You probably don’t need to take any vitamins. Here’s Who Should

Our vitamin needs develop throughout our lives, from the period of rapid growth in childhood to the point when our bodies stop absorbing and producing certain nutrients as we age. There are different times when we are more vulnerable to failure.

Many of us have been taking vitamins all our lives – from the chalky Flintstone tablets to something more grown-up, like a gummy vitamin. Most people usually get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their diet, but there are times when food is not enough and vitamin supplements are needed to fill in the gaps.

Vitamins are often seen as a surefire way to boost our health. However, this is not always the case. A recent study found that multi-vitamins do not help you live longer, as many have advertised. Your diet will always be the best source of vitamins and nutrients, although there are times when supplements are necessary to support your health. Here’s what you know.

What are vitamins? Why are they important?

Our body need vitamins for proper development and operation. Most of the vitamins our bodies need come from our food. That means the average American will not need to take vitamin supplements if they eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, proteins and whole grains.

However, this is not always the case. There are times when vitamin or mineral supplements are needed. Nutritional limitations or natural deficiencies can keep you from getting enough of certain vitamins. Iron, vitamin D, B12 and calcium are among the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If you don’t take the test at home or get a blood test from your doctor, you don’t know if you have a vitamin deficiency, which makes it harder to know when you should take a supplement.

Read more: Best Vitamin Subscription

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Common symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency

Being “vitamin deficient” is a broad term. In many cases, you may only have one vitamin. Below you will find the 13 essential vitamins and the common deficiency symptoms for each.

Vitamin A: Gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease or cirrhosis of the liver can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A properly. Common symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include frequent infections, skin irritation, night blindness or blurred vision.

Vitamin C: Generally, vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in developed countries. However, it affects 7.1% of US adults. Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen in our body. Its absence is linked to damaged skin and slow healing wounds. Easy bruising is one of the most common warning signs of this deficiency.

Vitamin D: Our bodies synthesize sunlight vitamin D. It is essential for our immune health and has been linked to a lower risk of infection with COVID-19. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to frequent illness, lower bone metabolism and muscle pain.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage. Although rare in healthy people, vitamin E deficiency contributes to nerve and muscle damage that can cause vision impairment or loss of feeling in your hands or feet.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K essential for blood clotting and cardiovascular health. It also plays a role in bone development. If you are deficient, you are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, bleeding problems and lower bone strength. Vitamin K deficiency is generally rare in adults. However, children are at risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding, or VKDB.

B vitamins: It contains eight B vitamins – thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin (B7), folate and folic acid and vitamin B12. Older adults and pregnant women tend to be at greater risk for vitamin B deficiencies. Symptoms can include things like anemia, fatigue, or weakness.

Vitamin requirements by age group

The vitamins our bodies need to grow and function change throughout our lives. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing or producing certain vitamins. Below you will find nutritional requirements by age group.

Read more: Best multi-vitamins

Children and children

Baby formula is fortified with vitamins, so you don’t need to worry about extra supplements if they have more than 500 milliliters of formula per day. For vitamin D, breastfed infants need an additional source. The Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that breastfed babies also have a supplement of 400 international units, or IU, of vitamin D each day. Vitamin D is not only essential for bone development, but also prevents rickets.

Childhood is a period of significant physical growth and great cognitive development. The US government recommends supplements including vitamin A, C and D daily for children between 6 months and 5 years of age.

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Teenagers and teenagers

With increased growth and metabolism, the nutritional needs of adolescents and teenagers increase. In general, the daily recommendation for children between the ages of 9 and 18 is at least 1,300 mg of calcium, 1.8 to 2.4 micrograms of B vitamins and 11 IU of vitamin E. The average teenager can meet their daily needs get from a healthy diet.

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board provides reference points for children and healthy adults. Remember, these numbers are based on averages. You should talk to your doctor if you suspect that your teenager has a vitamin deficiency.


The National Institutes of Health recommends that the average adult needs about 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day to maintain bone density through adulthood. Supplementation may be necessary during the fall and winter when you cannot get adequate amounts of vitamin D from the sun. It is quite difficult to get enough vitamin D from your diet.

Women and those who are breastfeeding are more likely to have nutritional deficiencies compared to other groups. Pregnancy changes the nutritional needs of women – more macronutrients and micronutrients are needed. The CDC recommends that pregnant women take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day to help prevent birth defects.

Breastfeeding mothers need to produce enough nutrients to provide their babies with what they need. As a result, the recommended intake of vitamin A increases by almost 1,300 milligrams per day while breastfeeding.


Parts of the elderly population are susceptible to vitamin deficiencies due to concerns about chewing trouble or medical issues. In addition, as we age, our bodies naturally absorb less vitamin B12 from the foods we eat. Up to 43% of older adults have a B12 deficiency. People over the age of 50 should take a vitamin B12 supplement or integrate solid foods into their diets. B12 concentrate shots are also available.

Calcium is another nutrient that our gut absorbs less as we age, which can lead to weak bones or frequent fractures. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends an intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day for adults over 70 years of age.

In elders, vitamin deficiencies could mount on top of each other. Lack of calcium in the body is related to vitamin D deficiency found in adults because our body is not as efficient at producing it. Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium.

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Too long, didn’t read?

If you lack certain vitamins, you probably don’t need to take vitamins regularly, with the caveat that you are maintaining a balanced diet. Vitamins have benefits, but they are not a shortcut to a healthy lifestyle. Vitamins are only one piece of the puzzle used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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