One thing unites us no matter where we live or how much money we make, and that's a desire to be both happy and healthy.
What's cool about that is, no matter your age, background, or the region where we reside, we all need many of the same vitamins. And how exciting is it knowing you can do your part to make sure others — and you — get what we need to reach optimum health?
Click on any of the photos above to learn about the unique vitamin needs of boys, girls, women, and men all over the world. Though they may differ, we can each learn how we can work toward our individual and common goal of living happy and healthy lives.
Meet Carmen, an adorable 1-year-old who lives with her mother and two older siblings in Peru.
Like many other Peruvian children, potatoes are a staple in Carmen's diet, as are cheese and eggs. With such limited foods making up the bulk of her diet, however, she needed help meeting all her nutritional needs.
While potatoes contain vitamin C, she does not have access to guava, limes, tomatoes, and other fruits grown in her region that would ensure she's receiving enough of this crucial vitamin.
Six months ago, Carmen started receiving multivitamins from Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that distributes vitamins and minerals to children and mothers in need. This helped make up for the deficits in her diet.
The vitamin C in these multivitamins help keep Carmen's skin healthy.
People tend to spend lots of time outdoors in Peru, a sunny place, with a large agricultural economy. Because of this, Peruvians like Carmen are prone to skin damage from the sun. Vitamin C, though not a substitute for sunscreen, is a fantastic antioxidant that helps protect DNA in the skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays, which could eventually lead to cancer.
Vitamin C is also necessary for maintaining collagen in the skin, which keeps it soft, flexible, and healthy. When wounds do occur, healthy skin is able to heal faster.
The National Institutes of Health recommends girls Carmen's age receive 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C every day, though that requirement will change rapidly as they get older. They'll need 75 mg as adults, and 120 mg when breastfeeding their own children. One potato has about 42 mg, so as they grow they'll either have to keep taking their vitamins, or eat more potatoes!
Fortunately, the multivitamins Carmen is receiving during her childhood will set her up for a healthy start.
And healthy skin isn't the only benefit Carmen gets from her vitamins. There are also several other surprising advantages.
Carmen's vitamins also give her immune system a boost, helping her be healthier overall, and spend less time visiting doctors and more time playing.
Vitamin C even helps keep her eyes healthy, by supporting the health of ocular blood vessels. This allows her to have the best view as she explores the world around her — something every young child should be able to do.
In the six short months since she began taking multivitamins from Vitamin Angels, Carmen has developed considerably, both growing taller and gaining weight. With a strong, healthy body, she now has the energy to run around and play.
By getting proper nutrition as a toddler, Carmen will build a strong body that will keep her healthy throughout her entire life.
Carmen is not the only person who needs vitamin C. Twenty-four-year-old Laura from New York also needs it. Click on Laura's photo, highlighted in green, to find out how the two of them are connected by their vitamin need, or explore the rest of the profiles below.
Want to help people around the world get access to vitamins? For every purchase of vitamins and minerals at Walgreens, they will make a donation to Vitamin Angels.
Statements about vitamin deficiencies, the benefits of vitamin C and recommended doses are not endorsed by or representative of opinions from Vitamin Angels.
Vitamin Angels Photos © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels