Duke_and_the_doctor_specific_about_vitaminsVitamins are key chemicals the body needs to perform numerous processes.  There isn’t one single food that contains all of the vitamins each man, women or child needs. Vitamins come from a variety of foods that are consumed or via vitamin supplements.  Vitamin needs can change over the course of different life stages for everyone also.

Men between the ages of 31 to 50 need to eat 150% more fruit and 350% more dark green leafy vegetables on a daily basis to meet recommended dietary guidelines according to the USDA. With the exception of meat and beans, men fall short in each nutritional category.  A multivitamin may be something to seriously consider in light of this data. A multi-vitamin with low or no iron is optimal since most men consume enough of this mineral. Men should also consider taking a supplement for calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong bones.  Osteoporosis is not just an issue for women.

Women need certain essential vitamins during different life phases to stay healthy and prevent deficiencies and diseases. For instance women of childbearing age should be sure to eat foods rich in folate or folic acid and calcium. Foods like asparagus, citrus fruits, chickpeas, kidney beans or black beans, strawberries, melons and spinach or leafy green veggies all contain folate.  Folic acid helps to decrease chances of birth defects. It’s crucial for the development of the central nervous system.  It is involved in the process of producing DNA and RNA.  Deficiencies of folate in pregnant women have been tied to spina bifida a neural tube defect. During women’s post menopausal life phase upping intake of vitamin D and calcium can help maintain bone strength. Vitamin D functions like a hormone in the body helping to activate phosphorus and calcium- both minerals that help to strengthen bones. The body will turn to its own bones to replenish depleted calcium and phosphorus levels which can in turn thin bones and cause osteoporosis.

Parents of children who have poor appetites or have a highly selective diet as with vegans or vegetarians may want to add a vitamin supplement to their diet.  Children’s bodies are still growing and need certain vitamins and minerals to develop properly. Vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron and calcium are all key for a growing child. Vitamin A supports healthy growth and tissue repair. B vitamins are needed for various metabolic processes and red blood cell production. Vitamin C assists in strengthening muscles, skin, connective tissue as well as aids in healing. Iron is crucial during growth spurts for building muscles and blood production.  Calcium is necessary for good bone growth.

It is important to bare in mind that vitamins are intended to be supplements not replacements for whole food.  Consulting a healthcare provider can be helpful when selecting supplements for when specific health concerns are an issue.  The more the better is not necessarily true when it comes to vitamins and mineral supplements.  For example,too much vitamin A can cause liver damage. However, getting adequate amounts of a specific vitamin can lead to disease and other health issues.

McMillen, Matt.   “Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Men.”   WebMD.com. 18 Mar. 2010. 6 Jun. 2013.


Essential Vitamins for Women at Every Age.  WebMD.com. 20 Aug. 2012. 3 Jun. 2013.


Vitamin Supplements and Children.  WebMD.com. 28 May 2013. 6 Jun. 2013.


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