We all know that they are extremely important to us, but how exactly do we use them to improve health, appearance and performance?
In this article we will look at the:
- Different types of vitamins;
- Their role;
- Nutritional sources (foods rich in vitamins);
- Recommended daily intake.
Vitamins are organic substances necessary for normal vital activity and good health
They affect a variety of physiological processes:
- Liver function;
- Immune system;
- Blood cell formation and many more;
They are necessary for the proper absorption of essential nutrients and the chemical activity of the enzymes.
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Most vitamins need to be supplied periodically with food or supplements, as our body cannot produce the required amount on its own. Very often, when following a diet or diet, valuable nutrients are restricted, which in turn can lead to a deficiency of important vitamins.
For this reason, it is important to pay extra attention to the variety of foods that are consumed.
Types of vitamins
Vitamins are divided into two groups:
- Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K);
- Water-soluble vitamins (all vitamins in group B and vitamin C);
For optimal health it has been proven that a good balance is needed in the intake of both types.
Fat-soluble are vitamins that bind to fat in the stomach and are then stored in the body for later use. You are less likely to experience this type of deficiency, but they are likely to accumulate in the body to toxic levels, usually due to excessive consumption.
The other vitamins in the list are water soluble, which means they can be absorbed directly by the body (not accumulated).
If you take them in too much, the body will throw away some of them.
Water soluble vitamins should be taken more often as the body tolerates higher doses.
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Vitamin A is known to be useful for vision, but has other important uses. Promotes the production and activity of red and white blood cells. Strengthens the immune system. Improves blood vessel health. Helps build bones. Promotes growth and division of the cells. Increases the body’s resistance to infection.
Vitamin A Rich Foods: Eggs, Carrots, Dairy Products, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Melon, Mango, Pineapple.
Recommended daily intake: Men – 3000 IU (900 µg). Women – 2300 IU (700 µg).
Vitamin D – the “solar vitamin”
Vitamid D affects about 2000 genes in the human body.
Along with some hormones, it helps in proper exchange of phosphorus and calcium in the bones. Contributes significantly to the development of the bone system. Insufficient vitamin levels, especially in childhood, can lead to various health problems.
Vitamin D-rich foods: Salmon, mackerel, mushrooms (especially when exposed to ultraviolet light).
Recommended daily intake: 600 IU (15 µg)
Safe upper limit: 2000 IU (50 µg)
Vitamin E is an important fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals and prevents the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol.
It also plays a role in the production of red blood cells. Helps the body to make full use of Vitamin K, the last of which is important for heart health.
Foods rich in Vitamin E: Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, etc.), vegetable oils (like olive oil), almonds, avocados, hazelnuts.
Recommended daily intake: 22 IU / 15 mg (natural sources), 33/15 mg IU (synthetically produced).
Safe upper limit: 2,200 IU / 1000 mg (synthetically produced).
This essential fat-soluble vitamin is very necessary for normal wound healing and bone development.
It is key to blood clotting and regulates calcium levels in the body.
Vitamin K Rich Foods: Broccoli, Parsley, Nettle, Basil, Spinach.
Recommended daily intake: Men – 120 µg. Women – 90 µg.
Safe upper limit: Not established
Group B vitamins
Group B vitamins help convert nutrients throughout the day.
They prevent memory loss, headache. Also important for skin and hair health.
The intake of B vitamins or the so-called B-complex:
- Is linked to better mood;
- Improves the functioning of the nervous system and muscles;
- Improves the peristalsis of the intestine;
Vitamins B6 and B12 are among the key members of the group when it comes to muscle growth and their recovery after exercise.
Vitamin B-rich foods: Salmon, potatoes, bananas, lentils, eggs.
Recommended daily intake:
- B1: Men – 1.2 mg, Women – 1.1 mg (no safe upper limit).
- B2: M – 1.3 mg, G – 1.1 mg (no safe upper limit is established).
- B3: M – 16 mg, F – 14 mg (safe upper limit – 35 mg).
- B5: M – 6 mg, G – 5 mg (no safe upper limit is established).
- B6: M – 1.7 mg, F – 1.5 mg (safe upper limit – 100 mg).
- B7: 30 mg (no safe upper limit is established).
- B9: 400 mcg (safe upper limit – 1000 mcg).
- B12: 2.4 mcg (safe upper limit – 1000 mcg).
Probably the most famous vitamin for its role in the fight against colds and flu.
It is important for maintaining the connective tissue, cartilage and tendons in the body.
It is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C also helps in the formation of collagen.
Vitamin C-rich foods: Citrus fruits, orange juice, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers and broccoli.
Recommended daily intake: Men – 90 mg. Women – 75 mg.
Safe upper limit: 2000 mg.
8 Proven health benefits from taking vitamins
Benefit 1: Regular intake of vitamins strengthens the immune system
The optimal intake of vitamins, minerals and trace elements is a prerequisite for good body condition and high performance.
One of the most important roles that these essential nutrients play in our body is to maintain a healthy and strong immune system. At recommended daily doses, they stimulate the production of antibodies and participate in the fight against free radicals.
With insufficient intake of some important antioxidant vitamins (such as A, C and E) our immune system may be weakened and susceptible to various viruses.
Benefit 2: More efficient metabolism
Our metabolism determines how efficiently we can use the food consumed and subsequently convert it into usable energy.
