Most people today depend on vitamins to give their body all the necessary elements to keep the body working at its optimum. The dependency on vitamins is mainly due to the fact that there is often no time for a person to stop and have a well balanced meal and a lot of food choices today definitely do not make up the complete vitamin body needs. Many symptoms and ailments can be healed and/or helped just by getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals in your body.
The Role Of Vitamins For Body Nutrition
Vitamins are essential nutrients, which are part of a necessary process that helps to release energy from foods within its makeup and from those consumed to keep the skin, nerves and red blood cells in constant rejuvenating mode.
The two types of vitamin groups would be categorized as fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. The fat soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K and they are all usually found in the fat content in foods. Sources of these may also be found in food items such as vegetable oils, nut, egg yolk, fish oil, whole grains and deep green leafy vegetables.
As for the water soluble vitamins these come in the form of vitamin B, C, and B complex. Containing elements such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin and Pantothenic acid which are all what the body needs to carry out specific functions to ensure optimum working if all the body systems.
All these vital ingredients that the body needs and cannot get from the daily diet can be gotten by taking the appropriate combinations and amounts of multivitamins and mineral supplements. However caution should be exercised when taking these vitamins and minerals as some of them don’t work well together and for some body systems it may end up being stored and may eventually cause toxic conditions. This is especially so if other medications are being consumed at the same time.
The Risk Of Vitamin Deficiencies
Vitamin consumption has not yet reached the ideal where anyone and everyone is able to get the body’s daily needs on a regular basis. Some of the reasons include the high cost of supplements and minerals, the inappropriate diet plans, the lack of nutritional food intake, the lack of availability of fresh food produce such as fresh vegetables and fruits and of course the ever prevalent consumption choice of unhealthy food items.
Vitamin deficiencies can contribute to a host of diseases and also the lack of total optimum body functions. These may be clearly shown in the person’s inability to function daily with mental alertness and physical execution of functions accurately and precisely, and the presence of frequent tired spells.
The high risk groups that would more likely suffer from vitamin deficiencies would be the elderly, adolescents, young or pregnant and lactating women, alcoholics, cigarette smokers, vegetarians, people fasting or on dietary interventions, laxative abusers, users of contraceptives and analgesics and other medication for chronic diseases and people with specific disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
Besides this people who live hectic lifestyles or those who have very little physical activity in their daily schedules will also be another group that would most likely suffer from vitamin deficiencies.
Some of the more pronounced deficiencies such as lack of vitamin A is known as the leading cause of preventable blindness, diseases and severe infections occurring in children. Lack of vitamin D in the diet could lead to brittle bones as this vitamin is essential for strong bone formation and growth. The vitamin E supplement will play a role in supporting brain growth, cardiovascular and respiratory system functions. Lack of vitamin B is also detrimental to the overall health condition of the body system as it is the main element in the manufacturing of the red blood cells that keeps the nervous system working efficiently.
Types Of Vitamins
Getting all the body’s nutrient requirements can be done so through the consumption of vitamins on a daily or regulated basis. There are two basic categories of vitamins which are water-soluble and fat- soluble.
The water soluble vitamins would be vitamins B and C, while the fat soluble one would be Vitamins A, D, E, and K. the water soluble vitamins would be flushed out of the body system on a regular basis, thus the need to consume daily doses of this type group.
The fat soluble vitamins are usually stored in the body’s fatty tissues, thus the need to use these to prevent unnecessary retention that would and could cause negative medical complications.
The following is a list of some of the more prominently featured vitamins that are commonly recommended and consumed:
Vitamin A – this play a role in improving eyesight and maintaining healthy skin conditions. Vitamin A is essential for your health, supporting cell growth, immune function, fetal development and vision. It can be sourced form eggs, milk, apricots, spinach and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B – this particular vitamin has other breakdown sections which include B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin and Pantothenic acid.
These generate energy that the body needs for daily functions and it also actively participates in making red blood cell that carries the oxygen throughout the body system. These vitamins help a variety of enzymes do their jobs, ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body.
There are 8 B vitamins. Some you may be more familiar with like folic acid (folate).
The B vitamins are: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate [folic acid], and B12 (cobalamin).
These can be sourced from fish, seafood, leafy greens, yogurt, beans and peas.
Be careful when relying on blood test that show vitamin levels. Even if you show normal levels it doesn’t necessarily mean you are absorbing them. Furthermore, when it comes to B12, you need the right kind of B12, which is B12 that has both methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Only a few companies offer B12 with both of these combinations. Because the body depends on B12 for literally tons of daily functions, it can be a serious issue if you develop a B12 deficiency.
