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What Vitamins and Minerals Do You Need Daily?

Macronutrients hog the spotlight. Everyone is talking about eating the right amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for fitness goals, but there’s another type of nutrient that is equally as important.

Most commonly referred to as vitamins and minerals, micronutrients are essential for recovery, results, and overall health and wellness. Despite their importance, according to the CDC, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are surprisingly common in the U.S. [1]

Let’s review the role of vitamins and minerals in your body. We’ll also take a look at some recommendations for the vitamins and minerals you need daily to ensure optimal health and wellbeing.

Importance of Vitamins and Minerals

From hormone health to cognitive function, micronutrients support hundreds of daily processes in the body.

For example, vitamin C helps with collagen production, promoting the health of your skin and connective tissue. The mineral zinc supports immune function, helping the body to fight off foreign bacteria and viruses. It’s the reason why you find zinc in so many natural cold remedies. [2][3]

When the body is lacking in a certain vitamin or mineral, a number of symptoms can occur. A vitamin D deficiency, for example, can lead to low testosterone levels in men and depression in women.

Here are the vitamins and minerals that you might need daily based on the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Before changing your diet or beginning to take supplements, it’s important to chat with your doctor or nutritionist.

Vitamin D

Better known as the sunshine vitamin, this micronutrient has an essential role in the following:

Hormone Health: Vitamin D promotes testosterone production. It’s considered one of the best natural ways to improve overall hormone health, alleviating side effects associated with low testosterone such as depression. [4]

Mood Stability: Continuing with the point above, vitamin D is a necessary nutrient to regulate mood. Seasonal depression is so common because people spend less time outside, limiting their production of vitamin D. [5]

Immune System: Given the limited sun exposure during the winter months, people tend to feel more depressed, but they also get sick more often. This links back to vitamin D deficiency. Studies show that vitamin D can help to support immune function.   [6]

Those with the greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, darker-skinned people, breastfed infants, and those with limited sun exposure.[7]

Experts recommend the following vitamin D dosage per day:

  • Children and teens: 600 IU
  • Adults up to age 70: 600 IU
  • Adults over age 70: 800 IU
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU [8]

Best Natural Sources of Vitamin D:

  • Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Fortified cereals [8]

Iron

Primarily found in your red blood cells, iron can help with the following:

Blood Cells: Given its presence in red blood cells, iron is an essential nutrient for the formation of hemoglobin (blood cells) and the delivery of oxygen. [9]

Muscle Function and Performance: Iron also has an important role in promoting muscle function, especially during workouts. In fact, one of the first signs of anemia (low iron) is a loss of muscle tone and strength. [10]

Disease Prevention: One of the most important long-term benefits of iron is its ability to reduce your risk for diseases such as renal failure anemia.  [11]

Those who have the highest risk of iron deficiency tend to have insufficient access to iron-rich foods when it matters most. For example, preterm infants, teenage girls who are menstruating, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions.

Experts recommend the following iron dosage per day:

  • Birth to 6 months: 0.27 mg                        
  • 7–12 months: 11 mg                     
  • 1–3 years: 7 mg               
  • 4–8 years: 10 mg                           
  • 9–13 years: 8 mg                           
  • 14–18 years: Men: 11 mg / Women: 15 mg / Pregnant: 27 mg / Lactating: 10 mg
  • 19–50 years: 8 mg / 18 mg / 27 mg / 9 mg
  • 51+ years: 8 mg

Best natural sources of iron:

  • Lean meat
  • Seafood
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Fortified grain products such as bread and cereals  [12]

Vitamin B6

Often associated with energy, vitamins B6 can help with the following:

Eye Health: Vitamin B6 reduces levels of homocysteine, which might help to lower your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). [13]

Mood and Mindset: Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient for the development of brain neurotransmitters, especially when it comes to feel-good hormones like serotonin. [14]

Those most at risk are vegetarians and the elderly. A plant-based diet doesn’t provide the same bioavailable B-vitamins as one that incorporates meat. The elderly are at risk due to poor absorption of B-vitamins. [15][16]

Experts recommend the following vitamin B6 dosage per day:

  • Birth to 6 months: 0.1 mg                          
  • 7–12 months: 0.3 mg                   
  • 1–3 years: 0.5 mg                          
  • 4–8 years: 0.6 mg                          
  • 9–13 years: 1.0 mg                        
  • 14–18 years: Men: 1.3 mg / Women: 1.2 mg / Pregnant:               1.9 mg / Lactating: 2.0 mg
  • 19–50 years: 1.3 mg / 1.3 mg / 1.9 mg / 2.0 mg
  • 51+ years: 1.7 mg / 1.5 mg

