What Kind of Vitamins Do I Need to Take?

Pregnant women should take folic acid to reduce risk of birth defects.
A daily fish oil supplement can prevent heart disease.
Flaxseed oil contains vitamin A.
Multivitamin supplements.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2014
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While the ideal way of obtaining vitamins is through eating a healthy diet, not all vitamins are equally absorbed by all people. As well, some conditions suggest that certain vitamin supplements should definitely be added to diets. For example, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have difficulty absorbing vitamins from food, and may benefit from a good, and easily digestible multi-vitamin supplement.

What vitamins one takes needs to be tailored to the individual. A pregnant woman, for example, should start taking a pregnancy multi-vitamin that contains folic acid prior to conception. Taking folic acid significantly reduces the risk of certain birth defects when a daily amount is taken before the woman conceives.

Someone who is on a calorie-restricted diet may also need a good multi-vitamin because the person may not be getting enough vitamin amounts from their foods. Vegetarians particularly need vitamin B12, which is often lacking from the vegetarian diet. People who cannot consume milk products lose out on vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and potassium.


Most doctors also recommend that all women take a daily calcium supplement. This is especially true for women entering their 30s and older, since calcium can help forestall osteoporosis. Many also benefit from the vitamin A in fish oil and flaxseed oil, which has mood regulating benefits and may be helpful in preventing heart disease. Vitamin A levels should be carefully regulated, since too much vitamin A has been linked to birth defects. Those with heart rhythm irregularities should also not take fish oil, as it may actually increase the chance of having a dangerous arrhythmia.

People who are elderly, or young children who have very picky food habits may also benefit from taking vitamins that have a basic selection of various vitamins. Note that calcium and iron vitamins or minerals should never be taken together, since iron interferes with calcium absorption. People with immunodeficiencies should also take a multivitamin supplement.

Vitamins should not be a substitution for a healthy diet however, because it has been shown that vitamins in food tend to be much more easily absorbed. Further, food often contains beneficial ingredients that one can’t get from vitamins. Milk for example, contains calcium and vitamin D, as well as magnesium and potassium. Simply taking a vitamin D supplement will not completely compensate from what one misses by not consuming dairy.

Taking too many vitamins has also shown to be largely ineffective. Most extra vitamins, like extra vitamin C are simply excreted through urine and don’t provide much benefit. In fact, as important as it may be to take some vitamins, it is equally important not to take too many. The best bet is to get recommendations from a physician so that any suggested vitamins mesh well with one’s dietary needs, any medications one may take, and any medical conditions one has.


Discuss this Article

Post 23

Can bright yellow urine mean you're getting your vitamins too quickly? In other words, take half in the morning and half, say 12 hours later?

Post 22

Vitamin C is the best for fitness of the body and health so I like vitamin C. It is essential for building the body muscles and keeping the bones strong. Anyhow, I think Vitamin C is the best element for skin care and protection of tissues so most of the people like this for curing skin care issues.

Post 21

I'm a 36 year old female and I am taking a multivitamin daily. Do I need to be taking extra calcium with it? I just looked at the multivitamin bottle and it says it only has 500mg of calcium in it. Is that enough? I don't drink milk but I do like cheese. Any advice for me?

Post 19

My name is Samantha and I am 28 years old. I don't really eat. I maybe eat one time a day, if that. Is there a vitamin out there that I can take to get the stuff I need to stay healthy?

I know there is noting better than eating a good meal three times a day. Is there anyone out there who knows a little about what kind of meds to take? I really need help on this. Thank you all for your help. I want to feel better. I am always tired and have no need to do things. I don't like feeling like this. I have 3 kids who need me. Please help.

Post 17

"People who cannot consume milk products lose out on vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and potassium." What kind milk are you talking about? Cow milk? Almond milk? If you are talking about cow milk then I disagree with this statement. I was eating dairy and destroyed my bones. Plant based calcium is best, not from milk! Cow milk is designed for cows, not humans!

Post 16

Vitamins are chemicals that are necessary for a good heath. The body requires vitamins in order to perform its everyday functions.They can get with the pure and healthy food but sometime we need them severely. Nice blog about vitamins and organic multi vitamins .

Post 15

I am diagnosed with having DCIS and I am taking too many vitamins and I always take calcium with Vit. D (1000IU) and iron at the same time. Now thanks to the info I've read from your site I now learned that they couldn't be taken at the same time. Emma

Post 12

I've been taking liquid Isotonic vitamins and they're great. comes in a powder and you add water and drink it. It's amazing!

Post 11

I am 30 years old now and i have four kids. i eat all kinds of food but still not sure if i should take the multivitamin or no. thanks for your time. -- sehare

Post 10

I am going to be starting a very low calorie diet on monday, but i need to know what vitamins are best to take to avoid feeling fatigued and weak. thanks

Post 8

Your body is unique. The bio-nutrients it needs for optimal functional health may be different from those that someone else needs. That's why ordinary multivitamins don't cut it.

Multivitamins from the drugstore, and expensive supplements from nutrition and health food stores alike, can leave you with too much of some nutrients, too little of others, or none at all of other particular nutrients your body needs.

The simple truth is that "one-size-fits-all" multivitamin cannot provide you with optimal nutrition because they are created for a hypothetical "average" person. No such person exists.

On top of that, many ingredients in drug store brand multivitamins are in hard-to-absorb forms, or their ingredients are isolated from their synergistic nutrient partners—facts which can greatly reduce their effectiveness.

Post 6

In regards to "rjohnson" - that is not correct. Bright urine indicates only that you've consumed a larger amount of certain B vitamins (either via food or supplements). It isn't generally harmful. However, a darker urine color indicates not getting enough fluids, aka being dehydrated.

Post 3

Thank you sooo much for this site it helped me a lot with my vegetarian diet, I am very healthy and I'm getting the vitamins I neeed thanks again xx-x-x-x-x Gooo veggies!!!

Post 2

I agree, that the best way to get all the necessary vitamins is through food if at all possible.

So Vitamin A rich foods are: carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, spinach, apricots

Vitamin B complex: whole grains, leafy greens, dairy products

Vitamin C: strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, cabbage

Vitamin D: milk, fish, egg yolk

Vitamin E: whole grains, egg yolk, seeds and nuts

Vitamin K: leafy green vegetable, milk, yogurt

By eating a varied diet one should be able to get all the necessary vitamins.

Post 1

If you are taking too many vitamins you'll know because your urine will be a brighter yellow. Although more vibrant urine can also be an indication of not getting enough fluids.

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