The 16 Essential Minerals
In addition to the 13 essential vitamins your body needs, there are 16 essential minerals, all of which you might recognize from the periodic table. Unlike vitamins, minerals are inorganic, meaning they do not contain a carbon atom.
Macrominerals are the minerals that your body needs in relatively large amounts trace minerals are those that your body needs in small amounts. The essential macrominerals are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. The trace minerals your body requires are iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium.
What The Numbers Mean
Many of the terms you see on labels or supplement web sites can help you understand how much of the vitamin or mineral you should take. For example, here are some guidelines set up by the Institute of Medicine:
The RDA and the AI are the amounts of a vitamin or mineral you need to keep healthy and stay well-nourished. They’re tailored to women, men, and specific age groups.
The UL is the maximum amount of daily vitamins and minerals that you can safely take without risk of an overdose or serious side effects. For certain nutrients, the higher you go above the UL, the greater the chance you’ll have problems.
The DV is the only measurement you’ll find on food and supplement labels. That’s because space is limited, and there’s a need for one single reference number. That number is the amount of a vitamin or nutrient that you should get for top health from a diet of 2,000 calories a day. The DV is sometimes the same as the RDA.
Although the details may be different, remember that the RDA and DV are both set up to help you get the nutrients you need to prevent disease and avoid problems caused by lack of nutrition.
Do You Need To Take Daily Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals are essential to your health. They plan an important role in how your body functions, such as helping your body convert the food you eat into energy. i Do you need to take a multivitamin or dietary supplement in order to get the vitamins and nutrients you need? That depends on your dietary intake and medical history. According to the FDA, most people can get the vitamins they need through the foods they eat.ii However, multivitamins can play a vital role when nutritional requirements cannot be met with food alone. For example, your doctor might recommend you take a multivitamin if you follow a restrictive diet, such as a vegan diet.iii And sometimes, we know how we should eat, but we dont always eat as we shouldthis is situation in which a daily vitamin might be helpful. Another factor to consider is age. Sometimes, older adults need more vitamins and minerals than younger adults too, so a dietary supplement might be a desirable option. Some examples of vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to older adults include:iv
Calcium, which helps support bone health Vitamin D, as our bodies may be less efficient at making vitamin D as we get older Vitamin B12, since our bodies may have a harder time absorbing this vitamin from food as we get older
The bottom line: older adults can get vitamins or nutrients through their diet. However, if you feel you could benefit from taking a daily vitamin, consult your doctor.
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Green Tea Supplements For Cancer Prevention
Green tea contains catechins, powerful antioxidant plant chemicals, along with other polyphenols that may help reduce cancer and disease risk, assist with weight loss, lower cholesterol, and more. Green tea supplements contain concentrated doses of these catechins, and numerous studies have shown that green tea extract has benefits. However, more research needs to be done when it comes to taking green tea supplements so far the results are inconsistent, possibly because of variations in the kind of teas, preparation methods, and individual differences in genetics and lifestyle factors.
The bottom line: Stick to sipping green tea, unless your doctor says otherwise. Although supplements have been shown to have benefits, not enough evidence exists that otherwise healthy people need to take them.
Multivitamin With Vitamin D
During the autumn and winter, its harder to get all the vitamin D you need through sunlight on your skin and from eating a balanced diet. Because it’s difficult to get enough of this vitamin from food alone, taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D helps tackle the deficiency.
How Can I Get The Vitamins And Minerals I Need
It is usually better to get the nutrients you need from food, rather than a pill. Thats because nutrient-dense foods contain other things that are good for you, like fiber.
Most older people can get all the nutrients they need from foods. But if you arent sure, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out if you are missing any important vitamins or minerals. He or she may recommend a vitamin or dietary supplement.
If you do need to supplement your diet, look for a supplement that contains the vitamin or mineral you need without a lot of other unnecessary ingredients. Read the label to make sure the dose is not too large. Avoid supplements with mega-doses. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful, and you might be paying for supplements you dont need. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend brands that fit your needs.
How To Select Your Daily Vitamin Regimen
Heres the thing. Theres no one perfect supplement regimen thats going to be work for everyone. Your nutritional needs can vary greatly depending on your stress level, activity levels, gender, age, and other factors.
Start by evaluating your lifestyle and diet. Once you have identified which nutrients youre likely to be deficient in, there are several vitamin companies that specialize in creating personalized supplement regimens. MBSF has the best roundup of custom vitamin brands, which makes the whole process very easy. Some even offer quizzes to help you pinpoint your regimen even further.
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Women Who Are Very Active
Women who exercise a lot or have physically demanding jobs may need to consume more nutrients to stay healthy.
Research from 2014 suggests that female athletes and those with active military jobs have a higher risk of deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium. This can lead to weakened bones and a greater risk of injury.
Those who are very active may also have a greater risk of iron deficiency.
Very physically active women should speak with a doctor or dietitian about tailoring their diet and supplement intake to meet their specific needs.
Caution With Vitamin D Supplements
Different people need different amounts of vitamin D. Generally, those with darker skin need more. Older folks need more. People who get less sunlight need more.
It is possible to overdose on vitamin D because it is fat-soluble and is stored in the bodys tissue, unlike vitamin C which is water-soluble and any extra is secreted in the urine. It is therefore highly recommended to get a vitamin D test, preferably the serum 25 D. The result will guide you on how much vitamin D3 supplementation you may like to try.
It is wise to follow-up with one more vitamin D test at your next visit to a healthcare provider to see if you are taking the right amount of D3 for you to avoid both low vitamin D and too high of vitamin D levels.
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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.
When To See A Doctor
The symptoms of vitamin deficiency vary. Some deficiencies have no symptoms at all. In general, if you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor:
- You are losing your hair.
- You feel weak.
- You are often tired, even when you get plenty of sleep.
- You have cracks in the corners of your mouth.
- You have acne-like bumps on your cheeks, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks.
- Your vision is getting worse, especially at night.
- You have dry eyes.
- You are having panic attacks.
- You have tingling or numbness in your hands and feet.
- Your gums bleed.
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Hispanic And Black American Women
A 2012 national survey from the CDC found that American women who were Black or of Mexican descent were twice as likely to have low levels of iron than non-Hispanic white women.
Women from these groups may benefit from eating more iron-rich foods or taking supplements.
Some important nutrients for women and good sources of them include:
- Folate: Sources include spinach, rice, avocado, broccoli, oranges, asparagus, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Iodine: Sources include seafood, seaweed, eggs, grain products, iodized salt, and unsweetened dairy products.
- Vitamin D: Sources include fatty fish, fortified or pasture-raised or free-range egg yolks, mushrooms, and liver.
- Iron: Sources include red meat, seafood, poultry, spinach, lentils, and soybeans.
- Calcium: Sources include dairy products, fortified milk alternatives and juices, sardines, salmon, tofu, and kale.
Vitamins And Minerals For Older Adults
Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential vitamins vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins .
Vitamins have different jobs to help keep the body working properly. Some vitamins help you resist infections and keep your nerves healthy, while others may help your body get energy from food or help your blood clot properly. By following the Dietary Guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from food.
Like vitamins, minerals also help your body function. Minerals are elements that our bodies need to function that can be found on the earth and in foods. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities. Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.
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Should I Take A Daily Multivitamin
Nearly half of adults in the U.S. and 70% of older adults ages 71+ take a vitamin about one-third of them use a comprehensive multivitamin pill. But is this truly a necessity?
There are certainly diseases caused by a lack of specific nutrients in the diet. Classic examples include scurvy , beri-beri , pellagra , and rickets . But these conditions are rare in the U.S. and other developed countries where there is generally more access to a wide range of foods, some of which are fortified with vitamins. Individual vitamin supplementation may also be essential in certain cases, such as a deficiency caused by long-term poor nutrition or malabsorption caused by the bodys digestive system not functioning properly.
This page specifically discusses the use of multivitamins, which typically contain about 26 different vitamins and minerals, and often provide 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of these micronutrients. We will explore situations that a multivitamin may be health-promoting, as well as if there is a benefit or harm in taking extra nutrients from a pill if the diet is already adequate.