B12 effects your metabolic functions, nervous system, energy, red blood cell productions, heart and liver health, and more.
Vitamin C helps strengthen help heal wounds, infections, and keep your immune system strong. Some healthy sources of vitamin C include broccoli, oranges, tomatoes, kale, and melons. Increasing your vitamin C is very helpful in helping you fight and recover from illness.
Vitamin D can be found in fish, mushrooms, eggs have a good amount of vitamin D. Cod liver oil is one of the top sources of vitamin D and is also a rich source of vitamin A and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin D strengthens the bones and helps absorb. When choosing a vitamin D supplement it’s best to choose one that has D3 and K2 in it.
Vitamin E takes care of the lung functions and also helps in the formation of red blood cells. It can be found in nuts, leafy greens, avocados, and squash.
Source Of Vitamins From Food
Although natural foods are rich in a variety of vitamins, it should be noted that a lot of these vitamins are lost due to storage, cooking and handling.
Therefore it is important to take careful care of the natural food items so that the integrity of the item is kept intact. Some vitamins should not be taken with other medications and some combinations of vitamins are also not suitable.
For the best results a medical professional should be consulted so that a suitable combination can be designed to suit the individual’s needs and lacks.
The following is a general outline of the various food sources of the more common vitamins:
Vitamin A – beef liver, fatty fish, milk, egg yolks and cheese.
Vitamin C – oranges, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, broccoli, collard greens.
Vitamin D – canned sardines, mackerel, herring, shrimp, fortifies milk.
Beta carotene – peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, acorn squash.
Vitamin E – wheat germ oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, spinach, wheat germ, better, eggs and oats.
Vitamin K – turnip green, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and beef liver.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – wheat germ, ham, beef liver, peanuts, green peas, pork, and brown rice.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – beef liver, milk, yoghurt, avocados, collard greens and yeast.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) – chicken, salmon, beef, peanut butter, potatoes, sunflower seeds and prunes.
Vitamin B% (Pantothenic acid) – beef liver, eggs, avocados, mushrooms, milk, nuts and green vegetables.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – bananas, avocados, beef, chicken, fish, seeds and cabbage.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) – beef liver, clams, tuna, yoghurt, milk, cheese and eggs.
Folic acid (vitamin BC) – beef liver, spinach, orange juice, romaine lettuce, beets, carrots, egg yolk, avocados and apricots.
Biotin – beef liver, almonds, peanut butter, eggs, oat bran, unpolished rice, meat and dairy products.
As a general rule dairy that is cow’s milk isn’t necessarily the best form of vitamin D and calcium. Raw milk and other types of non cow milk are fine. Dairy can cause mucus in the body. In addition eggs may not be a good vitamin source depending on your situation. In some cases it can feed viruses in your body.
Choosing The Right Vitamins
Even the most comprehensive diet plan often falls short of meeting all the daily needs of nutrition intake for anyone from children to adults. Some of the reasons for these imbalances are such as improper diets plans, too much fast and convenient food consumption, not enough fruits and vegetables being featured prominently in the daily diet.
Here is where the nutritional support of the vitamins can come in handy. However it would be a folly to simply assume and all vitamins are suitable for everyone alike.
Some considerations should be made such as lifestyles, availability of natural food products, individual health concerns and may other factor that play a dominant role in deciding the suitable vitamin choice to be consumed.
Almost all medical experts still believe the best source of vitamins is still from natural foods but due to a variety of reasons it is not always possible to get the daily requirement through this one source, thus the need to create a balance with the addition of vitamins into the daily nutrition regiment.
Most experts advocate the consumption of a daily dose of multivitamins, which is usually enough to adequately address any lack, if the individual is already on a fairly healthy diet plan.
However if the individual is already on other medication for treating other medical conditions this may not be a suitable option to consider. Some vitamins do not react well to certain medications and this should be carefully considered to avoid any adverse effects to the body system while taking both without a doctor’s consultation.
Lactating women and pregnant women require a whole range of other vitamins to help balance any lack due to the conditions they are in. Similarly those who are in the older age group, may also required higher doses of vitamins or a different variety when compared to the younger group, as older people tend to eat less and their daily diets usually do not contain all the necessary vitamins that the body needs.
Vitamins For Infants
It has long been an established fact, that most infants who feed on breast milk really do have a complete and wholesome nutritional balanced diet and the parents do not have to worry about any lack.
However in recent years, research has shown that a lot of pregnant and lactating women do not follow a complete and healthy diet plan for themselves and this in turn affects the infant overall health.
In some cases there may be need to supplement an infant diet plan with specifically identified vitamins. Under no circumstances should an infant be fed with over the counter vitamins without the approval of an experienced medical practitioner.
Premature babies and babies who are born with medical problems may need the assistance of vitamin supplements to help in their fight to stay healthy and grow accordingly. This is also applicable to mother who have had previous medical problems thus may not be able to provide all the complete and necessary vitamins to the fetus when carrying the child to term.
Some mothers who follow a vegetarian diet while pregnant may also need to consider some sort of vitamin supplement for the infant at some point after the initial first 6 months of the infant’s life.
Some popular recommendations that doctors may suggest for infants would include an iron supplement, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and DHA which is an important omega 3 supplements.
However none of these should be incorporated into the infants diet without the specific recommendation of a doctor and even then it should be done only after a thorough medical examination has been conducted..
Vitamins For Adult
Most adults today are not able to get the complete nutritional needs from their daily diet plan due to a variety of reasons. Even if the most healthy choices of foods are prepared and consumed daily, it does not necessarily mean that the optimum nutritional intake if achieved.
This may be due to the fact that some farming and preserving methods and even cooking or preparation methods contribute to the negative effects on the integrity of the natural food product itself, therefore by the time it is ready for consumption some of most of the original content value has been lost.
Lifestyles also affect the nutritional body’s needs, thus only after taking into account all these various factors should the ideal supplement choice be made.
Ideally the daily diet should contain all the food groups such as fruits groups, vegetable groups, nut and grain sources, meat and protein sources and legume groups. However for some reason or another, it is almost always impossible to create a balanced diet with all these groups included daily.
Deciding to take doses of vitamins as a substitute for proper food intake is also not something to consider as this is definitely not adequate for the body’s daily needs.
Vitamins For Seniors
For the senior person creating and sticking to an ideal diet plan for that age group can be quite a challenge. This is because there are many connective factors that dictate the well being of those in this age group.
These contributing factors may include the use of medication for certain ailments, the lack of energy or interest to prepare nutritional meals especially if it for only one person’s consumption, no access to shopping for fresh produce and financial constraints.
None the less serious consideration should be given to ensuring the senior age group make an attempt to keep to a diet plan that is both balanced and nutritious. This can be done with the assistance of vitamins to supplement any lack found in the diet plan or in the person’s medical makeup.
The following are some of the vitamins that ideally should be considered for the consumption of this particular age group:
Vitamin D – this vitamin will help the body absorb the calcium since this age group is more prone to contracting osteoporosis. This vitamin also helps in the fight against most heart diseases which again is something this age group is susceptible to.
All the various vitamin Bs – the senior group often has trouble with creating its own stomach acid which is essential in being able to assist in converting certain foods into elements that the body can use.
Besides assisting in this area, it also helps with keeping the brain in prime condition so that memory loss and other brain debilitating diseases are kept at bay.
Vitamin K – this is especially useful to combat any onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps the blood to clot more efficiently as most aged people will attest to having significant problems when it comes to controlling bleeding. In some cases this vitamin has also been noted to be able to help in improving osteoporosis conditions.
Avoid Vitamins Overdose
There are a lot of reasons people tend to overdose on vitamins, and in some cases they are not even aware of this condition until it shows up in some medical test which is brought on by an illness. Overdosing could be due to a number of reasons and most are simply due to the individual being careless or ill informed.
Taking vitamin supplements without proper medical supervision is also not advised as some vitamins don’t react well to other medications that the individual may be taking for certain medical conditions.
Taking these vitamin supplements may cause the other medications to mutate or at the very least become non effective in treating the ailment is was prescribed to treat.
This of course could result in a very dangerous situation for the individual. Then there are also some vitamins that have been known to take away the effects of other vitamins when taken together. Following the dosage prescribed on the container is also very important for any deviation could result in an overdose especially when taking extra just to make up for the skipped sessions.
Another way to ensure the individual is not likely to overdose on the vitamins taken, is to have periodic blood tests done, as any negative elements will show up clearly in the reports drawn up from the rests.
Taking vitamin supplements simply because it is the thing to do is not enough a reason to start on this regiment. Also taking vitamins without considering the overall lifestyle of the individual is also not a good idea.
