A multi isn’t enough. Here’s how to meet your body’s needs

Vitamin D

You need: Under age 50: 200 IU; ages 50 to 70: 400 IU; age 70+: 600 IUCheck your latitude: If you live above 42 degrees (Chicago, Boise, and Boston), pop a supplement; the winter sun is too weak to promote enough D formation (it’s the only vitamin that’s actually made in your body, triggered by the sun’s UV rays).Take D alone: Studies show that it deteriorates in a multi.


You need: Men over age 30: 8 mg; women, ages 19 to 49: 18 mg; women, age 50+: 8 mg; pregnant women: 27 mgPair it up: Couple it with vitamin C or C-rich foods (like OJ) to help absorb mealtime iron–especially from veggies (such as beans and spinach) and fortified breads and cereals.Keep calcium away: Calcium-containing supplements, foods, and antacids prevent iron absorption in your intestinal cells.

Vitamin E

You need: 15 mg/day (equivalent to 22 IU from natural vitamin E or 33 IU of synthetic E)Pair E with fat: Take it with or right after a meal containing fat to help the vitamin dissolve and enter your bloodstream.Go natural: Your body retains d-alpha-tocopherol twice as well as synthetic E (dl-alpha-tocopherol).


You need: Under age 50 and pregnant or breastfeeding women: 1,000 mg/day; age 50+: 1,200 mg/dayTake a small dose: Your body won’t absorb more than 500 mg at a time.Add milk to coffee: It offsets calcium loss caused by caffeine.

Don’t mix it with fiber: High-fiber meals hurry calcium out of your body. If you’re eating a high-fiber breakfast, wait and take a supplement at lunch.

Choose any kind: Calcium carbonate (think antacids) is absorbed just as well as calcium citrate.