Your body uses vitamins and minerals in almost every one of its natural processes. Without the proper intake of these valuable nutrients, your body struggles to fight off diseases and recover from injuries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a list of daily recommendations so you can be sure you are getting the nutrients you need.
Your body needs a total of 13 vitamins: A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins. Most of the time, you get the vitamins you need from your diet; however, according to the USDA, adult Americans often have a deficiency in vitamins A, C and E.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the average adult male needs 900 micrograms of vitamin A daily. The average adult female needs 700 milligrams, while a pregnant woman should aim for 770 micrograms a day. A breastfeeding mother needs 1,300 milligrams daily.
A normal man needs 90 milligrams of vitamin C every day, while a normal woman needs 75 milligrams. Pregnant women need slightly more, at 85 milligrams a day, while breastfeeding women need 120 milligrams. Vitamin C is water soluble, which means your body uses what it needs, and excretes the rest in urine. Vitamin C needs to be replaced daily though diet or supplements.
The average adult needs 15 milligrams of vitamin E daily. The recommendation is the same for pregnant women, but breastfeeding mothers should aim for 19 milligrams a day.
Minerals play a key part in many of your body’s processes, especially in building strong bones and keeping your heart healthy. If you eat a balanced diet, you should have no problem getting the minerals -- calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfur, iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium -- that you need daily. However, the USDA reports that Americans are often deficient in calcium, potassium and magnesium.
The average adult, regardless of age, gender and situation -- i.e., pregnancy and breastfeeding -- needs 800 milligrams of calcium a day. Teenagers need 1,100 milligrams a day due to their rapid growth.
The average adult needs 4.7 grams daily of potassium. This amount is the same for pregnant women; however, breastfeeding mothers need 5.1 grams a day. Never take potassium without your doctor's approval, as too much of it can cause chest pain and trigger an abnormal heart rhythm, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Normal adult males need 400 milligrams of magnesium a day until they reach age 30. After age 30, the average man needs 420 milligrams of magnesium. A normal adult woman needs 310 milligrams of magnesium until she reaches age 30. After age 30, she needs to increase her intake to 320 milligrams a day. Young women need 350 milligrams during pregnancy and 310 milligrams during breastfeeding. Women above age 30 need 360 milligrams daily during pregnancy and 320 milligrams a day during breastfeeding.
- FamilyDoctor.org: Vitamins and Minerals: How to Get What You Need
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Elements
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Estimated Average Requirements
- Uiversity of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium