This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Women of all ages need at least 1,200 mg of calcium daily, through supplements or diet, to slow bone loss. Most multivitamins don't supply this much: A separate calcium supplement is probably your best bet. Younger women, especially those with heavy menstrual periods , need plenty of iron (18 mg a day ). Those considering pregnancy should get extra folic acid and avoid high-dose vitamin A. Special "women's formulas" may contain expensive herbs you may not need.
Over 50, opt for iron-free formulas: Too much of the mineral can cause heart problems. Look for vitamins B6 and B12 in the higher ranges, because as people age, they often have trouble absorbing these nutrients. Older women and men can benefit from the bone-strengthening effects of extra calcium (1,200 mg a day) and vitamin D (400 to 600 IU a day).
Chronic Illness can lead to poor eating habits or deplete nutrient stores. Extra-strength formulas are especially important if you suffer from a long-term digestive ailment or have liver or gallbladder problems. Consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Vegetarians who avoid all animal foods, including dairy and egg products, need at least 100 mcg daily of vitamin B12. Zinc, iron, and calcium are also very important minerals for strict vegetarians.