It's easy to get sucked into the marketing scheme of vitamins today. With all the new companies popping up offering "personalized miracle" vitamins, it's hard not to buy in.
I have always heard: "You can get everything you need from a good diet." But I have to admit, I was starting to doubt that thanks to all the new vitamin ads I have seen over the last couple years.
Well, turns out, that statement is just as true today as it was years ago when I first heard it. In fact, science over the last years has built an even stronger case against supplementing------
***********Disclaimer! I am not a doctor. This post is based off information for a healthy adult with NO deficiencies or health conditions. If you have a deficiency or health condition, please consult your doctor.**************
Several studies have been done to test the effectiveness of multivitamins. All studies revealed multivitamins do not reduce the risk of mental declines, cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, heart surgeries or heart-related deaths.
Things to remember:
Pills are not a shortcut to better health and prevention of diseases.
If you follow a healthy diet, you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from food.
The benefits of a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight far outweigh what any supplement can do.
Think of vitamins as a bonus boost --- don't rely on them to do the job. Our body was designed to get our nutrients from our diet, not a pill.
With all that being said, there can be some gaps your diet can't fill...at least all the way and/or all the time. Experts do recommend minor supplementation of some vitamins (remember bonus boost!).
So I compiled a list of 9 vitamins that are most likely to be low. I need to clarify: I didn't say deficient...true deficiencies are uncommon. Low levels however, is much more common.
All, except one, are essential nutrients, so it really doesn't hurt to supplement these. Especially since stress is a huge factor in depleting our levels and who isn't stressed now-a-days??
I provided foods that are high in the vitamin, so you can choose to up your intake on those foods or supplement. It's your choice! But, if you do decide to supplement, please be mindful of the DV amount. There is no reason to get over 100% or even close to 100% of your DV. In some vitamins, excess can actually cause issues (GI is most common). Try to find the lowest amount.
Essential nutrient: A nutrient we must get from food or supplements because our body cannot produce or store it.
Bioavailability: Refers to the extent a substance or drug becomes completely available to its intended biological destination. In other words, a more efficient absorption.
Fat soluble: Vitamins that need body fat to be absorbed and used by organs. Can be toxic as they are stored in fatty tissue.
Water soluble: Vitamins that are not stored in our tissues. Once used, the excess is excreted out in urine.
Bone health and energy production
Essential nutrient, Calms nervous system, Reduces stress (results have been seen after 90 days in studies), Eases sleep issues, Regulates muscle & nerve function, Helps balance blood sugar, Makes protein, bone and DNA.
Nuts (especially Brazil nuts)
Green leafy vegetables
Some cereals and bottles of water have been fortified with magnesium
Best forms: (these allow for easier absorption)
While too much magnesium consumed through your diet isn't a concern, high doses from supplements can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. Also, magnesium in supplements can interact with some types of antibiotics and medications.
Bone and teeth health
Most abundant mineral in our body.
Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D to absorb the calcium.
Over 40% of the US population isn't getting enough calcium.
Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese
Green leafy vegetables
Experts recommend getting the majority of your daily intake from your diet, but to also get the form, Calcium citrate by supplementing to help with bioavailability.
Supports immune system
Uses carbs, protein, and fat for energy
Aids in wound healing
How can I get it from my diet?
Water soluble B vitamin found in many foods.
Folic acid is the synthetic, man-made version
Prevents birth defects and pregnancy complications
Promotes brain health
Helps with mental health disorders (depression, anxiety included)
Reduces risk of heart disease
Promotes skin, nail, and hair growth
400 mcg for adults
600 mcg for pregnant and breastfeeding women
Also added into foods like flour, bread, and breakfast cereals.
Fat-soluble, powerful antioxidant
Maintains healthy vision
Maintains normal function of immune system
Helps produce healthy cells
Aids with proper development and growth of babies in the womb
Beef and lamb liver
Vitamin A comes in two forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.
Preformed Vitamin A is the active form. Our body can use it just as it is. It's found in animal products
Provitamin A (cartotenoids, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene & beta-cryptoxanthin) is the inactive form found in plants. This version is converted to the active form once in your body.
Water-soluble, powerful antioxidant
Reduces your risk of chronic disease
Helps manage high blood pressure
Lowers risk of heart disease
Helps prevent iron deficiency
Absorbs calcium. Important for bone health.
40% of the US population are vitamin D deficient due to diet and lack of sunlight.
Children & Adults: 600 IU
Adults 70+: 800 IU
Being outside for 15 minutes should meet your daily quota. But if you work primarily indoors and don't get out much, you can find vitamin D in:
Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna: especially wild caught
Cheese: Fontina, Munster, Monterey, and Ricotta specifically.
Egg yolks: Especially pasture raised chickens
Most milks and cereals are fortified with vitamin D now
Carries oxygen throughout your body
Improves brain function
Healthy red blood cells
Liver & other organ meats
Look for your iron supplement in any of these forms:
Improves mood, reduces symptoms of depression
Promotes brain health
Prevents and treats anemia
Treats symptoms of PMS
Helps with pregnancy-related nausea
Reduces heart disease risk
1.3 - 1.7 mg
Long story short: children's vitamins are your best bet.
Let me reiterate the goal of this post: to encourage getting vitamins from your diet first and using supplements as a bonus. Adult vitamins simply have too many and too high of doses for those trying to get all or most of their vitamins from their diet. It's just unnecessary.
Kid's vitamins have fewer, healthier ingredients, are sugar-conscious, and lower in dose. Oh and also super fun flavors. Win!
Here are some recommendations
(links are commissionable)
Daily recommended doses chart
I look for vitamins with the least amount since my goal is to get the majority from my diet. So look at these numbers as a max.
Zinc: 0.84 mg
Folate: 417 mcg
Vitamin A: 18 mcg
Vitamin C: 76 mg
Iron: 10 mg
Vitamin B6: 1.8 mg
Magnesium: 250 mg
Calcium: 150 mg
Zinc: 5 mg
Vitamin D: 5 mcg/200IU
Vitamin C: 15 mg
I would love to get your feedback on this post.
Please leave me any questions, comments, or requests in the comments below.
Links are commissionable. Thank you for supporting this website.