What vitamins should you take daily?

What vitamins should you take daily?

Daily vitamin and mineral intake is important for overall health, disease prevention, and wellbeing. While many nutrients can be obtained through a balanced diet, vitamin supplements may provide an additional benefit to ensure optimal nutrient levels. This article will provide an overview of the key vitamins that are beneficial to take on a daily basis for both men and women. 


Recommended Daily Vitamins

It's important for adults to get certain vitamins daily to support health and prevent deficiencies. Here are some of the key vitamins adults should aim to get enough of each day:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage. It's also necessary for immune function, bone health, iron absorption, and collagen formation. Adults should aim for 75-90 mg of vitamin C daily from food or supplements.

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption for healthy bones and teeth. It may also provide other benefits like immune regulation, neuromuscular function, and potential cancer prevention. Adults should get 600-800 IU of vitamin D each day.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is critical for neurological function, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis. Deficiencies can cause fatigue, memory problems, and megaloblastic anemia. Adults should get 2.4 mcg of B12 daily from foods or supplements.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays important roles in nerve signaling, neurotransmitter synthesis, immune function, hemoglobin formation, and energy metabolism. Adults need 1.3-1.7 mg of B6 each day to prevent deficiency symptoms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E functions as a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cell membranes from oxidative damage. Adults should aim for 15 mg per day of vitamin E to meet recommendations.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is necessary for proper blood clotting. It also contributes to bone health by promoting osteocalcin activation. The recommended intake is 90-120 mcg of vitamin K daily for adults.


Folate is a B vitamin critical for DNA and red blood cell production. Folate intake around 400 mcg daily is recommended to prevent deficiencies in adults. Food sources include leafy greens, beans, citrus fruits.

Vitamins Based on Gender

Men and women have some differences when it comes to vitamin needs and recommendations. This is due to various factors such as hormonal differences, menstruation, and generally higher muscle mass in men.

Some key differences include:

Vitamin B6 - Men need slightly more B6 than women, with recommendations of 1.3 mg per day for men versus 1.2 mg daily for women. B6 is important for immune function and red blood cell production.

Vitamin C - Women need more vitamin C than men at 75 mg daily versus 90 mg daily. The increased need for women relates to antioxidant support during menstruation.

Iron - Women ages 19-50 have much higher iron needs than men due to blood loss during menses. Women in this age group need 18 mg of iron daily compared to just 8 mg for men. Getting sufficient iron prevents iron deficiency anemia.

Calcium - For bone health, women ages 19-50 need more calcium than men - 1,000 mg versus 800 mg daily. The increased needs for women relate to bone changes during menstruation and menopause.

Vitamin D - Both men and women are often deficient in the "sunshine vitamin." Men need 600 IU of vitamin D daily while women need 600-800 IU. Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune function.

So in summary, key vitamins for men to focus on include vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin D. And women should ensure adequate intake of iron, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin D. Eating a balanced diet focused on nutrient-dense foods can help both men and women meet their daily vitamin needs. Supplements may be appropriate if extra support is needed.

Vitamins by Age

As we age, our vitamin needs change. Here are some key differences in vitamin recommendations for different age groups:

Young Adults (19-30 years)

- Focus on immune-boosting vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin D. Vitamin C helps support immune function and vitamin D boosts immunity and bone health. 

- Get enough B vitamins. B vitamins like folate, B12, and B6 support energy levels and metabolic function. Folate is especially important for women of childbearing age.

- Calcium and vitamin D are crucial for bone health. Make sure to get at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day.

Middle Age (31-50 years) 

- Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene help fight cell damage from free radicals.

- B vitamins help convert food into energy. B12 and B6 support brain health. 

- Vitamin D and calcium remain important for bone health, especially for women.

Seniors (65+ years)

- Vitamin B12 absorption decreases with age. Look for a multivitamin with B12 or take a separate B12 supplement.

