You only need to take the right vitamin or mineral supplement for your age and unique health needs. Remember, food ﬁrst! Then if you need a supplement, here’s what health experts advise as a daily guideline, depending on your age:
- 20s, 30s, or 40s: folic acid (400 micrograms for women) if you’re pregnant or capable of pregnancy, to avoid birth defects; perhaps calcium (up to about 1,000 milligrams, more—1,200 milligrams—for menopausal women) and perhaps iron (no more than 18 milligrams) if you’re a woman with heavy menstrual ﬂow.
- 50s: calcium (up to 1,200 milligrams for women and men) to protect against bone loss; and vitamin D (400 International
Units, or I.U.). Vitamin D recommendations go up with age.
Women: Stop any iron supplement now.
- 60s: calcium as noted for the 50s; vitamin D as noted for the 50s; and vitamin B12 (up to 2.4 micrograms) to counteract possible changes in vitamin B12 absorption.
- 70s: calcium as noted for the 50s; vitamin D (up to 600 I.U. or less if you drink milk); and vitamin B12, as noted for the 50s.
To be supplement savvy:
- Check the Supplement Facts on any you take so you don’t overdo. A supplement with 100% Daily Value for these or any other nutrients is enough, unless your doctor gives different advice.
- Make a personal note to ask your doctor about the right supplements for you.
Note: Supplements may interact with any medication that you take.