Roughly 99 percent of calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth, where it is crucial for structural support. The remainder is found in the blood, muscles and intracellular fluids, where it is a critical part of many metabolic, neurological and muscular functions. Postmenopausal women (who have an elevated risk of osteoporosis) and people who don’t consume dairy products (a primary source of calcium) are the mostly likely to require calcium supplements.
You can get calcium from dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt), fortified non-dairy milks (such as almond, soy and rice milks), fortified orange juice, sardines with bones, tofu (if prepared with calcium), collard green, kale, and broccoli.
Iron is an essential part of building red blood cells, specifically hemoglobin, a protein that bonds with oxygen to oxygen through the blood from the lungs to the cells throughout your body. Vegetarians need to consume almost twice as much iron daily because the iron in plant-based food is less available to the body than the iron found in animal products. Pregnant women and people with iron-deficient anemia may also need supplements.
You can get iron from meat (especially red meat and liver), seafood, lentils, beans, tofu, cashews, and broccoli.
Magnesium plays an important role in the function of more than 300 enzymes that regulate various processes in the body, including muscle and nerve function, heart rhythms and glucose control. Older adults and people with diabetes may need supplements.
You can get magnesium from almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, beans, potatoes, brown rice, dairy products, oats, chicken, beef and broccoli.
Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in immune function and is essential for normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood. Vegetarians may also need supplements since the zinc found in plant-based foods is less available to the body than that found in meat and fish.
You can get zinc from red meat, poultry, seafood (especially oysters, lobster and clams), dairy products, whole grains, beans and nuts.
Reach out to your pharmacist to get more information on supplements. Some vitamins (such as vitamin E) are dangerous in high doses, and some may interact negatively with other medications or medical treatment.