Vitamin and Mineral Glossary

The following vitamins and minerals are some of the key nutrients found in just about all basic multipurpose supplements. The “daily value” or “DV” is a single nutrient requirement used on labels. Your requirement may be higher or lower than that number.

Calcium: Very important for bone growth and osteoporosis prevention, calcium also plays a role in nerve and muscle function.
Daily Value = 1000 milligrams

Folic Acid: Adequate amounts are important for preventing neural tube birth defects and a certain type of anemia.
Daily Value = 400 micrograms

Iron: Iron is important for the function of red blood cells, and deficiencies can lead to anemia, fatigue, and poor resistance to infection. Too much iron could play a role in heart disease, so men should choose supplements with less iron.
Daily Value = 18 milligrams

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is important for night vision and bone growth. As little as twice the required daily amount of vitamin A can actually increase the risk of bone fractures, while extra beta-carotene, which the body can change into vitamin A, does not increase the risk of fracture. So choose a supplement in which vitamin A is at least 20 to 40 percent beta-carotene.
Daily Value = 5000 international units (IUs)

Vitamin C: Important for wound healing and fighting infections, vitamin C is also a very important antioxidant. Diets packed with fruits and vegetables provide high amounts of vitamin C.
Daily Value = 60 milligrams

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and muscle strength. Getting all the required vitamin D from food is difficult, but the skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Most supplements contain 400 IUs; however, people over 70 need 600 IUs.
Daily Value = 400 IUs (600 if 70 or above)

Vitamin E: An important antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells from damage. Large amounts may prevent heart disease and cancer, though studies have not shown any benefits so far.
Daily Value = 30 IUs

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and the building of a protein in the bones. If you are taking a blood thinner like Warfarin (Coumadin), get a supplement that does not contain vitamin K, which interferes with the actions of Warfarin.
Daily Value = 80 micrograms