Supplements

What vitamins should I take? 5 you need today

If you’re searching for the best vitamins to take daily, bring this guide on your next shopping trip.

Did you know that an estimated 1 in 10 adults is clinically deficient in a wide range of vitamins and minerals? Even those who aren’t technically deficient may have nutrient levels that are well below what’s optimal for boosting your immune system, increasing your energy, and improving your brain health.

If you're wondering ' well what vitamins should I take?' , you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about the most important vitamins for your health.

What vitamins should I take?

It’s possible to get all the nutrition you need from your diet alone, and no supplement should be seen as a replacement for a balanced diet. That said, a daily multivitamin can help fill the gaps in your diet and lifestyle, provide a foundation for good health, and combat ailments like tension, poor sleep, and lack of exercise.

So to answer 'what vitamins should I take', you need to understanding your health, diet, and lifestyle. Factors such as age play a role too.

How do you know what vitamins your body needs?

One of the best ways to assess what vitamins your body needs is to look at your diet and consider the nutritional value of the foods you eat.

How good is your diet? be honest. There’s no shame in having a less than perfect diet. We’re not here to moralise. So many factors play a part, from time, to cost, to convenience, to mental health. And once you recognise that you aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals you need to feel great, you can do something about it. That’s where supplements come in.

What vitamins should I be taking for my age?

While there are vitamins you'll want to keep on top of your entire life (such as the 5 below!), there are certain vitamins that are more important at different ages. For example, tweens and teens will want more calcium and vitamin D to support growth, pregnant women benefit from folic acid, and in this post , we explore the various supplements and vitamins that support aging.

What are the 5 best vitamins to take?

We recommend keeping your cabinet well-stocked with these top 5 supplements:

  1. Vitamin B6

  2. Iron

  3. Vitamin D

  4. Vitamin C

  5. Magnesium

1. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is the most common vitamin that people are lacking, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a nutrient, it’s been linked with numerous health benefits and important biological processes, including:

How much do you need and where do you get it?

Adults need 1.3 mg/day of vitamin B6 until the age of 50, after which your daily needs jump up to 1.7 mg/day for men and 1.5 mg/day for women.

Top dietary sources for vitamin B6 include:

  • Salmon

  • Turkey

  • Avocado

  • Russet potatoes

  • Bananas

  • Cooked spinach

2. Iron

Iron is the second-most-common lacking nutrient, especially among women.

Iron plays a vital role in the proper functioning of your blood’s haemoglobin, but this mineral also does so much more:

  • It helps oxygenate your entire body.

  • It may help to improve your emotions and protect your mental health.

  • It may enhance athletic performance , especially endurance, in female athletes.

If you’re wondering “what vitamins should I take daily for a woman,” start with iron.

How much do you need and where do you get it?

How much iron you need varies by age and gender. Men need 8 mg/day. Women need:

  • 19 to 50 years: 18 mg

  • 51 years and older: 8 mg

  • During pregnancy: 27 mg

You can find iron in a variety of food items, with top sources being:

  • Oysters, clams, and other shellfish

  • Legumes, such as white beans, lentils, or chickpeas

  • Lean beef

  • Beef liver

3. Vitamin D

In a research study conducted by Heights, we found that 57% of people were lacking vitamin D . This is critical because vitamin D is important for:

  • Building healthy bones by boosting your absorption of calcium.

  • Strengthening your immune system.

  • Protecting the health of pregnant women .

  • Improving your mental health.

How much do you need and where do you get it?

Both women and men need 15 mcg/day until age 70, after which your daily needs bump up to 20 mcg/day.

Your skin’s exposure to natural sunlight remains one of the best ways to increase your levels of vitamin D. However, eating the following foods also provides the body with some vitamin D3:

  • Fish, including salmon, tuna, and cod liver oil

  • Fortified milk and milk products

  • Fortified cereal and cereal products – about 13-20% of the total dietary intake of vitamin D in the UK population comes from these products

  • Mushrooms

On top of that, it’s recommended that anyone living outside the tropics take daily vitamin D supplements.

4. Vitamin C

Oranges representing vitamin C

Many people associate vitamin C with its ability to significantly improve immune function, but this vitamin does so much more than just strengthen your immunity:

  • studies have found that high vitamin C levels in your blood correlate with lower levels of unbalanced emotional states.

  • Supporting normal psychological function and functioning of nervous system.

  • Improved cognitive functioning, including enhanced memory, focus and concentration.

  • Increased mental energy, because vitamin C plays a vital role in the production of oxygenated blood cells, which in turn help guard against mental fatigue.

How much do you need and where do you get it?

Adult men need 90 mg/day while women need 75 mg/day. Keep in mind that this is the bare minimum, and due to vitamin C’s antioxidant properties, taking more than the baseline may bring more protective and immunity-boosting benefits to your body.

Some of the best food sources for vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits and juices

  • Sweet red peppers

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Strawberries

  • Apples

5. Magnesium

Often referred to as “nature’s chill pill” due to its relaxing properties, magnesium plays a critical role in your central nervous system and other important processes in your body. For example, this mineral may:

  • Improve your athletic performance

  • Reduce your risks of various mood disorders

  • Boost your heart health and support healthy blood pressure

How much do you need and where do you get it?

The UK’s NHS recommends approximately 270-300 mg of magnesium a day.

Some of the best food sources for this healthy mineral include:

  • Cashews

  • Brown rice

  • Almonds

  • Swiss chard

  • Bananas

What time should I take a supplement?

Pill box containing various supplements

Certain nutrients should be taken at certain times of the day. After all, you wouldn’t knock back a few coffees just before bed.

For example, B vitamins often contribute to feeling energised, therefore it makes sense to take them in the morning. Something like magnesium can relax your muscles, so a night-time dose would be more appropriate.

You’ve also got to think about what nutrients you’re taking together. Magnesium, for one, has a tendency to inhibit the absorption of other nutrients, so you don’t want to mix it with anything. Thinking about things like this is just another way to make sure that you’re getting the best rewards from your supplements.

Read more about supplement-timing

A note on quantity: Bioavailability 101

Light gold supplements

Quantities aren’t the only important factor when choosing a supplement. It doesn’t matter how much vitamin E you take if your body can’t use it.

Most nutrients can come from multiple sources, and the specific compounds will vary. The names of these compounds can quickly become obscure (hello DL-α-tocopheryl acetate) but they matter, and the difference in how much of the key nutrient you can absorb can be huge.

Add in the fact that other nutrients, such as magnesium, can affect bioavailability, and it can be a bit of a minefield. So we put together this quick guide to help you out.


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