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.
John, a 26-year-old Harvard law student currently based in New York City, cares about staying healthy. He and his girlfriend share many hobbies, and their far-and-beyond favorite is rock climbing.
"Nothing's as exciting as making it up a cliff face with my girlfriend. There's something special about being up there together. It brings us so much closer," John tells A Plus.
But between having class, working and trying to stay active, he doesn't always have time to eat the most nutritious meals or cook for himself.
"I need a pretty high-energy level every day, because I'm responsible for producing a lot of different types of work, and it can be taxing to juggle those," John says. To help him balance his activities and a healthy diet, John can take supplements with vitamins.
Vitamin D is a hormone that stimulates the way your body develops.
Dr. Marco Vespignani, a naturopathic doctor who specializes in multiple sclerosis (MS) and autoimmune diseases, says you can't underestimate the importance of vitamin D in your body.
"It helps the body differentiate, figure out who it is," Vespignani tells A Plus. "Vitamin D reduces risks of cancer, and there is evidence that shows as vitamin D levels go down, risk of death goes up."
There is also substantial evidence that vitamin D increases bone strength, which is important for guys as active as John.
"Energy and strong bones are crucial for rock climbing," John says. "It requires a lot of endurance. If you climb up something and get completely exhausted before you can climb back down, it can cause some serious problems."
Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency range from the mild to the severe.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D for a man John's age is 15 micrograms (mcg), according to National Institutes of Health. For someone like John with fair skin, that equates to just a few minutes in the sun without sunscreen.
"I know I need to try to eat healthier," he says. "Maybe I'll start by making dinner for myself and my girlfriend more often, and I'll try to get more fit for our next climbing trip, too."
John isn't the only person who needs vitamin D, however. Forty-year-old Craig from New York and 14-month-old Rosalinda from Guatemala, also need it. Click on Craig and Rosalinda's photos, highlighted in red, to find out how they 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 D and recommended doses are not endorsed by or representative of opinions from Vitamin Angels.
Vitamin Angels Photos © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels