Product Review: Vitamins

Vitamins are a great way to make up for what may be missing from our diets. They can also help protect us against some diseases and conditions. If you don't know what to look for in vitamin supplements or what works best for different people, you'll find helpful tips and suggestions below. Just remember; it's important to always check with your physician before starting any vitamin regimen.

Vitamins for Men

Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is one of the leading types of cancer that men develop. It is believed that lower levels of boron increase the likelihood of getting prostate cancer. Just 3 milligrams a day of boron can greatly decrease a man's chance of developing prostate cancer.

Boron also helps improve concentration and memory. Vitamin Shoppe makes a supplement that includes boron. It is their Multi Mineral/Boron/Vit D/No Iron supplement available for around $15.

For men and women, the older they get, the more fragile their bones can become, which is why taking a calcium supplement is a good idea. It can also help with weight loss.

Diabetes is another real concern, with an increase of Americans being diagnosed with this chronic condition. Chromium works to fight off diabetes, as it can keep insulin levels at normal range. One option is GNC's Chromium Picolinate 200 priced around $9.

Your body's energy supply is managed by coenzyme Q10. As men get older, their production of this begins to decrease. A coenzyme Q10 supplement can help increase production, along with fighting:

  • Cancer
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Heart disease

For around $30, you can get GNC Preventive Nutrition® CoQ-10 100mg.

For men who want to boost their muscle and memory, creatine supplements help. Puritan's Pride offers a powder or caps, in the $20 range.

Other vitamins that men can benefit from include:

  • Folic Acid (prevents clogged arteries, improves brain's blood flow and can decrease risk of developing Alzheimer's disease)
  • Glucosamine (reverses and rebuilds damaged cartilage)
  • Omega-3S (protects the heart)
  • Selenium (fights cancer)
  • Vitamin E (slows aging effects)

All men should take a good multivitamin, which can reduce a number of health problems. Centrum Silver, which can range anywhere from $20 to $35 and One A Day Men's Health Formula for around $28 are some of the more popular brands used.

Vitamins for Women

Women face unique challenges with their health as their bodies go through many changes. Menopause is one such challenge. Black Cohosh may help control the hot flashes that go along with menopause. Nature's Way has Black Cohosh available for around $10.

Pregnancy is another challenge for women. Those who suffer from morning sickness can benefit from Ginger. Ginger in general helps lessen the severity of nausea and vomiting.

Gingko Biloba may help boost memory and concentration, something that many women complain about as they get older. GNC offers this supplement ranging in price from $12 to $22. (Consult your physician before starting a ginkgo regime.)

Women who suffer from arthritis may find some relief by taking Glucosamine. It can also help with joint stiffness and pain. Osteo Bi-Flex Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex for around $27 can help.

Vitamin D can help women by strengthening bones and helping to prevent osteoporosis. It may also lower the risk of colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Like men, women should also take a multi-vitamin. One A Day Women's for around $20 is a well known brand. Centrum Ultra Women's Silver Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement is another popular brand, priced at about $20.

Vitamins for Children

Giving children vitamins doesn't have to be difficult with all of the yummy and flavorful supplements out there for them. Here are some favorites and the average retail price:

  • Vitamin C - Yummi Bears Chewable Vitamin C for Kids ($12)
  • Calcium - Rhino CalciBears ($30)
  • Rhino Beanie Vites ($20)
  • Coromega Omega-3 Fatty Acid ($17)
  • L'il Critters Gummy Vites Kids Multivitamin ($27)
  • Yummi Bears Fiber Supplements for Kids ($12)

General Vitamins

There are some general vitamins and herbal supplements that can be helpful for anyone. Here is a list of them and what they can do:

  • Echinacea - Can lessen the symptoms of colds and infections;
  • Lycopene - Can lower risk of heart disease and cancer;
  • B6 - Strengthens immunity and may help lower risk of depression, heart disease and memory loss;
  • B12 - Helps prevent depression, anemia, memory loss and heart disease;
  • Vitamin C - An antioxidant that maintains tissue, boosts immunity and promotes healing. It may also reduce risks of cancer, heart disease and sun damage;
  • Iron - Can help prevent fatigue, strengthen immunity and maintain alertness and memory;
  • Magnesium - Can aid in regulating blood pressure, formation of bones, muscle contraction and may also lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease;
  • Omega-3 Fats - Helps lower the risk of heart disease, bone loss, osteoporosis, memory loss and can reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis; and
  • Zinc - Can speed healing, strengthen immunity and help maintain strong bones.

With all of the vitamin supplements out there, it can be confusing deciding which ones you should take. Keep in mind that everyone can benefit from a multivitamin which takes care of the most important nutritional needs.

In addition to a multivitamin you should consider a separate calcium supplement if you are not consuming at least 3 servings per day of calcium-rich foods, such as yogurt and milk.

A separate magnesium supplement may be necessary if you are not consuming enough magnesium-rich foods. Some multivitamins may include calcium and magnesium, so check the label before adding a separate calcium or magnesium supplement.

Omega-3 fats come as a separate supplement that should be taken if your diet is not rich in fish, nuts or avocados.

In addition, you may need supplements that will meet a personal need, such as if you are dealing with hot flashes, memory problems, arthritis or are sick with a cold.

You can tailor your vitamin supplement daily regime to fit your individualized needs. Of course, it is always recommended that you seek the advice of a physician before introducing any new supplements into your diet.