Skip to main content

Supplement Information

The latest health information at your fingertips.


Dr. Balz Frei

Ideally, you would get all your vitamins and essential minerals from your diet, although some of them, like vitamin E or D and calcium, may be hard to get even from a healthful diet. As a “health insurance,” and to fill known gaps in certain vitamins and essential minerals in the average US diet, I recommend the following supplements:

  • Multivitamins/minerals: Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement with 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most vitamins and essential minerals, keeping the following suggestions in mind:
  • Iron: In general, men and postmenopausal women should take a multivitamin/mineral supplement without iron.
  • Vitamin A: Look for a multivitamin/mineral supplement containing no more than 750 mcg of preformed vitamin A (usually labeled vitamin A acetate or vitamin A palmitate) and no more than 750 mcg of additional vitamin A as beta-carotene. Smokers should not take supplemental beta-carotene.
  • Vitamin C: Aim for a daily intake of at least 400 mg. Multivitamins/minerals usually provide 60 mg of vitamin C, and five servings of fruits and vegetables provide about 200 mg. A 250-mg supplement taken twice daily, or taking a single supplement of 500 mg or 1,000 mg, will ensure near-maximal plasma concentrations in healthy people.
  • Vitamin D: Take 50 mcg of supplemental vitamin D daily. Most multivitamins/minerals contain 10 mcg of vitamin D, and single-ingredient vitamin D supplements are available for additional supplementation. To ensure adequate body vitamin D status, aim for a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of at least 80 nmol/L (32 ng/mL).
  • Calcium: No multivitamin/mineral supplement contains 100% of the DV for calcium. If your total daily calcium intake doesn't add up to 1,000 mg, take an extra calcium supplement (combined with magnesium—see below) with a meal to make up the difference.
  • Magnesium: No multivitamin/mineral supplement contains 100% of the DV for magnesium. If you don’t eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, you likely are not getting enough magnesium from your diet. If you add a magnesium supplement, take a combined supplement with calcium containing 133-250 mg of magnesium and 333-500 mg of calcium with a meal.
  • Fish Oil: If you don't regularly consume fish, consider taking a 2000 mcg fish oil supplement several times a week. If you are prone to bleeding or take anticoagulant drugs, consult your physician.

Lipoic Acid and L-Carnitine: Healthy adults over the age of 50 may consider a daily supplement of 200-400 mg of alpha-lipoic acid and 500-1,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine.

This information is made available with the understanding that the author and publisher are not providing medical, psychological, or nutritional counseling services. The information is not intended as medical advice for individual problems and should not be used in place of a consultation with a competent health care or nutrition professional. Liability for individual actions or omissions based upon the information is expressly disclaimed.

You might also like

Exercising Good Heart Health

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer in America, for both men and women. In fact, one in three women have heart disease. According to surveys, 24% of Americans 18 or older are inactive. The risk of heart disease associated with a sedentar...

STUDY: Are the Nutrients in Multivitamin…

According to a study published recently in an Italian journal, the answer is yes. The study results suggest that taking a daily supplement like Centrum® can increase the blood levels of certain key nutrients included in the supplement.

Know Your Power Hours

Want to make your day more productive? Start watching your body clock for the best times to accomplish certain tasks. If you can follow these simple guidelines throughout the workday, the payoff will be huge: less stress and more energy.