Who May Be At Risk For A Nutrient Deficiency
For those who eat a healthful diet, a multivitamin may have little or no benefit. A diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good protein sources, and healthful fats should provide most of the nutrients needed for good health. But not everyone manages to eat a healthful diet. When it comes to specific vitamins and minerals, some Americans get less than adequate amounts, according to criteria set by the National Academy of Medicine. For example, more than 90% of Americans get less than the Estimated Average Requirement for vitamin D and vitamin E from food sources alone.
Certain groups are at higher risk for a nutrient deficiency:
A note on vitamin D
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Comparing Vitamin D2 And Vitamin D3 Supplementation
They created a large randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, food-fortification trial set over winter months with healthy South Asian and white European women participants between the ages of 20 and 64. The women were assigned either a placebo, juice supplemented with 15 g of Vitamin D2, biscuit supplemented with 15 g of Vitamin D2, juice supplemented with 15 g vitamin D3, or biscuit supplemented with 15 g vitamin D3 daily for 12 weeks.
Researchers measured the womens serum 25 D at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks of the study.
In both groups of women, both of the vitamin D3 supplemented biscuit and juice groups had much greater absolute incremental change in total 25 D when compared to the group receiving either juice or biscuits supplemented with vitamin D2 as well as when compared to the placebo group.
The study authors stated in their abstract that With the use of a daily dose of vitamin D relevant to public health recommendations and in vehicles relevant to food-fortification strategies, vitamin D3 was more effective than vitamin D2 in increasing serum 25D in the wintertime. They concluded that Vitamin D3 may therefore be a preferential form to optimize vitamin D status within the general population.
Zinc: Take It It’s One Of The Only Ingredients Than Can Shorten A Cold
Unlike vitamin C, which studies have found to be useless for the common cold, zinc may actually help fight your cold. The mineral seems to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs that cause the common cold.
In a 2011 review of studies, researchers looked at people who’d recently gotten sick and had started taking zinc. They compared those people with a group that just took a placebo. The participants on the zinc had shorter colds and less severe symptoms.
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Should I Take A Multivitamin
There are 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals that are vital to your wellness.1 Its completely feasible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need by eating. a healthy, balanced diet.2 However, a daily multivitamin is a convenient way to bridge any nutritional gaps when your diet isnt providing enough of everything you need.
There are also certain groups of people that are more at risk of deficiencies. For example, if you follow a meat-free diet taking a vegetarian multivitamin may help to increase your intake of some vital nutrients that are typically obtained from meat. And there are also certain times in your life when your wellness may benefit from a supplement of specific vitamins and minerals.
Three Vitamins Minerals To Boost Your Immune System And Fight Covid
Associate Professor of dietetics and nutrition shares which supplements and food groups can help keep you healthy
As we continue to keep an eye on COVID-19 and its new strains, now is a great time to strengthen our immune systems to combat the virus.
According to Associate Professor of dietetics and nutrition Cristina Palacios, supplements and foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals are crucial.
Those of us that have a better nutritional status can fight the disease better than others, says Palacios, a faculty member at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. We constantly have pathogens, such as virus and bacteria, coming into our bodies. If our immune system is working really well, we dont get infected.
She adds, In general, nutrition affects our entire body. All body processes require enzymes, and many vitamins and minerals help enzymes work better. Theres the saying, We are what we eat. Its true. If you want to be healthy, you have to consume certain nutrients.
So, how do we keep our immune systems healthy during this time?
To shed light on the matter, Palacios recently hosted a free virtual webinar for the community. The webinar was part of an ongoing series organized by Palacios and a team of graduate students to share information with folks who are trying to keep their families healthy.
Here are the top three supplements adults should consider taking.
Nutrients through food
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Vitamin B: Skip It And Eat Salmon Tuna Or Beets Instead
Vitamin B3 has been promoted as beneficial for treating everything from Alzheimer’s to heart disease. But recent studies have to the over-prescription of the nutrient.
The authors of a review of studies found that niacin was actually linked with a very small increase in the risk of death from any cause. And a large 2014 study of more than 25,000 people found that putting people with heart disease on long-acting doses of the pill didn’t reduce the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, or deaths. Plus, people in the study who took niacin were more likely to develop infections, liver problems, and internal bleeding than study participants who took a placebo.