There are a lot of vitamins and dietary supplements on store shelves. From singular vitamin supplements like vitamin D to multivitamins for men, women, children and seniors, there’s something for everyone.

But you may find yourself wondering: Are there vitamins a woman should take on a daily basis?

What vitamins you’ll benefit from taking depends on a number of factors. Some vitamins can only be found in certain foods, while some are made naturally by your body. And no matter where some vitamins come from, how much your body needs can change as you age, or if you have certain health conditions.

To learn more about vitamins and which ones women should take at different points in their lives, we talked to family medicine physician Betsy Manor on the For Health’s Sake podcast. Our conversation covered topics like:

  • Why nutrient-rich or vitamin-fortified foods are the best source of essential vitamins
  • The differences between water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins
  • What vitamins to take during your child-bearing years (even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant)
  • When and if you should take vitamin supplements like calcium or vitamin D
  • Supplements that women commonly take during perimenopause and menopause
  • Whether any supplements are recommended for all women

Before taking a new supplement, talk to a doctor

In some cases, the benefits of taking a vitamin or other supplement are well-known, such as what folic acid does for pregnancy. But it isn’t always so clear, and it’s not as simple as looking up generalized lists of “the best vitamins for women over 50”.

“Just because things are available without a prescription, [and] just because they’re labeled as natural, doesn’t mean they don’t have any consequences – especially if you’re on any medications or you have any serious health conditions,” Dr. Manor says.

If you have questions about vitamins or other supplements, talk to your doctor. They can give you answers, as well as recommendations based on your diet, age, lifestyle and more.