According to data from the 2018 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, 75 percent of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, but many people don’t realize supplement needs can change with age. While food is always the first place to obtain the nutrients we need from early childhood through our elder years, there are several particularly important micronutrients that are necessary during the different stages of life that may require special dietary attention as well as supplementation.
The world of multivitamins can be overwhelming, and the right solution for you is not a one-size-fits-all equation. To help navigate the waters of which vitamins and minerals are needed at different ages, Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., chief medical advisor at MegaFood® has pulled together the below quick reference guide:
Children (4-13 years):
Due to picky eating and busy schedules, it can be difficult for many children to meet the adequate intake of important nutrients — especially calcium and vitamin D. As they inch toward the teens, magnesium requirements rise as well, so adding a supplement to the daily routine may be necessary to meet these needs. A general multivitamin can oftentimes suffice at this stage, but for many parents it can be difficult to get children to take them daily. Start with a convenient and tasty multivitamin soft chew that kids will not only enjoy but also benefit from, thanks to essential vitamins like D and C. Once a child grows older and is used to their daily soft chews, they can move on to supplements in other forms, like tablets, to cater to their evolving nutritional needs.
Adolescents (13-18 years):
The rapid growth and development of adolescents creates a high nutritional demand and, much like their childhood years, it can be difficult to achieve an adequate intake of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients (especially for those who do not consume dairy or eggs). Add testosterone levels and menstruation, and this age group also has increased requirements for zinc and iron. Parents should look for a daily vitamin that is crafted specifically for teens, like MegaFood Alpha Teen™ multivitamin, which helps to meet each of these nutritional needs for both boys and girls in this age group.
A multivitamin to support moms-to-be and a developing baby is essential, especially one that provides folate, iodine, iron and choline, and is recommended for anyone who is trying to get pregnant as well as throughout pregnancy and while nursing. After talking with a healthcare practitioner, moms-to-be should consider a premium multivitamin, like MegaFood Baby & Me 2™, a pre/post-natal dietary supplement that can help satisfy each of these requirements. MegaFood prenatal multivitamins are calcium- and magnesium-free because these two minerals can affect the absorption of other important nutrients in the supplement, particularly iron. MegaFood spokesperson, author and nutritionist Keri Gans, RDN, adds, “Our nutrient needs increase depending on where we are in our life cycle, and during pregnancy especially. Women should ensure they are getting enough calcium and magnesium through the foods they eat, and consider taking an additional supplement two hours after their prenatal vitamin for additional nutritional support.*”
Men (19-55 years):
Men stand to benefit from a good multivitamin, especially as deficiencies in magnesium, vitamin D and choline are common between 19 and 55 years old and the recommended intake for each of these per day is high (400-420 mg of magnesium; 15 mcg of vitamin D; 550 mg of choline), causing most men to fall short of meeting the requirements with food alone. When it comes to maintaining healthy testosterone levels and prostate health, zinc also plays a crucial role.* Men should look for a daily multivitamin that includes these nutrients and is iron-free, unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare practitioner. Additionally, look for a separate magnesium supplement to be taken a few hours after the multivitamin each day in order to meet the recommended 400 mg daily minimum.
Women (19-55 years):
At this stage, life becomes increasingly busy whether with work, family or social commitments (or all of the above!) which can quickly lead to feeling run down and lacking vitamins and minerals needed from diet alone. Women between 19 and 55 years old are commonly at risk for micronutrient gaps and should look to supplements that support healthy bones, muscles, heart and metabolism.* Seeing as each of these health categories require an adequate intake of several nutrients (especially before pregnancy occurs), find a multivitamin that checks as many of these boxes as possible. Common lifestyle choices for women, such as taking oral contraceptives or veganism, may create larger gaps where vitamins and minerals like B6, B12 and iron are often depleted. In addition to prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, supplementation is highly advised to fill this gap.
Men & Women (55+):
Both men and women over the age of 55 will naturally face age-related changes to their health, and it’s important to focus on areas like their bones, muscles, heart and metabolism.* An increase in vitamins like D and B12 is necessary to help avoid bone and muscle weakness, which may lead to a risk of falling and fracture. MegaFood offers multivitamins for men and women over 55 that help meet these nutritional needs, as well as a multitude of others specific to this age group. Magnesium is also imperative for men and women of this age, as it supports already healthy heart, muscle and nervous system function,* and should be taken separately from a daily multi. Additionally, it’s important for women over the age of 55 to note that iron requirements fall after menstruation ends and to select a supplement that reflects this change. An iron-free nutrient booster powder is ideal for this age group as it contains many of the essential vitamins and minerals and is a convenient, recipe-forward option.
When our bodies are operating with proper nutritional support, we have the capacity to live happier, healthier lives. Choosing the right foods and caring for our ever-changing nutritional needs as we grow are key to a sustainable lifestyle. Getting in the healthy habit of taking supplements that align with our age, particularly those that are high-quality and made with real food and added nutrients, can allow us to fill in those dietary gaps and support our bodies for a well-balanced future.*
To learn more about the many different multivitamins available for all ages, visit megafood.com.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.