Let’s face it: college life can be a whirlwind of late-night study sessions, caffeine-fueled classes to shake off hangovers, and an endless parade of social events. With all the chaos, it’s super important to keep our bodies healthy. One way to do this? Making sure we’re getting our daily dose of essential vitamins, of course!
I’m going to dish the deets on the top vitamins every college girl should be taking to maintain that oh-so-important optimal health. But, before we dive into the vitamin goodness, let’s get serious for a hot second: always, always, ALWAYS consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. Now, let’s get to it!
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones and supporting immune system function. It is also known as the “sunshine vitamin.” This is because our bodies can absorb it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. However, let’s be honest, as a busy college girl, you might not be getting as much sun as you need, particularly during those long winter months.
There’s actually a growing body of evidence suggesting that low vitamin D levels are linked to mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Certainly, nobody wants to deal with those issues when they’re already juggling classes, internships, and social lives.
You can find vitamin D in common foods like salmon, eggs, and fortified dairy products. However, it can be a bit tough to get enough from diet alone. Therefore, consider adding a vitamin D supplement to your daily routine. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults get 600-800 IU of vitamin D daily, while some experts believe we should be getting 5,000+ IU daily during those dark winter flu seasons.
Vitamin D-Rich Food Sources
|Food Source||Vitamin D Content (IU)|
|Salmon (3 oz)||450-1000|
|Canned Tuna (3 oz)||150-200|
|Eggs (1 large)||40-45|
|Fortified Milk (8 oz)||100-120|
|Fortified Orange Juice (8 oz)||100-140|
|Fortified Yogurt (6 oz)||80-100|
ECG Picks: Vitamin D
- Thorne – Vitamin D-5,000 – NSF Certified for Sport
- NOW Supplements – Vitamin D-3 5,000 IU
- Pure Encapsulations – Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
Vitamin B-Complex: The Energy-Boosting Bunch
The B-vitamins are a group of eight essential vitamins that play a vital role in maintaining our energy levels, brain function, and overall well-being. As a college girl, you’re likely in need of some extra energy to keep up with your hectic schedule. The B Vitamins might be able to help.
The B Vitamins
|Thiamin (B1)||Energy production, nerve function||Whole grains, legumes, nuts|
|Riboflavin (B2)||Energy production, antioxidant||Milk, yogurt, eggs, leafy greens|
|Niacin (B3)||Energy production, skin health||Meat, poultry, fish, whole grains|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||Energy production, hormone synthesis||Meat, whole grains, avocado, yogurt|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||Brain function, red blood cell formation||Meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, bananas|
|Biotin (B7)||Energy production, skin, hair, and nail health||Eggs, nuts, seeds, whole grains|
|Folate (B9)||Red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis||Leafy greens, legumes, fortified grains|
|Cobalamin (B12)||Red blood cell formation, nerve function||Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products|
These vitamins are essential for converting the food you eat into fuel, and they help maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. Plus, they can support your brain health, making it easier to focus on those late-night study sessions.
Some of the best dietary sources of B-vitamins are whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens. However, it can be challenging to get enough of these nutrients from your diet alone. A B-complex supplement can help ensure you’re getting the right balance of these essential vitamins.
For a detailed breakdown of the recommended daily allowances for each B-vitamin, check out this handy table from Harvard.
ECG Picks: Vitamin B
- Thorne – Basic B Complex
- Garden of Life – Vitamin Code B-Complex
- Pure Encapsulations – B-Complex Plus
Vitamin C: The Immunity Booster
Undoubtedly, we all know that college campuses can be breeding grounds for germs, particularly during cold and flu season. As such, Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, helps support your immune system and protect your body from illness.
In addition to its immune-boosting benefits, vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which contributes to maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Besides, it also aids in iron absorption, which is particularly important for menstruating women who may be at risk of iron deficiency.
You can find vitamin C in fruits like oranges, strawberries, and kiwi, as well as veggies like red bell peppers, broccoli, and kale. If you’re not getting enough vitamin C from your diet, consider adding a supplement to your daily routine. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men, but some healthcare professionals suggest higher doses for added immune support, especially during times of stress or illness.