Best natural sources of B vitamins:

  • Fish
  • Beef liver and other organ meats
  • Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
  • Fruit [17]

Magnesium

With a starring role in hundreds of bodily processes, it’s an understatement to say that magnesium is important. Here are a few ways it can help:

Exercise Performance: Magnesium assists with providing glucose-based fuel to your muscles during intense workouts. [18]

Diabetes Prevention: Healthy levels of magnesium in your diet have been suggested to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. [19]

Experts recommend the following magnesium dosage per day:

  • Birth to 6 months: 30 mg                           
  • 7–12 months: 75 mg                     
  • 1–3 years: 80 mg                           
  • 4–8 years: 130 mg                         
  • 9–13 years: 240 mg                       
  • 14–18 years: Men 410 mg / Women: 360 mg / Pregnant: 400 mg         / Lactating: 360 mg
  • 19–30 years: 400 mg / 310 mg / 350 mg / 310 mg
  • 31–50 years: 420 mg / 320 mg / 360 mg / 320 mg
  • 51+ years: 420 mg / 320 mg

Best natural sources of magnesium:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains [20]

Nutritional Deficiencies? Fill the Gaps

A well-balanced diet can help you avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies. To ensure nutritional gaps are filled, a whole food-based fruits and vegetables supplements can be used.

Fruits and Greens is a whole food-based supplement that provides you with your daily recommended intake of the most important vitamins and minerals.

References

  1. CDC’s Second Nutrition Report: A comprehensive biochemical assessment of the nutrition status of the U.S. population. https://www.cdc.gov/nutritionreport/pdf/4page_%202nd%20nutrition%20report_508_032912.pdf
  2. DePhillipo NN, Aman ZS, Kennedy MI, Begley JP, Moatshe G, LaPrade RF. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018;6(10):2325967118804544. Published 2018 Oct 25. doi:10.1177/2325967118804544.
  3. Prasad AS. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Mol Med. 2008;14(5-6):353–357. doi:10.2119/2008-00033. Prasad.
  4. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854. Epub 2010 Dec 10.
  5. Penckofer S, Kouba J, Byrn M, Estwing Ferrans C. Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010;31(6):385–393. doi:10.3109/01612840903437657
  6. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881–886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755.
  7. Nair R, Maseeh A. Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012;3(2):118–126. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.95506.
  8. “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/.
  9. Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(2):164–174.
  10. Penninx BW, Pluijm SM, Lips P, Woodman R, Miedema K, Guralnik JM, Deeg DJ. Late-life anemia is associated with increased risk of recurrent falls. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Dec;53(12):2106-11.
  11. Kalantar-Zadeh, Kamyar et al. Diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia in renal failure patients during the post-erythropoietin era. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Volume 26, Issue 2, 292 – 299.
  12. “Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/.
  13. Seddon JM1, Gensler G, Klein ML, Milton RC. C-reactive protein and homocysteine are associated with dietary and behavioral risk factors for age-related macular degeneration. Nutrition. 2006 Apr;22(4):441-3.
  14. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68. Published 2016 Jan 27. doi:10.3390/nu8020068.
  15. Pawlak R, Parrott SJ, Raj S, Cullum-Dugan D, Lucus D. How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? Nutr Rev. 2013 Feb;71(2):110-7. doi: 10.1111/nure.12001. Epub 2013 Jan 2.
  16. Andrès E, Loukili NH, Noel E, Kaltenbach G, Abdelgheni MB, Perrin AE, Noblet-Dick M, Maloisel F, Schlienger JL, Blicklé JF. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients. CMAJ. 2004 Aug 3;171(3):251-9.
  17. “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B6.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/.
  18. Chen HY, Cheng FC, Pan HC, Hsu JC, Wang MF. Magnesium enhances exercise performance via increasing glucose availability in the blood, muscle, and brain during exercise. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 20;9(1):e85486. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085486. eCollection 2014.
  19. Kim DJ, Xun P, Liu K, Loria C, Yokota K, Jacobs DR Jr, He K. Magnesium intake in relation to systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and the incidence of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2010 Dec;33(12):2604-10. doi: 10.2337/dc10-0994. Epub 2010 Aug 31.
  20. “Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.