A Closer Look At Major Minerals
The body needs, and stores, fairly large amounts of the major minerals. These minerals are no more important to your health than the trace minerals theyre just present in your body in greater amounts.
Major minerals travel through the body in various ways. Potassium, for example, is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, where it circulates freely and is excreted by the kidneys, much like a water-soluble vitamin. Calcium is more like a fat-soluble vitamin because it requires a carrier for absorption and transport.
Tips On Getting Vitamin D For Infants
Breastfed babies are said to be at a greater risk of being vitamin D deficient because though breast milk does contain some vitamin D it is typically not enough for optimal health thus an infant’s diet may need to be supplemented additionally .
Supplementation usually doesn’t start before 1 year of age however it is always best to verify with your doctor to determine the best course of action .
For babies that are bottle-fed, infant formula will be fortified with sufficient vitamin D to meet their daily requirements and therefore a supplement will likely not be needed.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
Despite widespread assertions in the popular and scientific press that many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, the term “deficiency” isn’t strictly accurate. The official definition of a vitamin deficiency means that specific health problems stem solely from the lack of a specific nutrient. An actual vitamin D deficiency results in bone disease, such as rickets, which is rare in the United States.
On the other hand, lower-than-optimal levels of specific vitamins, including vitamin D, may increase your risk of numerous health problems, even though they are not solely responsible for these problems. “Insufficiency” may be a better term for these lower levels than “vitamin D deficiency”.
So far, the most clearly established benefit of vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb calcium and therefore promotes healthy bones. However, a steady drumbeat of studies beginning in the 1980s started to build a case that low blood levels of D were connected with a variety of chronic health problems, leading to claims by a number of researchers that the RDA for D was way too low. The confusion and controversy surrounding optimal vitamin D intake and blood values prompted the U.S. and Canadian governments to request that the Institute of Medicine review the evidence on vitamin D and calcium and update the DRIs.
To learn more about the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, read Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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Essential Nutrients For Your Body
Every day, your body produces skin, muscle, and bone. It churns out rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to remote outposts, and it sends nerve signals skipping along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. It also formulates chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing the instructions that help sustain your life.
But to do all this, your body requires some raw materials. These include at least 30 vitamins, minerals, and dietary components that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrientsbecause acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help shore up bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage.
But trying to keep track of what all these vitamins and minerals do can be confusing. Read enough articles on the topic, and your eyes may swim with the alphabet-soup references to these nutrients, which are known mainly be their initials .
In this article, youll gain a better understanding of what these vitamins and minerals actually do in the body and why you want to make sure youre getting enough of them.
What Vitamins Should Men Take In Their 50s And Beyond
As you age, your nutritional needs changeespecially if youre facing health issues, taking medication, or are simply less active. For instance, you might notice that your metabolism has slowed down, your vision isnt as sharp, or you feel achier than you used to. So, what vitamins should a man over 50 take? If you are a man age 50 or older, you should focus on these key nutrients:
If youre not getting what you need through diet alone, supplements like Nature Made’s Men’s Multivitamin 50+ help fill in nutrient gaps.
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What Are Vitamins And Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are substances your body needs to develop and function normally.
Every time you bike-commute to work, revel in a rainbow, or shake your booty on the dance floor, vitamins and minerals help you do it.
Vitamins are organic compounds, which basically means they are molecules made up of carbon and other elements. Fortmann SP, et al. . Vitamin, mineral, and multivitamin supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer: A systematic evidence review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force . Heat, air, acid, or even light can cause them to break down.
It also makes getting enough vitamins from food harder because storing, cooking and even just exposing food to air can decrease its vitamin content. Lee S, et al. . Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables.
Minerals come from rocks, soil, and water. Plants absorb these as they grow, and animals then steal those nutrients when they chomp on said plants. Om nom nom, indeed.
Minerals are inorganic single elements and cannot be broken down. Score! This makes them pretty easy to absorb from food.
Taking a multivitamin can help fill in any gaps in your nutrition. However, its best to get them from the diet.
Vitamins play many important roles in your body.
Minerals play many starring roles in your body.
What Is The Recommended Daily Vitamin Intake For Adults
There are 13 essential vitamins that your body needs to properly function. How much you need of each depends on various factors such as age, gender, health, metabolism, digestion, and activity level. If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, for example, you need more of specific vitamins to support your body as it grows and feeds your baby.
