Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

What Vitamins Do You Really Need?

What vitamins do you really need? It may not be as many as you think. Our dietitian reveals what vitamins you really need, and how eating the right foods can save you time and money.


If you like to take vitamins, good for you, but you may not need as many as you think.

“It all has to do with your eating habits,” says Christy Shatlock, MS/RD, and one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “If you are someone who eats a well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, your body will not need a large quantity of supplemental nutrients from vitamins. However, this isn’t the case with some people.”

In all reality, you don’t need to take many vitamins as long as you are eating nutritionally balanced meals. If you aren't, simple changes in your eating habits can help. It also depends on recommendations made by your physician.

“Certain people may want to consider taking vitamins, even if they do eat right,” says Christy.

The Elderly

If you are over the age of 55, and bone health is an issue, you may want to consider taking a few vitamins, in conjunction with a healthy diet.

Vitamin D

“Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and as you age, your supply can become deficient,” says Christy. “This is especially important if you don’t spend a lot of time outdoors, as the sun can help replenish your supply.”

It’s important to consult with your physician about your individual vitamin D levels. Your physician can then recommend if you need to take a supplement or not.


“When you combine calcium and vitamin D, this leads to even stronger bones,” says Christy. “Depending on what your physician recommends, you may need to take both.”

Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming a mother-to-be, you should consider taking a few supplements to ensure your child's healthy development.

Folic Acid

“If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, you should take a folic acid supplement,” says Christy. “Folic acid is essential for a baby’s early development.”

If you are expecting a child, you should also consider taking a prenatal vitamin. Your personal physician can make the best recommendation based on your needs.

There is nothing wrong with taking vitamins, but you can save time and money if you eat a well-balanced diet.

Eating a diet that is balanced with lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will get you all of the nutrition you need.

One nutritionally balanced meal idea: Lean grilled chicken, with roasted sweet potatoes and a side of cooked broccoli. Meals like this provide a well-balanced blend of nutrients, without causing you to break the bank at the vitamin shop. Healthy and delicious meals like this can also be delivered to your door, courtesy of BistroMD. Check out our menu.

If you are an athlete, or do a lot of personal training, you may require an additional vitamin or supplement. Your physician can also make the best recommendation in this case.

Written By bistroMD Team. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on June 20, 2019.


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