As you know, multivitamins are a great way of adding the extra vitamins and minerals you're not getting from your diet.
If you're vegan, lactose intolerant, or don't practice a very balanced diet, vitamin supplements can help your health.
Naturally, supplements and fortified foods aren't a replacement for a healthy diet.
We all know that they're amazing, but many wonder when's the right time to start supplementing with multivitamins.
Let's find out!
At What Age Should You Take Multivitamins?
It depends, as the need for supplements is not determined by age.
If you consume a healthy, balanced diet, you should get enough vitamins from the essential nutrients.
There's a significant difference in the multivitamins you get from your diet and the vitamins your body absorbs from dietary supplements.
Multivitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) you get from food work together, while the latter ones typically work in isolation.
Researchers have discovered that vitamins coming from food have a particular effect on the body.
They may not have the same impact when isolated and taken as a supplement .
Nevertheless, some groups of people may need a daily multivitamin to correct particular vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
These groups include:
- breastfeeding and pregnant women
- people who drink alcohol above the recommended amount
- cigarette smokers
- illegal drug users
- people practicing a restrictive diet or crash dieters
- the elderly — especially the ones suffering from certain chronic diseases
- people practicing a strict vegan diet
- females with excessive bleeding during period
- people with food allergies
- people with malabsorption problems such as diarrhea, coeliac disease, or pancreatitis
The Most Important Nutrients for Your Age
Even if you're the healthiest person, you may want to consider adding specific vitamin and mineral supplements depending on your age. Of course, you should always consult a doctor before doing so.
Infants, especially if premature may need vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision.
They may also need iron to avoid anemia and iron deficiency and extra vitamin C if they're not drinking formula.
Even healthy children may need vitamin supplements. Children are often picky eaters and don't get enough nutrients, so they may need some supplementation.
Breakfast cereal fortified with vitamins and minerals is a good solution, but always do what your child's doctor recommends.
Tween and Teen Years
During tween and teen years, one must focus on getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Here you can find the best multivitamins for teens.
“We need calcium for bone and muscle growth, but it doesn’t get absorbed as well without vitamin D, these are the bone-building years for boys and girls, and if you don’t build enough bone, you will be prone to brittle bones later in life.” — Stephanie Schiff, RDN, a nutritionist at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York.
You may need vitamin B12 in your 20s and depending on your diet, you may need other vitamins and minerals.
You’ll surely want to continue with calcium and vitamin D intake. (See the best vitamin D supplements).
For example, vegans typically need extra B vitamins, as they’re mainly found in animal products, so you can opt for one of the best vegan-friendly multivitamins.
Also read: The best overall multivitamins for athletes
The 20s and 30s are usually the "child-bearing years" for ladies, so if you're planning on getting pregnant, you should start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and B vitamins which can be found in one of the premium multivitamins for females.
Moreover, women with heavy periods may need extra iron too.
Cardiologists are crazy about the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower the risk for heart disease and enhance brain health.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish (mackerel or salmon) at least two times a week for good heart health. This advice is excellent for both men and women, men and women.
Finally, you shouldn't forget calcium and Vit D.
We recommend you check out the best overall multivitamins for men.
Vit D becomes even more important in your forties.
Low levels of this vitamin are linked to many diseases — from cancer and diabetes to autoimmune conditions and obesity.
Hence, we recommend you check out the best multivitamins for diabetics.
Since the risk for these diseases increases with advancing age, taking vitamins is essential for preventing them.
Fifties and Sixties
Fortify your 50s and 60s with some calcium. As young children, we absorb calcium to build bones. However, we still need the mineral in our fifties to preserve the bones we already have.
The fifties and sixties are also the ages when we're at risk of osteoporosis (especially women), so we need extra calcium for good bone and joint health.
Also read: Best Multivitamins For Men Over 50
Seventies and Eighties
As we get older, it's harder for our bodies to produce vitamin B12, so we need to take additional B12, besides calcium and Vit D.
You may also like: The best K2 and D3 supplements
Should Every Elderly Person Take Multivitamins?
In general, not every elderly person needs to take multivitamins.
Healthy and active older adults can get all the nutrients they need from a varied and balanced diet. However, many seniors don’t get the needed amount of vitamins and minerals because of two main reasons: impaired absorption and inadequate nutrient intake. Impaired absorption can be caused by some hepatic and digestive disorders.
For example, the decreased number of gastrointestinal receptors in seniors may cause the need to take vitamin D supplementation. Corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and aluminum-containing antacids can interfere with calcium absorption.
In these situations, taking multivitamins can help. Inadequate nutrient intake can be caused by many factors, including depression, anorexia, social isolation, dementia, acute or chronic medical conditions, and functional disabilities. Individuals who don’t have a balanced and varied diet with multiple daily servings of vegetables, foods, dairy products, and meats should consider taking multivitamins .
Should You Start Taking Multivitamins?
Your nutritional needs depend on your age, thus, you may have to start taking vitamins as early as you can.
Even if you exercise regularly, eat whole foods, plant foods, and a generally varied diet and get the needed supplement in natural form, you still may need to supplement specific vitamins.
The vitamins and minerals you may need depend on your age and overall health, so be sure to talk to someone with medical education before taking supplements.