For some taking vitamin supplements is done so, in place of proper food intake, and this too is not wise. All these scenarios can and usually leads to either the body not being able to absorb the vitamin fast enough thus retaining them to possible negative medical complications, or having them wasted, as it simply flushes out of the body system unused..
I hope that now you are on your way to a better understanding about vitamins. If you’re not sure of your vitamin levels speak with your doctor about testing.
Common Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Some symptoms include: muscle cramping, numbness, tingling in the fingers and/or toes, muscle spasms, fatigue, bone, issues.
Getting tested early on for calcium deficiency if key if you suspect you may be lacking in calcium. You don’t want to wait until you develop osteoporosis or break a bone.
Since our bodies don’t product calcium you have to get it from somewhere! If you can’t get enough calcium through your diet then taking a supplement may be in order.
Some symptoms include: fatigue, brittle nails, dizziness, sore or swollen tongue, lethargy, weakness, shortness of breath during exercise or exertion.
An iron deficiency is commonly known as anemia.
Increase iron levels with pumpkins sees, dark, green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, cashews, and red meat.
Some symptoms include: feeling cold often, thinning hair, weight gain, neck swelling, heart rate changes.
Increase iodine levels with seaweed, dried prunes, cod, shrimp, lima beans, strawberries.
Some people may react negatively to iodine. However, it’s important to figure out if this is just a detox reaction or even a reaction to the change in your thyroid function. Sometimes it takes the body a minute to adjust to changes, especially when you are implementing healthy changes and giving the body what it needs.
Iodine is important in making hormones. It’s used in your body to control growth, repair damaged cells, and support a healthy metabolism.
Some symptoms include: fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, muscle cramping, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Increase magnesium levels with legumes, green leafy vegetables, spinach, black beans, and dark chocolate.
Because magnesium helps with blood pressure, blood glucose levels, muscle functions, energy, and brain and nerve functions, this makes this mineral super important.
Some symptoms include skin issues, loss of appetite, taste, or smell, an impaired immune system, and weight loss.
Increase zinc levels with oysters, lean meat, poultry, pumpkin, sesame, and hemps seeds, and beans.
Zine helps fight infections and produce new cells, helps in healing injuries, and more.
Some symptoms include gray hair, tongue swelling or soreness, premature gray hair, irritability, weakness, and shortness of breath.
Increase folate levels with broccoli, spinach, chick peas, and orange juice.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency:
Some symptoms include muscle weakness, fatigue, swollen tongue, anemia, brain fog, and tingling. and numbness.
Increase B-12 levels with beef, clams, nutritional yeast, shrimp, fortified breakfast cereal.
Vitamin D deficiency:
Some symptoms include depression, muscle pain, slow healing wounds.
Increase vitamin D levels with eggs, liver, eggs, milk, orange juice, sardines, good old-fashion sunlight.
Vitamin A deficiency:
Some symptoms include night blindness or impaired vision, infertility, dry eyes and skin.
Increase Vitamin A levels with sweet potatoes, papayas, oranges, carrots, squash, red peppers, romaine lettuce, salmon, and liver.
These vitamin and mineral deficiencies are some of the most likely ones you’ll be susceptible to. Always consult a doctor or health care professional before incorporating supplements into your diet. Some symptoms can stem from more than one deficiency so it’s best to get an accurate picture of what’s going on in your body. You may consider keeping a food or vitamin journal to monitor what you’re taking, how you feel, and any symptoms you encounter.
Addressing vitamins and mineral deficiencies will take some time so don’t expect to feel better or see results overnight once you start taking them. Give your body time to adjust and correct issues.
There are many ways to evaluate nutrient status, but it is a good start to look at what’s in the blood through nutrient biomarkers.
Maybe you’re thinking of taking a vitamin B12 supplement-you can look at your bloodwork to see if you really are in need of this.
Maybe you’re thinking of taking vitamin D, or maybe you do take vitamin D-this in particular is important to look whether you are taking a supplement or not. If you’re vitamin D levels are too low or too high, this can cause problems. Check every 6-12 months when taking a supplements to make sure it’s the right dose.
There are many nutrients that can be tested. Before buying that next supplement, unless you’re pretty sure of your deficiency, make sure you actually need it. And if you correct your nutrient imbalances, and you’re still having bothersome symptoms, seek the care and evaluation of a good integrative/functional medicine provider.
Remember you’re not alone in your health journey. Check out the recommended supplements to assists you with getting the right vitamins and minerals.