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Family Nutrition

Who Needs Vitamins?

If you and your family are eating a healthy diet, it may contain all the vitamins and minerals you need. Whole foods are always the best source of vitamins and minerals; tasty meals and snacks will usually meet the vast majority of our nutritional needs.

Some people do need supplements in addition to a healthy diet. Are you or a family member in need of vitamins?
   • People with diabetes, digestive diseases, or recent surgeries may not be
     absorbing all the vitamins and minerals they need.
   • People with certain major illnesses or injuries usually have an increased
     need for healing nutrients.
   • People taking certain medications that can increase or decrease the
     effectiveness of vitamins and minerals can benefit from supplements.
   • People with food allergies that require avoiding groups of foods may wind
     up with nutritional deficiencies.

If you’re on a restricted diet:
   • Strict vegetarians may have a deficit of vitamin D, vitamin B-12, calcium, zinc,
     and iron.
   • People following weight loss programs of less than 1000-1200 calories per day
     may need supplements due to poor nutrient intake.

Women in certain stages of life:
   • Menopausal women might benefit from calcium.
   • Women with heavy menstrual bleeding may need more iron.
   • Pregnant and breastfeeding women have an increased need for iron,
     folic acid, and calcium.
   • Women who are trying to conceive have an increase need for folic acid
      to decrease the risk of certain birth defects.

Check with your pediatrician before starting your children on multivitamins or mineral supplements
   • As long as you don’t exceed the RDA for any one vitamin or mineral, a daily
     multivitamin won’t hurt most kids.
   • Supplements are not a substitute for good food, nor should they justify a poor
     diet. Continue to encourage your children to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
   • Children ages 4 – 12 should get no more than 50% of the adult RDA of the
     major vitamins and minerals (especially A,D,E, and K) from supplements. After
     age 12, kids can safely take an adult dosage.
   • Look for multivitamins without sugar or artificial colorings. If you use gummy
     vitamins, be sure your children get good dental care.

More is not always better.
   • Taking an excessive amount of certain supplements can be toxic, interfere with
     medications and could result in serious illness or death

Remember, always check with your doctor about dosage amounts and interactions before you begin to take any new supplement.

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