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WHAT VITAMINS (AND SUPPLEMENTS) SHOULD I TAKE BASED ON MY AGE?

Visiting the supermarket or pharmacy can be confusing when you have so many vitamin and supplement options at your disposal. Here's a quick guide to which vitamins and supplements are useful at certain ages.

Visiting the supermarket or pharmacy can be confusing when you have so many vitamin and supplement options at your disposal. With so many different types, it’s hard to know which ones might help you and your family reach your health and wellness goals.

Here’s a quick guide to which vitamins and supplements are useful at certain ages.

Calcium

With age, you may start to lose more of this mineral than you absorb. That can make bones break more easily (osteoporosis), especially in women after menopause. Calcium helps muscles, nerves, cells, and blood vessels work properly. Most of it is in your bones, which you get from food. Women over 50 and men over 70 should take 20% more than other adults. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources.

Iron

Iron is necessary for healthy blood cells and brain development. Babies need this mineral to prevent the effects of iron deficiency, including anemia. Breastfed or partially breastfed infants should begin an iron supplement of approximately 1 mg/kg per day in liquid form starting at four months of age. Formula-fed babies do not need an iron supplement as long as the formula is fortified with iron.

Supplements and vitamins can help you meet your health goals. Photo: Anna Schvets

Vitamin D

Calcium works best when taken in conjunction with vitamin D, which helps its absorption in the intestine. Vitamin D, like calcium, is crucial for bone health. It also supports the immune and nervous systems and may even benefit the heart.

Magnesium

It helps the body make protein and keeps blood sugar levels stable. You can get it from nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. It is especially important that older people take it.

Folic acid

For most people, it is not necessary to take this vitamin, since many foods, such as cereals, are fortified with folate. However, it is particularly important to take during pregnancy.

probiotics

These “friendly” bacteria are good for your gut. You get them from fermented foods, like yogurt, or from supplements. They can help with digestive problems like diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome, and can even protect against allergies. 

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