Group B vitamins are actively involved in the body’s metabolic processes. They help the cells produce more energy and, if necessary, recover them.
Benefit 3: Stronger muscles and joints
Physical activity is directly related to our health.
For sports to be a real pleasure, our bones, muscles and joints must work smoothly and without problems.
In addition, physical activity requires a particular diet to provide the body with the necessary nutrients. Magnesium, calcium and vitamin C are essential for the condition of the entire muscle and skeletal system.
In addition to improving our immune system, vitamins A and C are needed to ensure that important cellular material does not leak due to weakened membranes.
Vitamin C assists in the synthesis of collagen, which is an extremely important structural protein required to maintain cellular matter inside the cells where it belongs.
Benefit 4: They play an important role in the production of red blood cells
In tissues, red blood cells release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, which they transfer to the lungs.
There, the blood is enriched with oxygen, returned to the heart and the cycle repeated.
For the production of red blood cells, besides the well-known mineral, iron, it also requires the intake of vitamins B and B12.
Benefit 5: Nourish hair, skin and nails
Regular intake of vitamins contributes to healthier hair, skin and nails.
Everyone wants to have shiny hair, smooth skin and healthy nails. For this purpose, additional intake of some B vitamins and vitamin E. is required. The latter is important for skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle. It also helps fight free radicals and helps maintain vitamins A and K, iron and selenium.
Benefit 6: Stronger bones and tissues
Globally, as well as in our country, the number of people suffering from joint and spinal pain, morning stiffness and reduced mobility is steadily increasing.
A sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity and being overweight all help to exacerbate these problems.
A number of nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, omega 3, vitamin E and others, contribute to these unpleasant conditions by actively participating in the formation, formation and maintenance of healthy bones and tissues.
Benefit 7: Participate in the production of hormones
A number of studies have found a correlation between vitamin D levels in the blood and the amount of male hormone testosterone.
Men with low levels of Vitamin D show reduced levels of testosterone, and in women, the lack is associated with reduced levels of estrogen and menstrual disorders.
Vitamin D can be taken with food or supplements, but the best way to get healthy amounts is through regular sun exposure.
Benefit 8: They slow down aging
Taking a wide variety of vitamins on a daily basis will have a positive effect on our overall health and slow down biological processes that take place over time.
Another major function of vitamins in the body is to maintain optimal biological processes. Taking a wide range of vitamins on a daily basis will also have a positive effect in this regard.
Antioxidant vitamins, for example, help protect DNA from damage and normalize cell turnover in the process. The Vitamin B family optimizes the metabolic processes and eliminates waste from the body to help us look better and feel healthy.
Are Vitamins Good For Kids?
It is advisable for children to get all the vitamins and nutrients they need for healthy growth and development through well-balanced and healthy eating.
But in real life, this is not always possible and vitamin supplements can help your child regain the energy he or she constantly needs. This is also why pediatricians recommend the daily intake of multivitamins or mineral supplements.
The vitamin-rich menu for children requires a variety of fresh foods prepared in a healthy way and the limit on fast-food snacks and snacks. Lack of some of the essential vitamins can lead to defective development of the body and is a prerequisite for various diseases.
Insufficient vitamin D intake, for example, may be the cause of weak bones that are more prone to fractures.
The choice of vitamins for children should be tailored to their daily needs. They need to be palatable, preservative-free and colorant-free, and manufactured and distributed by companies that follow good medical practice.
Important information: Increased vitamin intake should be taken by your child in the fall when immunity is low and the risk of influenza and infectious diseases increases significantly.
How to keep vitamins longer in food?
Unfortunately, vitamins in our foods often become inactive before we can consume them.
This is because of the instability of the vitamin, especially in the oxidation (oxidation) and heat treatment processes. Example: Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E in their raw state, but lose about 80% of the vitamin when baked. Methods of storing food for a long time further aggravate the loss.
The main factors that influence the loss of vitamins are: light, heat and air. Here are some tips for maintaining water-soluble vitamins for a longer period of time:
- Store fruits and vegetables in the dark at 1-5 degrees.
- Avoid re-freezing and warming of products.
- When cooking, place the products in boiling water rather than cold or cool water, which reduces the heat treatment time.
- Avoid frequent stirring.
Frequently asked question about vitamins
Can i gain weight from vitamins?
Vitamins have no caloric value and are not a source of energy. Vitamins, however, help our body use or release the energy contained in food.
Some nutritional supplements containing vitamins may have sugar in the coating of the tablets, which can add 1-2 calories.
How Many Vitamins Are There?
Thirteen vitamins were identified: A, C, D, E, K and eight in group B.
Can our bodies produce vitamins on their own?
In a few cases, yes.
Vitamin K is produced in the required amount of the harmless bacterium (microflora) that lives in the gut of adults.
Vitamin D can also be synthesized in our body. However, none of them are produced in the quantities required for good health. For this reason, these vitamins should be obtained from food or supplements.
The optimal intake of all vitamins is necessary for good health and high performance. Each failure entails a number of health complications that can easily be avoided.
The variety of fresh foods, healthy foods and nutritional supplements combined with proper nutrition and moderate exercise reduce the risk to our health.
From the help they provide to the body in turning food into fuel, to the strengthening of bones and vision, vitamins are what make us healthier.
And do you manage to get the right amounts of vitamins and how? Share in the comments.
Read more articles from Stanimir in his personal blog – https://stanimirmihov.com