And Why Adequate Vitamin Intake is So Vital for Your Health.
Vitamins perform a multitude of roles in maintaining your good health and muscle and bone development.
Vitamins are also essential nutrients that we can’t live without.
Yet there are so many that perform wonders without us even actually being aware of it, until we don’t get sufficient amounts and then the problems start to occur.
Essential Vitamins are characterized by the following 5 things:
1. Vitamins are found naturally in food with varying amounts dependent on quality and freshness
2. They can’t be made by the body except for vitamin D after sun exposure
3. Vitamins are organic in their structure and can be broken down by air, heat or acid, making it more difficult for your body to absorb them since cooking and storage affects their chemical structure – even exposure to air
4. They’re crucial for normal and healthy development and bodily functions
5. When essential vitamins become absent from your diet, it can cause all sorts of deficiencies and illnesses.
There are 13 essential vitamins which are divided into 2 categories:
1. B vitamins
2. Biotin – vitamin B7
3. Folic acid – folate, vitamin B9
4. Niacin – vitamin B3
5. Pantothenic acid – vitamin B5
6. Riboflavin – vitamin B2
7. Thiamin – vitamin B1
8. Vitamin B6
9. Vitamin B12
10. Vitamin C
These vitamins need to be replenished on a daily basis since they’re easily absorbed into the bloodstream as food is digested or supplements are dissolved.
Present in the watery sections of the food you eat, water-soluble vitamins are continuously regulated via your kidneys. Any excess is flushed out with urine.
5 roles these vitamins play in your health:
1. produce and release energy
2. boost your immune system
3. maintain tissue health
4. build proteins and cells
5. Produce collagen present in skin cells, blood vessel walls and gums that aids in the process of healing wounds.
4 Fat-soluble Vitamins
1. Vitamin A
2. Vitamin D
3. Vitamin E
4. Vitamin K
These vitamins are quite difficult to figure out because we’re more likely to be deficient in these types of vitamins; yet taking them for prolonged periods of time, especially supplements, can be toxic and very harmful to your health.
Also, they aren’t transported through the body as easily as water-soluble vitamins.
In fact, any excess is stored in the liver and fat tissues for up to 6 months.
First, they’re absorbed through the intestinal wall, then they enter the lymph vessels before making their way into the bloodstream.
Most fat-soluble vitamins need a protein carrier to facilitate their movement throughout the body.
6 things Fat -soluble vitamins are responsible for:
1. protect vision
2. build bones
3. protect the body against illnesses, diseases, and free radical damage
4. blood clotting
5. formation of healthy red blood cells
6. interact together favourably to enhance absorption.
Unfortunately, nutrient deficiencies are extremely common.
The main culprits for these deficiencies are poor diet choices, digestive problems or chronic stress.
“Nutrient deficiencies alter bodily functions and processes at the most basic cellular level,” says lecturer at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, DC, Tricia L. Psota, PhD, RDN. “These processes include water balance, enzyme function, nerve signaling, digestion, and metabolism.
Resolving these deficiencies is important for optimal growth, development, and function.” They can also lead to diseases and chronic illnesses.
A common example is the lack of vitamin D and calcium can cause osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle bones, especially as you start to age.
5 Groups of People who are most at risk for nutritional deficiencies:
1. the elderly
2. athletes who train intensively for long periods of time
3. those with low income
5. consumers of alcoholic beverages.
10 most common symptoms of vitamin deficiency:
1. hair loss
2. oral health problems
3. muscle cramps in the calves and arches of the feet
4. muscle weakness
6. shortness of breath
8. irregular heartbeats
9. mental fogginess.
10. recurring illnesses like colds and influenza.
Every one of the 13 vitamins has a certain role but each also works in unison with the other 12 to lead to the best possible physical condition.
This is why it’s so important to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, beans and lentils, lean meat and fish to make sure you’re getting all the essential nutrients your body needs to prevent deficiency, promote fat loss and enhance muscle gain.
Like most lists, the above collection is not a complete list so to make sure you have the whole story I have sourced another informative science based article from Nutrition Advance for you which provides a checklist of every essential vitamin and mineral, and explains what they do and the best foods to eat for each one. In other words, once you also read 27 Essential Vitamins & Minerals you will have a complete picture of your everyday vitamin requirements for a healthy body.
Personally, I don’t support the theory that people should be taking a regular dose of supplements or multivitamins unless your diet is lacking in any of the required essential nutrients or your doctor recommends you do so after the required tests have been completed.
You are better to remedy this by fixing your diet first.
If you feel you are lacking in some essential nutrients then I recommend you talk to your family doctor so he or she can assess where you are deficient – this can be done with a simple blood test.
From what I have seen, most people who self-medicate with supplements are wasting their money and are just increasing the risk for toxic reactions so play safe, see your doctor and only have what your body needs.
Also note, there are also a lot of common misconceptions about vitamins.
Plenty of quality food with a good splash of Dr Sea and Dr Sun plus some regular strength training and you are well on the road to a healthy body full of vim, vigour and vitality.
That’s my recipe for a long and independent lifestyle.
Cheers – John – Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Please help a friend – like and share.