which vitamins should i take

Nutrition is a loaded subject and often at the heart of heated debate. One common question is whether we should be taking vitamins, and if so, which ones? We debunk the myths and present the facts.

Vitamin B12

Why we need it

Vitamin B12 keeps the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and also prevents a type of anaemia that can make you feel tired and weak. Vegans commonly do not get enough Vitamin B12 as a vegan diet is not naturally rich in this vitamin, so vegans are recommended to take a supplement to prevent potential health risks.

Sources

  • Beef liver
  • Clams
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12
  • Some non-dairy milks are fortified with vitamin B12

Recommended daily dosage

People over 50 years of age should consume vitamin B12-fortified foods, or take a vitamin B12 supplement. Doses of 25-100 mcg per day have been used to maintain the B12 vitamin levels in older people. For other life stages, the daily doses are as follows:

vitamin b12 dosage

vitamin b12

Vitamin D

Why we need it

 We need Vitamin D in order to absorb calcium and promote healthy bone growth and maintenance. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to several types of cancer, depression, and heart disease. Having a healthy dose of Vitamin D daily will improve your mood and will help you keep you strong.

Sources

The most well-known source of vitamin D is from the sun. There are different types of vitamin D, and vitamin D3 is the type that most people lack as this cannot be absorbed through food and our only source is the sun. This is great in summer when we can top up our tan and max out our daily dose in 10 minutes, but in the winter it's a different story. 

Other types of vitamin D can be found in dairy and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.

Recommended daily dosage

Children and adults need 10mcg of Vitamin D daily to stay healthy and prevent health risks. In the summer months, most adults and children will be able to get the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D from the sun alone, however it is recommended to take a supplement in winter months.

sunshine vitamin d

Vitamin C

Why we need it

You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is needed for healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.

Sources

The best sources of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. Fruits with the highest dose of Vitamin C are:

  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries
  • Watermelon

Recommended daily dosage

Most people can get their daily dose of Vitamin C through diet alone and do not need to take a supplement. However, if you smoke, you need a higher daily dose of Vitamin C.

Adult males need around 90mcg/day while adult females need around 75. For pregnant women this increases to 85 mcg/day and for breastfeeding women it's 120mcg/day.

vitamin c oranges

Vitamin A

Why we need it

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.

Sources

As a general rule, starchy foods which are orange in colour such as carrots and sweet potato are high in Vitamin A. The following foods are a good dietary source of Vitamin A:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs

Recommended daily dosage

The amount of vitamin A you need depends on your age and reproductive status. Recommended intakes for vitamin A for people aged 14 years and older range between 700 and 900 micrograms (mcg) per day. Recommended intakes for women who are breastfeeding range between 1,200 and 1,300 mcg.

sweet potato fries vitamin a

Best Multivitamin

If you eat a healthy balanced diet, you won't need to take a daily multivitamin. A lot of multivitamins actually contain far over the recommended daily dosage and also contain other ingredients as well. If you identify that you need one specific vitamin, take a supplement for that one on its own. The main demographic of people who will need to take a food supplement or vitamin supplement is pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

 

  • Posted byAlexandra Parren /
  • Supplements

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