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Monday Mom challenge: Consider your multivitamin

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Add or subtract supplements

You've likely noticed that you feel better and look better when you eat better. When you eat healthy foods, with a balance of vitamins and nutrients, you have more energy to tackle the challenges of your days, your mood is better, and your skin and hair and nails look better. Sometimes, though, getting that balance can be a challenge. That's where vitamin supplements come in.

Add or subtract supplements

Even if you eat a fairly good diet, you may be including multivitamins in your daily regimen just to be sure - or you may be adding a specific supplement to address a specific need. If you are not a big fan of fish, for example, you may be including an omega3 supplement just to be sure you are getting enough of that heart-healthy fatty acid. That's all good and well, but every once in a while, you should revisit your vitamins to make sure that what you are supplementing is really what you need.

Needs change

While experts offer general guidelines for the general population as to what makes up a healthy diet, specific needs vary, and they vary throughout a life. Your needs when you are young and considering starting a family differ from when you are older and approaching menopause. Your needs are different if you are meat-loving carnivore than if you are an organic-preferring vegan. Specific inherited traits may also impact your dietary needs. And even the diet of the most well-intentioned mom can get thrown out of whack when cooking for a family of picky eaters. Add in a late developing intolerance for dairy, and needs change even more. Each one of these profiles likely as different needs when it comes to vitamin supplements.

Find out here what foods and vitamins boost your mood.

Specific vitamin supplements can help you manage a range of physical issues. For women in perimenopause, vitamin E may help manage hot flashes, B-complex vitamins may help combat the "blahs," and an increase in soy may help mitigate the effects of reduced estrogen production. Interestingly, with (very much needed) uptick in sunscreen usage, many of us might not be getting as much vitamin D as we used to and may need to supplement that specific nutrient; our bones still need vitamin D even if our skin doesn't need harmful UV rays.

Find out more here on how to manage your menopausal symptoms through vitamins, diet or soy.

Consult a nutritionist - and your doctor

While adding supplements on the fly may seem like the easiest thing to do, it's not always the best. Sometimes it can even be dangerous! Over supplementing can interfere with other functioning. You need to have a clear picture of your health and health needs, and your doctor in conjunction with a nutritionist can help you discern this. Some doctors even have a nutritionist on staff for just this kind of collaborative relationship.

To help you get started, check out this overview of the top supplements for women.

When we feel better, we look better and interact with the world better. Vitamins - the right vitamins - can help achieve this. Regular review of our diets and any vitamin supplements are necessary to continue to feel and look and act our best.

For more on keeping you and your family healthy:

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