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All you need to know about your vitamins intake

by Pragati Singh

On my desk is a nearly mummified bottle of Centrum Women Multigummies. When my mother’s shrill voice blasts through my phone’s speaker, I remember to take the recommended two gummies. She believes that everyone should take at least a multivitamin.

I rarely consider my vitamin levels, and I suspect that many others do as well. So, when do our bodies require us to take vitamins? While research suggests that supplements are not strictly necessary for the average person, they can be beneficial for those who require them.

What exactly are vitamins? Why are they significant?
Our bodies require vitamins for proper development and functioning. The majority of the vitamins on which our bodies rely are obtained from our diet. That means that if the average American eats a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains, they won’t need to take vitamin supplements.

But this isn’t always the case. Vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes required. Certain vitamins can be deficient due to dietary restrictions or natural deficiencies. Iron, vitamin D, B12, and calcium are among the most commonly deficient vitamins and minerals.

Unless you take an at-home test or have a blood analysis done by your doctor, you won’t know if you’re deficient in vitamins, making it difficult to know when to begin taking a supplement.
Common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiency
The term “vitamin deficiency” is a broad one. In many cases, you may be deficient in only one vitamin. The 13 essential vitamins are listed below, along with the most common deficiency symptoms for each.

Common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiency

The term “vitamin deficiency” is a broad one. In many cases, you may be deficient in only one vitamin. The 13 essential vitamins are listed below, along with the most common deficiency symptoms for each.

Vitamin A: Gastrointestinal diseases such as Celiac disease and liver cirrhosis can impair the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A as it should. The most common signs of vitamin A deficiency are frequent infections, skin irritation, night blindness, and hazy vision.

Vitamin C: Deficiency of vitamin C is uncommon in developed countries. It does, however, affect 7.1 percent of US adults. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production in our bodies; a lack of it has been linked to damaged skin and slow wound healing. One of the most common warning signs of this deficiency is easy bruising.

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

Vitamin E: As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects your cells from damage. While it is uncommon in healthy people, a lack of vitamin E contributes to nerve and muscle damage, which can result in vision impairments or loss of feeling in your arms or legs.

B Vitamins: Thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin (B7), folate and folic acid, and vitamin B12 are the eight B vitamins. Vitamin B deficiencies are more common in older people and pregnant women. Anemia, fatigue, and weakness are examples of symptoms.

Vitamin requirements vary by age group:
The vitamins our bodies require to grow and function change over time. Our bodies become less effective at absorbing or producing certain vitamins as we age. Nutritional requirements by age group are listed below.

Infants and children

Because baby formula is vitamin-fortified, there is no need for additional supplements if they consume more than 500 millilitres of formula per day. Breastfed babies do require an additional source of vitamin D. The Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that breastfed babies get 400 international units, or IU, of vitamin D every day. Vitamin D is not only necessary for bone development, but it also protects against rickets.

Childhood is a time of rapid physical development as well as rapid cognitive development. For children aged 6 months to 5 years, the US government recommends daily supplements containing vitamins A, C, and D.

Teenagers and adolescent
Adolescents and teens have higher nutritional needs due to increased growth and metabolism. For children aged 9 to 18, the daily recommendation is at least 1,300 mg of calcium, 1.8 to 2.4 micrograms of B vitamins, and 11 IU of vitamin E. A healthy diet can meet the needs of the average adolescent.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine provides guidelines for healthy children and adults. Keep in mind that these figures are based on averages. If you suspect that your adolescent is deficient in vitamins, consult with a doctor.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult requires around 1,000 milligrammes of calcium per day to maintain bone density throughout adulthood. During the fall and winter months, when you can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun, a supplement may be necessary. It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food.

When compared to other groups, women and those who are breastfeeding are the most likely to have nutrient deficiencies. Women’s nutritional needs change during pregnancy, requiring more macronutrients and micronutrients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day to help prevent potential congenital disabilities.

Breastfeeding mothers must produce enough nutrients to meet the nutritional needs of their children. As a result, the recommended vitamin A intake nearly doubles to around 1,300 milligrammes per day when breastfeeding.


Parts of the elderly population are vulnerable to vitamin deficiencies due to concerns about chewing difficulties or medical issues. Furthermore, as we age, our bodies absorb less vitamin B12 from the foods we eat. B12 deficiency affects up to 43% of the elderly. People over the age of 50 should take a vitamin B12 supplement or eat fortified foods. There are also concentrated B12 shots available.

Another nutrient that our gut absorbs less of as we age is calcium, which can lead to weak bones or frequent fractures. Adults over the age of 70 should consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Vitamin deficiencies in the elderly can compound one another. A lack of calcium in the body is linked to vitamin D deficiency, which is more common in older adults because our bodies are less effective at producing it. To absorb calcium, our bodies require vitamin D.


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