Vitamins and minerals you need for your body to function properly.
Generally you can get all your vitamins and minerals from your diet, but there are certain cases when you need to supplement:
- If you are vegetarian,
- Eat a diet that's limited because of food allergies and intolerances,
- Or if you have a disease or condition that doesn't allow you to digest or absorb nutrients properly.
Otherwise whole foods are a lot better sources than supplements as whole foods also contain a variety of nutrients your body needs - not just one. They also contain fibre that is important for digestion and they also contain phytochemicals that may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis or diabetes.
Fat soluble vitamins:
Vitamin A / beta carotene
Helps with healthy vision, bone and tissue growth and reproduction. Vitamin A and thyroid are closely related. A deficiency in either can precipitate a deficiency of the other and ideally should be balanced. In too large amounts, however, vitamin A can suppress the thyroid and depress levels of other fat soluble vitamins - especially vitamin D.
Foods: liver, egg yolks, milk
Vitamin D / calciferol
Often called the sunshine vitamin because your skin produces it after being exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun. It helps your body absorb calcium that is responsible for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones.
To get vitamin D you need either sunlight or supplementation.
Vitamin E / tocopherol
It is an antioxidant that protects red blood cells and may play a role in immune function, DNA repair and other metabolic functions. It is also called the 'anti-sterility' vitamin as it opposes estrogen.
Water soluble vitamins
Vitamin C / ascorbic acid
It's an antioxidant that maintains healthy tissue and helps the body absorb iron. Also plays a role in wound healing, reducing stress and making one less susceptible to food allergies.
Foods: orange juice, ripe fruits
Vitamin B3 / niacin
It is one of the 8 B complex vitamins that helps your body convert food to energy. It also helps with blood circulation and improved blood cholesterol levels.
Vitamin B6 / pyridoxine
It is needed to help your body use protein, form red blood cells and maintain brain function. It facilitates amino acid utilisation, aids in calcium metabolism, supports the liver and helps regulate the facilitation and use of glycogen.
Foods: liver, egg yolk, milk
Vitamin B9 / folate / folic acid
It is important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. Very important during pregnancy for the developing fetus.
It has an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism and nerve function.
About minerals in the next post.