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Nutrition & Fitness

Nutrition Across the Life Cycle

Vitamins and minerals are essential for humans to thrive. But because the body does not produce most vitamins and all minerals, we must consume them from a well-balanced diet.

The relative importance of each of the essential vitamins and minerals a body needs for optimal health depends on many factors and varies across the life cycle. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences publishes Dietary Reference Intake recommendations for how much of each nutrient a person should get per day (commonly known as RDAs) that are specific to various stages of life and gender.

Always consult your doctor before you take any supplements. And remember that dietary supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]


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  • 2. Bailey RL, Dodd KW, Goldman JA, et al. Estimation of total usual calcium and vitamin D intakes in the Unites States. J Nutr. 2010;140(4):817-822. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.118539.
  • 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Folic acid recommendations. Accessed February 12, 2015.
  • 4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Vitamins and minerals. Accessed February 11, 2015.
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  • 9. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D: fact sheet for health professionals. Accessed Februrary 11, 2015.
  • 10. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin E: fact sheet for health professionals. Accessed Februrary 25, 2015.
  • 11. National Institutes of Health. Zinc: fact sheet for health professionals. Accessed Februrary 25, 2015.
  • 12. Otten JJ, Hellwig JP, Meyers LD, eds. Dietary reference intakes: the essential guide to nutrient requirements.Washington (DC). The National Academies Press; 2006. Accessed February 10, 2015.
  • 13. Seeman E. Pathogenesis of bone fragility in women and men. Lancet. 2002;359(9320):1841-1850.
  • 14. Sharkey JR, Branch LG, Zohoori N, Giuliani C, Busby-Whitehead J, Haines PS. Inadequate nutrient intakes among homebound elderly and their correlation with individual characteristics and health-related factors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(6):1435-1445.
  • 15. Turnlund JR, Durkin N, Costa F, Margen S. Stable isotope studies of zinc absorption and retention in young and elderly men. J Nutr. 1986. 116(7):1239-1247.
  • 16. US Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th ed. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
nutrition, vitamins and minerals, nutrition recommendations
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