Medically reviewed on September 1, 2022 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Table of contents
From the time we were kids, many of us have heard from parents and teachers about the importance of taking our vitamins—and there’s a reason for that. Vitamins are micronutrients our bodies need to function normally. 
But which vitamins do you need to take every day to maintain optimal health?
While your individual needs will depend on your age, sex, genetics, lifestyle, and various other factors, some vitamins can benefit virtually everyone when taken daily. This guide will touch on those nutrients you should consume every day, how much of them you need, and the health benefits of each one.
Alphabetically first (and almost equally important) is vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin. Taking in the right amount of vitamin A each day is essential, as the nutrient supports: 
For anyone 14 years and up, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 900mcg for males and 700mcg for females.  Most vitamin A supplements or daily multivitamins contain at least the RDA.
You can also source your vitamin A from foods like:
When it comes to the vitamin B family, there are a few that are considered essential. One essential vitamin is B6. Vitamin B6 is a generic name that encompasses six organic compounds and is another must-have on your list of daily vitamins. B6 is involved in the formation of more than 100 enzymes. These enzymes fulfill countless roles within our bodies. 
Some of the most important processes involving vitamin B6 include: 
The RDAs for vitamin B6 vary depending on your age and sex. The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends the following: 
Note that the RDA increases for pregnant or lactating people (to 1.9 mg and 2.0 mg, respectively). 
Vitamin B6 can be taken alone as a vitamin supplement or as part of a multivitamin. You can also find it in various foods, such as: 
Another essential B vitamin is B9, also called folate (the natural form) or folic acid (the synthetic form).
Folate supports healthy metabolism and immune system by contributing to regular cell growth and function. Your body also needs folate to produce red blood cells, metabolize amino acids, and make DNA, RNA, and other genetic materials. 
So, how much folate do you need each day? The answer is a little complicated, as the two forms of vitamin B9—folate and folic acid—are not absorbed by the body in the same way. Broadly speaking, you’ll need more folate than folic acid to reach the appropriate daily intake of 400mcg of dietary folate equivalents (DFEs) per day. 
Many people consume less than the daily recommended amount of folate.  To ensure you have your fill, you can either take it in a multivitamin or eat more foods like: 
Since folate is an important vitamin in fetal nervous system development, it is recommended for pregnant and lactating individuals.
The final B vitamin to take every day is B12. Vitamin B12—also known as cobalamin—fulfills numerous roles with the body, including: 
Ensuring you consume enough B12 is crucial for your overall health. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition that causes weakness and fatigue. 
To continue feeling your best, it’s worth taking the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12. So, how much vitamin B12 should you take? For those 14 and up, the Office of Dietary Supplements lists a recommended dietary allowance of 2.4 mcg per day. 
Where can you find all that B12? Aside from taking vitamin B12 supplements, you can up your consumption by eating B12-rich foods, such as: 
Sometimes referred to as L-ascorbic acid, a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin C is worth consuming every day as it: 
Depending on your age and sex, your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C varies. Here is a rundown to help you determine how much of the vitamin you need: 
It’s also worth noting that you may need extra vitamin C if you are pregnant, lactating, or are a regular smoker. 
As with most vitamins, humans cannot synthesize vitamin C. As such, we must ingest this vital nutrient through multivitamins and our diet. Fruits and vegetables are the primary source of vitamin C for most people. Good sources of vitamin C include: 
Because of the many ways vitamin D factors into your body’s biological processes and structures, it’s one of the most important vitamins to incorporate into your daily diet. Vitamin D, another fat-soluble vitamin, plays a part in maintaining your bones, muscles, nerves, and immune system. 
The vitamin D in foods and supplements comes in two forms: 
The recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamin D don’t change much throughout our lives. From 14 to 70, everyone needs 15 mcg of vitamin D each day. After 70, that figure increases to 20 mcg/day. 
While we mostly receive our necessary vitamins from food and supplements, vitamin D is a notable exception. Your body can also synthesize it through exposure to sunlight.  Otherwise, you’ll find it in foods like:
As you’ll likely notice, most of these foods are animal products. Since plant-based sources are limited, vegans and vegetarians, in particular, can benefit from a vitamin D supplement—especially those who live further north and don’t receive adequate sunlight.
Vitamin E (a stand-in term for eight chemical forms) acts as an antioxidant, bolsters the immune system, and helps ward off blood clots by widening your blood vessels.  It’s also involved in cell signaling and various metabolic processes. 
Because vitamin E fulfills so many functions in your body, it’s essential to have enough of it every day. After you’re over 14 years old, the recommended dosage is 15 mg/day. 
Many foods are fortified with vitamin E. Other common sources of the essential nutrient (besides multivitamins) include: 
Iron may not be a vitamin, but it’s still an essential nutrient—and one you should consume every day. Iron plays a leading role in cardiovascular health, producing the hemoglobin and myoglobin that brings oxygen throughout your body.  It’s also involved in neurological development, growth, and the production of various hormones. 
Your iron needs change throughout your life, but its importance to your overall health remains the same. The breakdown for iron requirements among males and females is as follows: 
Additionally, if you’re pregnant, your iron requirements nearly double to 27 mg/day. 
Iron is another nutrient that comes largely from animal sources. As such, vegans and vegetarians may find it beneficial to take iron mineral supplements or daily multivitamins. To increase your iron intake through diet alone, you can consume more:
Although zinc is a mineral and not a vitamin, it’s still found in many multivitamins. For that reason—along with its superb health benefits—we’re including it on this list.
Zinc is associated with maintaining a robust immune response, synthesizing proteins and DNA, and healing wounds.  From pre-birth to your teenage years, zinc is especially vital for healthy development. It even helps with your senses of taste and smell. 
The amount of zinc you need also depends on your age and sex. From 14–18, the RDA is 11 mg for males and 9 mg for females. From 19 onwards, males require 11 mg, while females need 8 mg. 
Zinc is a common ingredient in multivitamins, but you can also find it in foods like:
From vitamin A to zinc, that’s a whole lot of nutrients—and as we mentioned earlier, the exact requirements will differ for everyone. At this point, you may be asking yourself, what vitamins should I take daily?
Ultimately, there are several ways to pinpoint exactly which vitamins and minerals you need to consume every day:
Once you know which vitamins you need to take each day, it’s time to work them into your routine.
If you struggle to remember when to take your vitamins or when to refill, consider a subscription from Everlywell. Not only will you receive the nutrients you need every month, but you’ll also benefit from discounted rates.
With dietary supplements for vitamin D3, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12—as well as a daily multivitamin—Everlywell can support your quest for healthful living.
Do multivitamins help build the immune system?
Are multivitamins good for you?