The ABCD of Vitamin Supplements
In an ideal world, we would always eat a balanced diet, sleep on time, exercise regularly and take no stress!
But unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Our hectic lives and busy lifestyles do not provide the liberty to stay on top of our health. While erratic sleeping patterns and exercise can be taken care of by a strong will, there is one way to ensure you get all the essential vitamins and minerals daily!
While it is not a replacement for natural sources, you can count on vitamin supplements to take care of your daily vitamin needs. But why are vitamins necessary? Why do I need them every day? How can I naturally include them in my diet?
Find answers to all these questions below:
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that are found in small quantities in natural foods that we eat. They are needed for the proper maintenance of the growth of our bodies. They play essential roles in the body, such as digestion, vision, nerve function, bone health and so on. Our bodies essentially need 13 vitamins to function.
Vitamins can be divided into two categories:
- Water-soluble vitamins
As the name suggests, these vitamins dissolve in water and hence cannot be stored by the body. As these vitamins don’t stay in the body, it is essential to continuously supply your body with these vitamins through our diets. Water-soluble vitamins include eight B vitamins and vitamin C.
- Fat-soluble vitamins
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins can be stored in the liver and fatty tissue of the body. Because surplus amounts of fat-soluble vitamins go to the liver for storage, potential health risks are associated with having too much of them in the body. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.
Now, let’s have a detailed look at the functionality of each vitamin:
Chemically known as retinol or retinal, this fat-soluble vitamin is great for maintaining eye health and supports the immune system. It is also effective in ensuring healthy skin and bones. It is also an important antioxidant. Your body may experience certain eye diseases and infections if this vitamin is deficient. Many vitamin supplements for men have Vit A as a core ingredient.
Natural sources: carrots, sweet potato, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, eggs and milk.
Chemically known as thiamine, it comes under water-soluble vitamins. The main function of vitamin B1 is to produce various enzymes that break down sugar. It is also important for proper nerve function. Its deficiency can cause beriberi.
Natural sources: Rice, cauliflower, oranges, nuts and seeds.
Chemically known as riboflavin, this water-soluble vitamin is essential for the proper growth of body cells. It is also instrumental in metabolizing food. Its deficiency can hamper body growth and if your body is deficient in this vitamin then watch out for any symptoms in the mouth & lips.
Natural sources: Eggs, bananas, cheese, fish and beans.
Chemically known as niacin, this vitamin also aids in the growth of cells. It is also important for skin health, the nervous system and the digestive system. If the body lacks vitamin B3, we may experience intestinal issues, skin changes, and diarrhoea.
Natural sources: Chicken, tofu, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and eggs.
Chemically known as pantothenic acid, this water-soluble vitamin is essential for producing hormones. It is quite an active ingredient in vitamin supplements for women.
Natural sources: Meat, grains, avocados and yoghurt.
They are chemically known as pyridoxine. This vitamin is essential for forming red blood cells in the body. Therefore, having a deficiency of vitamin B6 would lead to diseases like peripheral neuropathy or anaemia.
Natural sources: Chickpeas, bananas, and nuts
It also goes around by the name of biotin. This vitamin is needed to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It also helps in contributing to hair health ( we are sure that you would have come across biotin-infused shampoos, conditioners and hair oils). Having B7 vitamin deficiency may cause the intestine to inflate and cause dermatitis.
Natural sources: Spinach, eggs and cheese.
Also known as folic acid, this plays a vital role in DNA and RNA. Pregnant women must ensure a constant intake of this vitamin to ensure their baby’s health. Folic acid vitamin supplements for women is also very common.
Natural sources: Leafy vegetables, peas, sunflower seeds, and fruits.
Methylcobalamin, this vit helps maintain a healthy nervous system. Its deficiency can lead to neurological problems.
Natural sources: Fish, eggs, milk, and meat are rich in vitamin B12.
One of the key vitamins in improving a person’s health, this plays an active role in maintaining and healing the body. Chemically known as ascorbic acid, it supports blood vessels, improves the immune system and aids in iron absorption. It is also a great source of antioxidants.
Natural sources: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, berries and many vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli and kiwifruit.
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, this fat-soluble plays a vital role in helping the mineralization of the bone. In addition, it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, bringing both to our bones and teeth, and regulating how much calcium remains in our blood.
Vitamin D also plays a role in muscle function and allows the brain and body to communicate through our nervous system. This vitamin has also been linked to improving symptoms of depression.
Natural sources: Sunlight, milk and other fortified dairy products, cod and oily fish (herring, sardines, salmon), and mushrooms.
This fat-soluble vitamin's primary function is to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation.
Natural sources: Almonds, eggs, Kiwis.
This vitamin is necessary for blood clots, preventing excessive bleeding.
Natural sources: Green leafy vegetables, pumpkins and figs.
We do agree that ensuring that you provide your body with all the 13 vitamins can be quite a task, but once you start taking any best vitamin supplement, we are sure that your body will feel much better! We also advise not to go overboard with the intake and only invest in vitamin supplements that your body needs. You can also consult your doctors before taking any supplements.