The Vitamins You Need Now

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The couch potato
You may be lost in a good book or glued to the tube; you may be recovering from the flu or stuck at your desk. But sitting for long periods can lead to weight gain and heart disease, especially when there's too much nibbling of unhealthy snacks. To counteract a sedentary lifestyle, consider these five supplements:

omega-3 fatty acids deliver oxygen to cells to lessen feelings of sluggishness.
BEST DOSE: 250-3,000 mg daily. Use EPA, omega-3s in their pure form. Take in divided doses with fatty foods.
ALERT! If you're on blood thinners, talk to your doctor before taking omega-3s. Some people find may find omega-3s difficult to digest.

bioflavonoids strengthen capillary walls to reduce the risk of blood clots from excess sitting.
BEST DOSE: 50-300 mg daily. Vitamin C aids absorption.
ALERT! None.

garlic lowers glucose, and it thins, the blood, which also reduces the risk of clots.
BEST DOSE: 600-5,000 mcg daily of allicin, garlic's active ingredient. Look for deodorized capsules.
ALERT! People on blood-thinning medication should talk to their doctors before taking garlic.

folic acid helps prevent cardiac disease and lessens mild depression due to lack of exercise.
BEST DOSE: 400-1,000 mcg daily (pregnant women, 600 mcg; breast-feeding women, 500 mcg). Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, so if you opt to take a B-complex, you're probably already getting 400 mcg.
ALERT! Synthetic hormone replacement therapy depletes folate, and drugs for arthritis and cholesterol may interfere with its metabolism. (Also: Taking more than 400 mcg can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency; add B12 if you take lots of folic acid.)

chromium steadies blood-sugar levels, preventing the munchies.
BEST DOSE: 50-200 mcg daily. Chromium picolinate is the most absorbable form and the most effective. (It's also sold as "glucose tolerance factor.") Individuals on high-carb diets require larger amounts; take divided doses with meals.
ALERT! Vitamin C and aspirin increase chromium absorption; zinc and antacids interfere with it. If you're taking insulin, consult your physician before taking chromium.