Health 'Rules' You Should Break

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Tailor it if you have a glass of wine (or any alcohol) daily. There's already a warning on bottles of acetaminophen for people who have three or more drinks every day, noting that the combo can damage the liver. But even light drinking can prime the liver for trouble, says Donald Jensen, MD, a board member of the American Liver Foundation. Although 4 g of acetaminophen is the recommended maximum daily dose, he says, you shouldn't exceed 2 g of acetaminophen on any day you have even one drink.

Smart advice: Get your nutrients from whole foods, not pills.

Tailor it if you're a strict vegetarian. If you don't eat eggs or drink milk, you may need supplements to get enough vitamins B12 and D. Try 6 mcg of B12 (the amount in a typical multi). The current recommendation for vitamin D is 200 to 600 IU, depending on your age, but researchers say that needs an update: 1,000 to 2,000 IU is optimal and safe to take. And although you can get plenty of iron through a vegetarian diet, it takes planning. Get a blood test to check your iron levels if you fatigue easily.

Smart advice: If you have chronic pain, you'll get safe, effective help from a nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or a prescription only variety such as Indocin.

Tailor it if you're age 65 or older. The main risk with NSAIDs is that they can cause stomach ulcers and internal bleeding--and that danger rises substantially with age. In fact, almost all deaths from NSAID-related bleeding occur in the elderly, experts say. If you're over 65 and need relief from chronic pain, talk with your doctor: Other options include acetaminophen (which isn't an NSAID) and corticosteroids--and even narcotics like Demerol, as long as you follow your doctor's instructions to reduce the chances of dependence or side effects.

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