Busy people on the run have a hard time eating foods rich in nutrients to maintain a healthy body. If you want to add a little nutritional zip to your diet, start by taking daily vitamin supplements. Physiology differs between the sexes. That's why you need a better understanding about the best vitamin supplements for you and your family.
Best vitamin supplements for women
Calcium -- Calcium is needed to build bone mass. Adequate amounts during younger years can prevent osteoporosis later in life. Under age 24, a daily 1,200 mg calcium supplement is recommended; over age 25 you can safely reduce the supplement amount to 800 mg.
Folic Acid -- Childbearing years require a 400 mcg supplement of folic acid (or folate) every day. Doing so helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. By taking it before you get pregnant, the neural tube is strengthened before pregnancy. Folic acid also improves artery blood flow which is now considered an important link in preventing Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Iron -- Monthly menstruation depletes your iron levels. By taking a 15 mg iron supplement every day, you can avoid the common problem of iron deficiency anemia. Just be cautious and check with your doctor because too much iron can be harmful.
Vitamin C -- If you don't enjoy eating citrus fruits, strawberries or broccoli, then you should add a natural or synthetic 75 mg vitamin C supplement to your diet. This antioxidant vitamin helps prevent some cancers, heart disease, cataracts and even strokes. Women who smoke should increase their level to 110 mg per day.
Vitamin D -- This important vitamin protects women against colon and breast cancer, and may also raise immunity system functions to prevent colds and flu. Vitamin D also aids in regulating levels of calcium in your body. A minimum daily dose for women is 400 IU. If you are overweight or have dark skin, check with your doctor before taking more than the suggested minimum dosage.
Best vitamin supplements for men
Two of the best vitamin supplements for men are shared with women -- calcium and folic acid. Others that are specifically recommended for men include the following:
Boron -- Eating almonds and raisins help, but men need more of this mineral to prevent prostate cancer. Research shows that men with high levels of boron are less likely to develop prostate cancer. A 3 mg supplement is recommended daily.
Chromium -- Taking 35 mcg a day is one of the best vitamin supplements for men who are overweight or who have a family history of diabetes. Taking it reduces insulin levels and improves the body's reaction to insulin keeping blood-sugar levels under control.
Coenzyme Q10 -- Men can always use an extra boost in energy, but their body doesn't always produce enough coenzyme Q10 as they get older. New research suggests that 100 mg daily may also help to fight certain cancers, as well as thin the blood to prevent heart disease. The fact that it's packed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants doesn't hurt either, because they help to slow signs of aging.
Creatine -- Studies are showing that men who take creatine for two to three months increased their muscle and memory. Mixed with a protein shake, just 5 grams a day can make a difference.
While it's always a better idea to get the nutrients you need through natural food sources, if you have any questions about the best vitamin supplements, be sure to check with your doctor.
Good vision is one of the benefits of vitamin A, but this antioxidant is essential to reproduction, bone growth and cellular function, and white blood cell production.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin comprised of eight different compounds, each with its own function and use in the body. Its most active form in humans is called alpha-tocopherol which has been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and cataracts.