Demystifying the vitamin aisle: supplements to take at every age

Walking down the vitamin aisle can be daunting. With hundreds of options, how do you know which to take? The answer is: It depends. Your body has different needs at each age. Here’s how to select the right vitamins to support your health at every stage of life.

Age: 20s and 30s. Getting plenty of bone-boosting supplements like calcium, magnesium and vitamin K is important because your bones don’t reach their peak mass until your late 20s to early 30s. The CDC recommends that women in their child-bearing years take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to support a healthy pregnancy.

Age: 40s. Omega-3 fatty acids can help fight the inflammation and cognitive decline that begins after age 40, according to The Arthritis Foundation. A high-quality fish oil can also keep your skin glowing and strong. Opt for oil from wild-caught fish that have tested negative for mercury.

Age: 50s. Because bone loss accelerates once you are in your 50s, it’s essential to supplement your diet with vitamin D and calcium. The National Institute on Aging advises that women age 50-70 need at least 600 IU of vitamin D (but not more than 4,000 IU).

Age: 60+. Older adults are more at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause fatigue, anemia and neurological problems. That’s why doctors recommend that you take around 2.4 micrograms of the vitamin each day once you are in your 60s. Low B12 levels may put you at risk for dementia, according to Harvard Medical School. After age 65, the Mayo Clinic recommends supplementing with a multivitamin to reduce risk of infection and fractures and improve overall immune health.