamin D on a daily basis. People over the age of 50 should consume at least 400 IU daily, as the body's ability to convert sunlight to vitamin D decreases with age. While too little vitamin D can lead to weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures, too much vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. Prolonged exposure to too much vitamin D can lead to health problems and toxicity. If you take, antacids, some cholesterol lowering drugs, some anti-seizure medications, or steroids, know that they all interfere with the absorption of vitamin D.
Function: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that prevents premature reaction to oxygen in the body and the breakdown of many substances in the body. It neutralizes free radicals in the body that would otherwise cause damage to cells and tissue, while aiding in circulation, clotting, and healing. Some studies have even shown that vitamin E decreases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and certain types of breast disease. Other studies have shown that taking large doses of vitamin E has decreased the risk of Coronary Artery Disease.
Sources: Most vegetable oils, wheat germ, soybean oil, raw seeds and nuts, egg yolk, whole grain products, beef liver, peanut butter, and unrefined cereal products are good sources of vitamin E.
Recommended daily intake: Women need 8 mg and men require 10 mg of vitamin E on a daily basis. Though it's almost impossible to have a vitamin E deficiency, too much can cause nausea and digestive track problems. Prolonged overexposure can lead to toxicity and other health problems.