Are you ever wondering which vitamins you should be taking? Or why you need to? A lot of times people assume they are getting enough vitamins in what they eat, but unless they are extremely diligent in eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as getting outside, it is hard to get everything. Here is a quick overview of some essential vitamins and why we need them.
*Water-soluble: Vitamins that desolve in water. These vitamins are easily destroyed or washed out during food storage or preparation. It's important we get these every day since they are often washed out of our body.
*Fat-soluble: Vitamins dissolve in fat before they are absorbed in the blood stream to carry out their functions.
B-Vitamin: There are 8 different B Vitamins. Vitamin B is a water-soluble vitamin that is easily absorbed in your body. One of its biggest and most important functions is breaking down the carbohydrates from the food we eat and turning them into sugar glucose. Vitamin B also plays a large role in helping the nervous system to properly function. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, as it is commonly called, is great for breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats and converting them into the energy our body needs. Vitamin B2 and B3 are both good for giving us healthy looking skin. Vitamin B6 helps to promote healthy red blood cells that help fight disease.
Vitamin C: An essential water-soluble vitamin that has lots of important functions. It acts as an antioxidant and can also protect against heart disease by reducing stiffness of arteries. It is also needed to make collagen which strengthens your body (such as muscles), and also plays a role in healing as an antihistamine.
Calcium: A mineral that is crucial in things like neurotransmission, muscle contraction and heart function. It makes up to 2% of body weight, mostly in the bones. It helps build and maintain bones and teeth.
Magnesium: A mineral that is used by the body to help maintain muscles, nerves and bones. It is also used in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. It is needed for making new cells, activating vitamin B, and relaxing muscles. Magnesium is also needed for the production and use of insulin.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes absorption and use of calcium and phosphate for healthy bones. It has been called the "sunshine vitamin" because you can get it from the sun through your skin. Recent research has come out to make us aware that the majority of people aren't getting enough vitamin D, and it could be effecting overall health. It is known to help maintain immune system health and cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that adequate levels of vitamin D can help brain function and decrease effects of depression.
Potassium: An essential mineral that is needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity and blood pressure. It works with sodium-potassium in the cell to transmit messages and regulate the contraction of muscles.
These are just a few of the many we need. We do get some from what we eat, but if you are getting sick frequently or just always feeling sluggish, investing in a good multi-vitamin could help you in many ways. Always look for information regarding what vitamins are best for you to take, how much and how often, before starting new supplements. Make sure when you do find one to try though, that there isn't unnecessary sugar added.