Vitamin C-Rich Foods
|Food Source||Vitamin C Content (mg)|
|Orange (1 medium)||70|
|Strawberries (1 cup)||85|
|Kiwi (1 medium)||64|
|Red Bell Pepper (1/2 cup)||95|
|Broccoli (1/2 cup, cooked)||51|
|Kale (1 cup, raw)||80|
ECG Picks: Vitamin C
- NOW Supplements – Vitamin C-1000
- Thorne – Vitamin C with Flavonoids
- Viva Naturals – Premium Non-GMO Vitamin C
Iron: The Energy and Focus Provider
Iron is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in transporting oxygen throughout your body. Adequate iron levels help maintain energy, focus, and a healthy immune system. College girls, especially those who experience heavy periods or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, may be at risk of iron deficiency. Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.
The recommended daily allowance for iron varies depending on your age and sex. Women aged 19-50 need 18 mg of iron daily, while men and women over 50 need just 8 mg. Some of the best dietary sources of iron include red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, and fortified cereals.
Additionally, if you’re not getting enough iron from your diet, consider adding an iron supplement. But be cautious: too much iron can be harmful, so it’s essential to talk to a healthcare professional before starting a supplement regimen.
Iron-Rich Food Sources
|Food Source||Iron Content (mg)|
|Beef (3 oz)||2.2-3.3|
|Chicken (3 oz)||0.9-1.3|
|Beans (1/2 cup, cooked)||2.0-5.0|
|Lentils (1/2 cup, cooked)||3.3|
|Fortified Cereal (1 cup)||1.8-21.1|
|Spinach (1/2 cup, cooked)||3.2|
ECG Picks: Iron
Calcium and Magnesium: The Bone Health Duo
Calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that play a critical role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. As a college girl, you’re building your peak bone mass, which will help protect you from osteoporosis later in life.
Did you know Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it’s also essential for muscle function and nerve transmission? The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1,000 mg for women aged 19-50. Good dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods.
Calcium-Rich Food Sources
|Food Source||Calcium Content (mg)|
|Milk (1 cup)||300|
|Yogurt (1 cup)||245-384|
|Cheddar Cheese (1.5 oz)||306|
|Kale (1 cup, cooked)||94|
|Broccoli (1/2 cup, cooked)||31|
|Fortified Orange Juice (1 cup)||200-260|
Magnesium on the other hand supports calcium absorption and is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including energy level production and muscle function. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 310-320 mg for women aged 19-30 and 320-360 mg for women aged 31-50. You can find magnesium in foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.
Magnesium-Rich Food Sources
|Food Source||Magnesium Content (mg)|
|Whole Wheat Bread (1 slice)||23|
|Almonds (1 oz)||80|
|Pumpkin Seeds (1 oz)||156|
|Spinach (1/2 cup, cooked)||78|
|Black Beans (1/2 cup, cooked)||60|
|Dark Chocolate (1 oz)||64|
While it’s best to get these minerals from your diet, you may need a supplement if you’re not meeting the recommended daily allowances. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting a calcium or magnesium supplement, as the correct balance between these minerals is crucial for optimal bone health.
ECG Picks: Calcium and Magnesium
- NOW Supplements – Calcium & Magnesium
- Nature’s Bounty – Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc
- Thorne – Calcium-Magnesium Malate
Your Health Game Plan
As a busy college girl, it’s essential to give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and energized. Incorporating these key vitamins above and minerals into your daily routine can help support your overall well-being and make it easier to tackle the challenges college life will throw at you.
Remember, always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, and strive to get as many of these essential nutrients from your diet as possible. By taking care of your body, you’re setting yourself up for a successful and enjoyable college experience. Stay healthy, ladies!
What Do You Think?
So, now that you’re in the know about the essential vitamins and minerals every college girl should be taking, we’d love to hear from you! What do you think about our recommendations? Do you have any expertise to add to this resource? Are you already taking some of these supplements, or do you plan to start? Let us know in the comments section below!