Since Linus Pauling was considered a pioneer of Vitamin C research, it’s fitting that his Institute would offer free vitamin recommendations to the general public. Their “prescription for health” is meant for healthy people as a way to prevent common disease like cancer or heart disease. Below are the Institute’s top recommendations for vitamins and minerals.
Take a multivitamin supplement daily. Pick one with a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 100% of most minerals and vitamins.
Believe it or not, iron is not always necessary in your multivitamin, as it can interfere with the absorption of the other nutrients. The Institute recommends that all men go without iron, and postmenopausal women take multivitamins without it as well. For all others, iron should be taken separately from the multivitamin.
The Vitamin A content of your multivitamin should be, at most, 2,500 IU. However, if the Vitamin A comes in the form of beta carotene, the amount should be 5,000 IU at most. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that beta carotene is only absorbed 50% by the body.
When it comes to Vitamin C, the substance that Linus Pauling is famous for studying, the Institute recommends at least 400 mg per day. If you’re taking a multivitamin and eating at least five servings of fruits and veggies on a daily basis, you should be getting enough.
The body naturally produces Vitamin D from sunlight, but doctors recommend taking it in supplement form instead. 2,000 IU is a good amount of Vitamin D daily.
Vitamin E should be taken as an extra supplement. The best source is naturally occurring alpha tocopherol; always take this supplement with a meal.
Calcium is a tough one, because it’s impossible to get 100% of the daily value into a multivitamin. Most people do not get enough calcium in their diets alone. Add a calcium pill to your routine if your total intake isn’t at least 1,000 mg. Take with a meal.