Not everyone thinks that supplemental vitamins are necessary, but this tends to be the case when one is healthy and has a balanced diet. Not everyone is in this position, so taking a vitamin daily won’t harm them and can potentially help them.
If you’ve been feeling unwell or lacking somehow and you want to know “what vitamins should I be taking?” or even “what vitamins should I be taking for my age,” we want to help.
Vitamin suggestions vary by sex, age group, diet, and mental and physical health conditions. You should never overdose your vitamin intake but getting a normal amount of vitamins through a pill shouldn’t hurt (though it’s always good to consult with a doctor first).
Keep reading for our suggestions on vitamins and supplements that you could add to your diet.
Children and Teens
Most of us remember those chalky Flintstones multivitamins that we either received as children or gave to our own children (and maybe both).
Giving your child a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to get them their vitamins, but children may not eat enough on their own and we all know a picky eater or two who resist important foods.
Children require a lot of calcium to help build their bones and avoid future bone loss. Most children get this through milk, but lactose intolerant children may need fortified foods or multivitamins.
They may need more vitamin B (the whole complex) to help them keep up their energy and metabolism. They would also benefit from vitamin D which can supplement calcium. Vitamin E can help strengthen their immune system (and we all know how good children are at getting sick.
This is why a multivitamin for children is a good idea. They’ll stay well-rounded despite picky eating.
While young to middle-aged adults without health conditions tend to get enough vitamins in their day-to-day lives through proper nutrition, the elderly may struggle with this.
Many elderly people have a reduced appetite as they age, making it difficult to stick with a balanced diet. Others can’t afford certain food items due to being on a fixed income, and others still have a hard time eating or cooking on their own.
While vitamin requirements don’t change much with age, older adults may benefit from increased folate, B12, and vitamin D (which may help with mental health). They can also benefit from calcium to maintain better bone health.
Elderly people who are unable to access vitamins at brick and mortar shops or who are on fixed incomes can benefit from online pharmacies that offer both affordable multivitamins and affordable prescription drugs.
People who are assigned female at birth of all ages can benefit from certain vitamins. The vitamins for younger people in their childbearing years (whether or not they plan on having children) are conveniently packed in “prenatal” multivitamins. This doesn’t mean that that person wants to have a child, but it is a good “just in case”.
The primary difference between prenatals and normal multivitamins is the increased amount of folate. Folate is available through natural sources and fortified foods, but there is such a great need for it that it’s best to supplement.
People who become pregnant without knowing may not get enough folate which can have dire consequences for any pregnancy.
People assigned female at birth who are post-menopausal can benefit from increased vitamin D.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Those who are following a plant-based diet tend to have a more well-rounded intake of vitamins than most people assume.
The vast majority of vitamins and minerals are available in plant-based foods. Many of these foods are fortified for extra nutritional benefits.
That being said, some vegans and vegetarians may be lacking in certain vitamins and supplements that aren’t as prevalent in their foods. They may need more than what a multivitamin can offer.
Iron is sometimes a problem in a less healthy vegan or vegetarian diet. The easiest to absorb form of iron is from meat, so vegans and vegetarians need to work harder to get enough. There is iron in leafy greens, but not all vegetarians eat enough of these. to get adequate iron.
B12 is a big problem for vegans and vegetarians. It isn’t readily available in plant-based products unless they’re fortified (as many kinds of plant milk are). Some vegans source their B12 from nutritional yeast, but others can’t stand the taste.
Finally, omega (3,6, and 9) fatty acids are hard to come by for vegans. They’re obtained primarily through fish. While they’re available in nuts and plant-based oils, it’s not enough. Supplemental omega fatty acids come in the form of algae capsules, which should be as effective as the standard fish oil supplements.
While we often think of anemia as a lack of iron or a lack of iron absorption, iron isn’t the only thing that anemics need to help them.
A note: If you’re a vitamin-deficient anemic, consult with a doctor first. They may have suggestions or concerns before you start taking vitamins.
Anemics often do require supplemental iron, but they may also need vitamins C, B12, and folate. Each of these vitamins, when not consumed, can create anemia.
Anemia happens when there’s a lack of healthy blood cells in your body. When you’re deficient in these vitamins you’ll feel sluggish, forgetful, and weaker overall.
What Vitamins Should I Be Taking? It Depends!
When you’re standing in the supplement aisle looking at all of the identical bottles with numbers and letters on them, you might be thinking “What vitamins should I be taking?” while grabbing blindly and throwing them in your cart.
While a standard multivitamin is a good choice, not everyone needs one. Individual vitamins and supplements might be a better choice depending on your age, lifestyle, and health.
Make sure that you take care of your body by giving it all of the vitamins and minerals that it needs!
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