- Vitamin D is also important to support bone, heart, and immune health. aim for 800-1000 IU per day.

- Antioxidants like vitamins C and E provide immune and anti-aging benefits.  

- Calcium and vitamin D continue to be crucial for bone health. Older women need 1,200 mg of calcium daily.

Getting Vitamins from Food 

Getting the right amount of vitamins is important for the health and wellness of both men and women. While supplements can help fill gaps, it's best to get your vitamins and minerals from food as much as possible. Eating a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods can provide sufficient amounts of most vitamins your body needs.

Focus on getting vitamins from whole food sources, which offer additional benefits beyond just vitamins and minerals. Whole foods provide fiber, antioxidants, and other healthy compounds. Here are some examples of nutrient-rich foods that can provide essential vitamins:

Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, red bell peppers.

Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers. 

Vitamin D: Fatty fish like salmon and tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms. Get moderate sun exposure.

B Vitamins: Legumes, nuts and seeds, eggs, lean meats, dairy products like yogurt and milk.

Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, avocados. 

Vitamin K: Leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage.

Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds can provide a spectrum of essential vitamins. Aim for variety and moderation. If you maintain a diet rich in these foods, you likely won't need large doses of vitamins from supplements. Focus on getting your vitamins from food first before considering supplements.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies occur when people do not get enough of certain vitamins in their diet or through supplementation. Deficiencies can cause a variety of health problems and symptoms that range from mild to severe. 

Some of the most common vitamin deficiencies include:

Vitamin D deficiency - Low vitamin D levels are very common worldwide. Symptoms include bone pain, muscle weakness, and increased risk of bone fractures. Low vitamin D is also associated with an increased risk of cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and mental health conditions.

Iron deficiency - Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide. Symptoms include fatigue, pale skin, chest pain, headaches and shortness of breath. It increases the risk of illness and infection.

Vitamin B12 deficiency - Vitamin B12 deficiency often causes fatigue, memory problems and nerve issues like numbness and tingling in the extremities. It can also lead to neurological changes like depression, confusion and dementia. 

Vitamin C deficiency - Lack of vitamin C leads to scurvy, which causes symptoms like bruising, bleeding gums, joint pain and poor wound healing. Severe deficiency can be fatal.

Vitamin A deficiency - Vitamin A is important for immune function and vision. Deficiency can cause vision impairment, increased infections and blindness in severe cases.

Testing vitamin levels through a blood test can reveal any deficiencies. Correcting deficiencies requires either increasing vitamin intake through diet or supplements based on the recommendations of a healthcare provider. Addressing deficiencies early is important to avoid long term health consequences.

Vitamin Supplements

Taking vitamin supplements can help fill nutrient gaps in your diet. Vitamin supplements come in many forms like pills, capsules, gummies, etc. Some of the pros of taking vitamin supplements include:

Convenience - They are an easy way to get vitamins and minerals without having to eat specific foods or calculate nutrient intake. Supplements require little preparation or change to your normal routine.

Nutrient insurance - Supplements can provide nutrients you may be missing from your diet, especially if eating a restricted diet. They help prevent deficiencies.

Higher doses - Supplements often contain vitamins and minerals in higher doses than what you could get from food alone. This can be beneficial if you have increased needs.

Absorption - Some supplements are formulated for better absorption than vitamins from foods. Supplement forms like chewables may be easier to digest. 

If taking supplements, follow these guidelines for safe selection:

- Read the label - Check the supplement facts panel and ingredients. Avoid supplements with many additives or fillers.

- Research the brand - Choose reputable supplement brands that undergo independent testing and quality verification. 

- Follow dosage directions - Never exceed the recommended serving on the label. More is not better.

- Check expiration - Don't use supplements past their expiration date when potency may decrease.

Overall, vitamin supplements can help fill nutrient gaps but are not a replacement for eating a balanced diet focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods. With responsible selection and usage, supplements can be part of an healthy regimen.