Eating a balanced diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, low-fat proteins, and dairy products are all excellent sources of micronutrients. However, some people may need to take additional supplements to meet their daily needs. Vitamin D is especially important for those who don't consume fortified foods, and adults over 50 should take supplements with vitamins D and B-12. Women of child-bearing age should take folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects.
Calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acid supplements are beneficial for people of all ages. It's important to note that vitamins from food sources are better absorbed by the body than those in pills. Eating a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, dairy products (or an alternative that contains calcium), and protein is the best way to get enough vitamins. Taking individual fat-soluble vitamin supplements should be avoided unless otherwise directed by a doctor. If you think you might be lacking certain vitamins and minerals, it may be best to consider changing your diet and lifestyle rather than resorting to supplements. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are recommended folic acid (also known as folate) supplements to reduce the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. On average, an adult in the United States should consume 28 grams (g) of dietary fiber per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Research shows that a dietary component that has an effect on the body may not have the same effect when isolated and taken as a supplement. In conclusion, eating a healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. It's important to read labels carefully and talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.