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Do Our Vitamin Requirements Change as We Age?

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 23 Nov 2012 |
 
Day Vitamin Vitamin A Vitamin B Vitamin

The vitamin requirements for people change as they get older, and the requirements generally increase from birth to old age.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

The human body does not store water-soluble vitamins, so these are needed in the diet every day.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine or thiamine, keeps nerves and muscles healthy, and helps release energy from food. Good sources of vitamin B1 include pork, fruit and vegetables, dairy, milk, eggs and wholegrains.

  • Infants (0-12 months) need 0.2-0.3 mg/day
  • Children (1-9 years) need 0.5-0.9 mg/day
  • Adolescents (10-18 years) need 1.1-1.2 mg/day
  • Adults (19-65 years) need 1.1-1.2 mg/day
  • Elderly people (65+ years) need 1.1-1.2 mg/day

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, keeps skin, eyes, the nervous system and mucous membranes healthy, and helps produce steroids and red blood cells. Good sources of riboflavin include dairy, eggs, rice and mushrooms.

  • Infants - 0.3-0.4 mg/day
  • Children - 0.5-0.9 mg/day
  • Adolescents - 1.0-1.3 mg/day
  • Adults - 1.1-1.3 mg/day
  • Elderly people - 1.1-1.3 mg/day

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinamide, keeps the nervous and digestive system healthy and releases energy from food. Good sources include meat, offal, fish, dairy, eggs, wholegrains, peanuts and legumes.

  • Infants - 2-4 mg/day
  • Children - 6-12 mg/day
  • Adolescents - 16 mg/day
  • Adults - 14-16 mg/day
  • Elderly people - 14-16 mg/day

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, helps release energy from food. Good sources include meat, vegetables, wholegrains and eggs.

  • Infants - 1.7-1.8 mg/day
  • Children - 2.0-4.0 mg/day
  • Adolescents - 5.0 mg/day
  • Adults - 5.0 mg/day
  • Elderly people - 5.0 mg/day

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps from haemoglobin in blood and releases energy from food. Good sources include meat, fish, wholegrains, eggs, vegetables, soya beans, peanuts and dairy.

  • Infants - 0.1-0.3 mg/day
  • Children - 0.5-1.0 mg/day
  • Adolescents - 1.2-1.3 mg/day
  • Adults - 1.3-1.7 mg/day
  • Elderly people - 1.5-1.7 mg/day

Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, helps release energy from food. Good sources include offal, eggs, fruit and vegetables.

  • Infants - 5-6 mcg/day
  • Children - 8-20 mcg/day
  • Adolescents - 25 mcg/day
  • Adults - 30 mcg/day
  • Elderly people - 30 mcg/day

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, helps form blood, and prevents spina bifida in unborn babies. Good sources include vegetables, wholegrains and legumes.

  • Infants - 80 mcg/day
  • Children - 150-300 mcg/day
  • Adolescents - 400 mcg/day
  • Adults - 400 mcg/day
  • Elderly people - 400 mcg/day

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, helps make blood, keeps the nervous system healthy, and releases energy from food. Good sources include meat, seaweed, dairy, fish and eggs.

  • Infants - 0.4-0.7 mcg/day
  • Children - 0.9-1.8 mcg/day
  • Adolescents - 2.4 mcg/day
  • Adults - 2.4 mcg/day
  • Elderly people - 2.4 mcg/day

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, keeps cells healthy and helps the absorption of iron. Good sources include fruit and vegetables.

  • Infants - 25-30 mg/day
  • Children - 30-35 mg/day
  • Adolescents - 40 mg/day
  • Adults - 45 mg/day
  • Elderly people - 45 mg/day

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

The human body stores fat-soluble vitamins, so while these are needed regularly, they are not needed in the diet every day.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, carotene or tretinoin, helps vision, and keeps skin and the immune system healthy. Good sources include dairy, eggs, oily fish and liver.

  • Infants - 375-400 mcg/day
  • Children - 400-500 mcg/day
  • Adolescents - 600 mcg/day
  • Adults - 500-600 mcg/day
  • Elderly people - 600 mcg/day

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, including vitamin D2 (also known as ergosterol or ergocalciferol); vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol or calcitriol); vitamin D4 (also known as dihydroergocalciferol); and vitamin D5, helps keep bones and teeth healthy by regulating calcium. Good sources include oily fish, eggs and liver, and sunlight.

  • Infants - 5 mcg/day
  • Children - 5 mcg/day
  • Adolescents - 5 mcg/day
  • Adults - 5 mcg/day
  • Elderly people - 15 mcg/day

Vitamin E

Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, protects cell membranes. Good sources include plant oils, nuts and seeds.

  • Infants - 2.7 mg/day
  • Children - 5.0-7.0 mg/day
  • Adolescents - 7.5-10.0 mg/day
  • Adults - 7.5-10.0 mg/day
  • Elderly people - 7.5-10.0 mg/day

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps blood clotting. Good sources include the gut bacteria, as well as green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and wholegrains. Infants are given an injection of vitamin K at birth.

  • Infants - 5-10 mcg/day
  • Children - 15-25 mcg/day
  • Adolescents - 35-55 mcg/day
  • Adults - 55-65 mcg/day
  • Elderly people - 55-65 mcg/day

The figures for daily requirements in this article are from the World Health Organisation report ‘Vitamin and mineral requirements in human nutrition (Second edition), published in 2004.

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