Some vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that they dissolve in fats and oils. Theyre stored in your liver and fat tissue, and can make you sick if you eat too much of them. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are not stored in the body and all excesses are released in your urine.
Heres an overview of the essential vitamins you need to consume every day. Note that the recommended daily amounts for women are a range, since needs change if pregnant or breastfeeding.
All that said, vitamin requirements always vary depending on the individual. Its not a bad idea to have amicronutrient check-up with your doctor if youre concerned about vitamin deficiencies, especially if youre pregnant, breastfeeding, or on a specialized diet that restricts certain food groups. If a nutrient deficiency or a problem with absorption should come up, your doctor likely will recommend you take specific supplements or change your diet.
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Do I Need A Vitamin D Supplement If I’m Vegetarian
It is already not that easy to obtain sufficient vitamin D content through dietary intake alone but it will also be more challenging with a plant-based diet as the richest dietary sources of vitamin D are found in animal foods.
The other important thing you need to know as a vegan or vegetarian is there are different types of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is found exclusively in animal foods, and is also the form of vitamin D that is manufactured through your skin when exposed to sunlight, and vitamin D2 is typically the form found in plant sources.
The form of vitamin D that you choose can actually make a big difference. Vitamin D2 has been shown to be less effective than vitamin D3 at raising vitamin concentrations in the blood .
Make sure you pay attention to the label and consider choosing vitamin D3 over vitamin D2 for improved vitamin D absorption.
Algae is now a popular dietary supplement for vegetarians because it provides vitamin D3 but is entirely plant-based. This is an ideal option for vegetarians who are not obtaining sufficient amounts of vitamin D3 and want to find a vegan-friendly alternative.
If you are not getting daily sun exposure then it probably will be a good idea to look into a daily supplement and find your optimal dose with your doctor.
Vitamin C Deficiency And Scurvy
A severe lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. We may think of it as a disease of the past, but it does still exist. Factors or lifestyle issues that may increase your scurvy risk include:
- regularly eating unhealthy foods
- small pinpoint bleeding around hair follicles visible in the skin.
If you or someone you care for is at risk, please see your doctor.
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Essential Vitamins For Men’s Health: Vitamin D
“It’s hard to get enough vitamin D from food,” advises Campbell. Many men who work inside all day do not get enough exposure to the sun, which is needed for the body to manufacture vitamin D. Most men can benefit from taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
What you need to know about vitamin D:
- Vitamin D becomes even more important with age, because it’s needed to absorb calcium and helps prevent weak muscles and bones.
- Recent research also suggests that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk for colon cancer, and one study found that men with low levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack as men with normal levels.
- On the other hand, too much vitamin D can cause fatigue and muscle weakness, so you should stay below 2,000 IU unless your doctor advises otherwise.
“Good nutrition sources for vitamin D include salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, milk, cheese, egg yolk, orange juice, yogurt, and fortified breakfast cereal,” says Kari L. Kooi, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian specialist at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Tex.
Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet
Women who follow a plant-based diet may need to plan their meals to ensure that they consume enough of each nutrient.
For example, vitamin B12 only tends to occur naturally in animal products. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians may need to take supplements or eat foods fortified with vitamin B12. Examples of these include some breakfast cereals and milk alternatives.
There may also be low levels of iron, protein, calcium, and zinc in a vegetarian or vegan diet. The best way to prevent deficiencies while following one of these is to eat a balanced and varied diet that includes foods such as:
- beans, peas, and legumes
- dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and mustard greens
- fortified breakfast cereals, drinks, and milk alternatives
- nutritional yeast products
During pregnancy, women should supplement with iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, as well as folate and other nutrients.
A doctor can advise whether or not certain supplements are beneficial.
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The Latest Science On Supplements
Scientists know that people who eat lots of vitamin- and mineral-rich foods tend to live longer and healthier lives. But when those nutrients are served up in pill form, it’s still unclear whether they have the same effect. For example, a major 2019 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that taking dietary supplements does not appear to reduce the risk of cancer.
Other research, including a 2018 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that regular supplement use has no net effect on heart health or risk of early death.
“We found a surprising neutrality of effects,” lead author David Jenkins, MD, professor of medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, told Health. “In other words, it didn’t seem to do anything.” Their findings were accurate for multivitamins and for vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium supplementsall nutrients that have been touted for heart health in the past.
In light of these and other studies, most experts say that dietary supplements aren’t all they were once made out to be. “For the average healthy person, you probably don’t need a multivitamin, multimineral supplement,” said Beth Kitchin, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “And you certainly don’t need a lot of additional supplements on top of that.”
Women With Heavy Periods
Excessive blood loss from heavy periods can lead to iron deficiency and anemia. Women who regularly experience heavy periods may benefit from eating more iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements.
Anyone who has concerns about their periods or heavy menstrual bleeding should speak with a doctor.
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How Antioxidants May Help
Antioxidants are able to neutralize marauders such as free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. When a vitamin C or E molecule makes this sacrifice, it may allow a crucial protein, gene, or cell membrane to escape damage. This helps break a chain reaction that can affect many other cells.
It is important to recognize that the term antioxidant reflects a chemical property rather than a specific nutritional property. Each of the nutrients that has antioxidant properties also has numerous other aspects and should be considered individually. The context is also importantin some settings, for example, vitamin C is an antioxidant, and in others it can be a pro-oxidant.
Why Is Food Not Enough
Experts say that a balanced diet is the best way to get vitamins, but there’s just one problem with that. We don’t eat that way! A report from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that Americans do not consume enough of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. We’re also not getting enough iron. This is especially true for premenopausal women. The report also found that we’re taking in too much sodium and saturated fat.
Registered dietitian Emily Braaten recommends trying to obtain as many vitamins from our diets as possible. “While a multivitamin may be able to fill the gap, it’s not absolutely necessary to rely on supplements to meet our needs,” she told me. “Simply shifting our eating pattern to include the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables can cover most of the aforementioned .”
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Cutting Down On Free Sugar
Foods that contain free sugars aren’t required as part of a healthy balanced diet, so you should try to eat these less often and in smaller amounts.
To do this, use food labels to choose items that are lower in sugar and swap:
- sugary breakfast cereals for plain cereals – such as plain porridge, wholewheat biscuit cereals, shredded wholewheat or no added sugar muesli
- flavoured or corner-style yoghurts for low fat, lower sugar yoghurts, adding fresh fruit for variety
- sugary drinks for water, lower fat milk, sugar-free drinks or tea and coffee
Sugary drinks account for a surprisingly large proportion of the daily sugar intake of both children and adults. Almost a third of the free sugars consumed by 11 to 18 year olds come from soft drinks.
Cereal bars often contain high levels of free sugars too, so remember to check the label.
What Does Vitamin D Do
Probably one of the most talked-about vitamin in Canada is vitamin D, and for good reason!
Vitamin D is known as a vitamin but it is actually a hormone that is manufactured in our skin when we come in direct contact with ultraviolet rays from sun exposure.
As you can imagine, here in Canada we don’t always have so much of that which is why the risk for vitamin D deficiency is typically higher in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to Health Canada, a minimum of 40% of Canadians may not meet the vitamin D requirements during the wintertime .
So why is vitamin D important? The benefits of vitamin D in the body are vast as it plays an influential role in many health outcomes. Vitamin D plays a significant role in overall health but particularly in immune and bone health. It is needed for the absorption of calcium and bone mineralization as it enhances the absorption of this mineral in the intestines .
Too little levels of vitamin D can result in low calcium levels in the blood, which can decrease bone density and increase the risk of brittle bones and bone diseases. In combination with calcium, having adequate vitamin D levels is essential for strong and healthy bones.
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Micronutrient Needs Of Children Ages 4 To 8 Years
For each micronutrient, the FNB sets an RDA or AI for children ages 4 to 8 years these micronutrient intake recommendations do not differ with gender for this age group. Table 1 lists the RDA for each micronutrient. As mentioned above, the RDA should be used in the planning of diets for individuals. A few select micronutrient requirements for children are discussed below.Table 1. Dietary Reference Intakes Set by the FNB:RDA for Micronutrients During Childhood, Ages 4 to 8 Years
|eConsidered an essential nutrient, although not strictly a micronutrient|