Women may need to supplement certain nutrients. Calcium supplements may be necessary to help prevent osteoporosis for women who have cut back on dairy products.
Calcium citrate and calcium carbonate are considered the best supplemental sources; up to 2,000 mg daily can be taken safely by most people. Calcium supplements are best absorbed when taken in no more than 500 mg doses at a time, with meals. Women who bleed excessively during menstruation may need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains iron to meet the daily recommendation of 15 mg. Pregnant and lactating women have increased nutrient needs and are usually given supplements by their doctors.
Teenagers with irregular eating habits may not eat a balanced diet. A multivitamin and mineral supplement can help fill in the nutritional gaps.
Vegetarians who eat absolutely no animal products, and who aren’t extremely careful about their diets, may need the insurance provided by a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Dieters and people who avoid entire food groups may require a multivitamin and mineral supplement to replace missing nutrients.
Smokers may have lower vitamin C levels in their blood than nonsmokers and may benefit from supplementation of up to 500 mg a day.
People with deficiency diseases or absorption disorders may need therapeutic doses of nutrients (two to 10 times the RDA) prescribed by a physician. People who take prescription medications that interfere with nutrients or who abuse alcohol or other drugs may also need a supplement.