What Vitamins Are Recommended For Preventive Purposes

Research results contradict each other. Some say that multivitamins have a beneficial effect on health, others – about their inefficiency. One thing is for sure: an overdose of micronutrients can be dangerous. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not support vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent disease.

Vitamins will not replace food

A varied diet is the best source of vitamins and minerals. An artificial capsule may contain more trace elements, but separately from other nutritional components, they are absorbed worse. Once again, this has been proven by a recent study.

Adequate intake of vitamins A and K, magnesium, zinc and copper was found to be associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality. The nuance is that this turned out to be true only for nutrients from foods. Dietary supplements with the same trace elements did not show such a positive effect.

When and why to take supplements

An additional source of universal supplements and minerals may be required if you are unable to maintain a varied diet or if you have a proven deficiency in any element.

Vitamins and minerals in tablets, drops or injections may be required:

  • a low-calorie diet;
  • weakened people with poor appetite;
  • vegetarians or those who avoid certain foods for health reasons.

Doctors may prescribe vitamins for patients with certain medical problems. For example, with anemia, osteoporosis or problems with the gastrointestinal tract. More often than not, these people will be recommended registered medicines rather than nutritional supplements.

While supplements should never replace a healthy diet, there are certain elements that are recommended to be supplemented.

Folic acid (vitamin B9)

The American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all women of reproductive age between 15 and 45 take folic acid. This initiative is supported by the CDC and the US Preventive Service.

Folic acid prevents dangerous defects in the nervous system in the fetus. Its action is especially necessary in the very first weeks after conception, when a woman may not even be aware of pregnancy.

Most women are prescribed a prophylactic amount of folic acid – 400 mcg per day. A higher dosage of the vitamin will not provide better protection, although a doctor may prescribe more due to some health problems.

Vitamin D 

It cannot be unequivocally stated that absolutely everyone should take cholecalciferol. But vitamin D deficiency is very common. By some estimates, one billion people worldwide suffer from such a deficiency. You can find out for sure whether you belong to this billion by laboratory tests.

Vitamin D deficiency increases bone loss, increases the risk of fractures, causes fatigue, and causes muscle weakness.

The problem is that, with the exception of certain foods like oily fish, vitamin D is hard to come by in the regular diet. Most of the vitamin is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. Its amount is affected by the time spent in the sun, and the season, and age, some diseases and conditions like obesity. Plus, the further north you live, the more likely you are to be deficient in vitamin D, especially during the winter months.

The UK Department of Health (PHE) recommends that every adult take 10 micrograms of cholecalciferol (400 IU) daily in autumn and winter. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that an adult needs a dosage of 15 mcg (600 IU) per day.

Vitamin B12

Most people get enough vitamin B12 from their daily diet. Additional intake is recommended for people over 50, vegetarians and vegans. The NIH warns that vitamin absorption declines after age 50, so supplements should be considered. The recommended dose is 2.4 mcg daily. The US National Institutes of Health advises the same dosage for those who limit the consumption of meat products.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss. There may be numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, problems with balance and memory.


Calcium, like vitamin D, is important for a strong skeleton. Although calcium deficiency is rare, intake below recommended levels can have negative health effects. In the long term, insufficient calcium intake can lead to osteoporosis.

The NIH says postmenopausal women, vegetarians, and people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk are at risk. The recommended dose for an adult is 1000 mg, and 1200 mg for women over fifty.

“The body cannot process more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. If you are taking a supplement with a large amount, your body must be doing something in excess. It is possible that the pain Not high levels of calcium in the blood can cause blood clots, or that calcium can build up along the walls of arteries and contribute to blood vessel constriction,” warns Erin Michos, MD, Associate Director of Preventive Cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.

Considering that an adult over fifty receives from 600 to 700 mg of calcium per day with food, it remains to add just no more than 500 mg per day.

Irregular vitamins can be damaging 

The US National Institutes of Health says that taking vitamins within the recommended dosage range is unlikely to harm. The problem is that today many food products are additionally enriched with microelements. This means that with food we get a little more than we think. If you add vitamins with minerals also in capsules, instead of benefit, you can get hypervitaminosis and health problems.

Also, not all vitamins are good for everyone. Vitamin A is known to be toxic to the fetus during pregnancy. It is also not known how a food fortified supplement will affect the results of some tests.

If you are already taking vitamins for prevention, you should consult a doctor you trust. And it is better to choose registered drugs so that nutritional supplements do not play a cruel joke on you.