“When your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, it’s far easier to lose fat” – lifetimefatloss.com
That statement summarizes one of the important features of Vitamins and Minerals: there are very good for weight control. However, their main function is to make your body work properly. They provide a boost to the immune system and support normal growth and development. When choosing foods, you should check the accompanying labels and choose those that are high in vitamins and minerals. Supplementing vitamins is not as necessary as you may think; in fact, sometimes too much of these substances can have harmful effects on the body (although iron should be supplemented in women who are still menstruating).
Vitamins are organic compounds (i.e made by plants or animals) that aid in individual’s growth, reproduction and overall health. They work with enzymes to release energy from food that has been digested and they also facilitate the chemical activities occurring inside our bodies. Some vitamins are water soluble, while others are fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins need to be dissolved in water before the body can absorb them. They also cannot be stored in the body and are excreted daily and thus should be taken into the body every day. The water soluble vitamins are the B vitamins and Vitamin C. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue as well as the liver. These include Vitamins A, D, E and K. These are required in smaller amounts since the body already stores them for a period of time.
Vitamin A — This is a powerful antioxidant; it protects from cancer, heart diseases, and stroke. It is good for skin and eye health and also has anti-aging properties as it eliminates wrinkles and slows aging. In addition to lowering cholesterol, Vitamin A is good for the formation of bones and teeth. It is also good for the immune system and reproduction, important to the development and maintenance of healthy cell growth and aids in the proper development of the foetus.
Recommended Daily Intake: 700 – 800 micrograms
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) — This is good for the blood (circulation and formation) and the brain (has a positive effect on learning and other functions). It is also good for energy, carbohydrate metabolism and growth. Thiamine is needed for nervous system functioning, digestion and also for the muscles and the heart.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.1 milligrams
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) — This vitamin is necessary for antibody production, cell growth and red blood cell formation. It aids in the conversion of food to energy; it is vital for good vision and healthy skin and has also been found to be good for the nails and the hair.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.4 milligrams
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) — This is great for the skin and nervous system. Niacin aids in circulation and digestion, as well as the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also assists in normal growth and development and can treat persons who have high cholesterol levels.
Recommended Daily Intake: 14 milligrams
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) — This has anti-stress properties and is therefore helpful in treating depression and anxiety. It provides support to the adrenal glands, neurotransmitters and the gastrointestinal tract and also helps to convert carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy.
Recommended Daily Intake: 5 milligrams
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) — Good for the brain, nervous system and blood formation. It keeps the sodium and potassium levels of the body in balance and facilitates the production of hydrochloric acid and the absorption of fats and protein. Pyridoxine aids in the growth of cells, boosts the immune system, influences cognitive abilities and helps to make red blood cells.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.3 milligrams
Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H (Biotin) — This helps in cell growth and the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It promotes healthy hair and skin and also aids in relieving muscle pains.
Recommended Daily Intake: 30 micrograms
Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) — This is also known as “brain food”, is good for energy and strengthens the immune system by supporting white blood cells. It aids in the formation of red blood cells and in cell development, prevents birth defects and maintains a healthy heart. Folic Acid also assists in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin (regulates mood, sleep and appetite).
Recommended Daily Intake: 200 micrograms (400 micrograms should be consumed by pregnant women daily)
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) — Great for digestion, this vitamin aids in the prevention of anaemia and is necessary for the digestive process, cell formation, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of protein. It also prevents damage to the nerves, aids in the production of red blood cells, supports memory and learning and enhances sleep.
Recommended Daily Intake: 2.5 micrograms
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) — has antioxidant, anti-stress, anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. This vitamin is good for healing cuts and wounds, provides support to the immune system, good for respiratory issues such as asthma, increases the absorption of iron and also reduces the risk of eye disorders such as cataract. Additionally, it also protects against cell damage, aids in good bone and teeth health and lowers cholesterol levels.
Recommended Daily Intake: 80 milligrams
Choline — is necessary for the health of the nervous system, good for the brain and hormone production, aids in the production of cells in the body and also maintains good liver functioning.
Recommended Daily Intake: 425 micrograms (women); 550 micrograms (men)
Vitamin D – is the only vitamin that can be made in the body, Vitamin D aids in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus and is very necessary for growth. It can not only treat, but also protect against certain diseases such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes and osteoarthritis and enhances immunity while aiding in normal blood clotting. Crucial for the functioning of the thyroids, it is also needed for the bones and muscles and to facilitate communication between brain and the rest of the body.
Recommended Daily Intake: 5 micrograms
Vitamin E — has antioxidant properties and reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It is good for circulation, maintains the health of nerves, muscles, skin and hair, good for normal blood clotting and healing and reduces scarring from some wounds. Furthermore, it protects cells against damage and is good for the immune system and DNA repair.
Recommended Daily Intake: 10 – 15 milligrams
Vitamin K — aids in normal blood clotting and is also good for the formation and repair of bones as well as the prevention of bone issues such as osteoporosis. It can decrease the likelihood of children contracting infections and also promotes healthy liver functioning. Vitamin K has anti-cancer properties specifically against those cancers that target the inner linings of the body’s organs.
Recommended Daily Intake: 90 micrograms (women); 120 micrograms (men)
Only small doses of vitamins and minerals are needed to keep the body functioning at its optimum capacity. Thus, the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a variety of foods and have a balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can either create health issues or cause existing chronic health conditions to reoccur.
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