Most of us know that we need vitamins to be healthier but how many of us know which ones are most important and how we obtain them?
Vitamins and minerals are essential to help your organs perform their various tasks at the optimum levels. A lack of these essential nutrients will result in a variety of symptoms which could include tiredness, weight gain, lack of energy, poor skin and a compromised immune system.
Vitamin A is very important for children as they are still developing. Lack of vitamin A is responsible for blindness in some children in the developing world. The body uses Beta Carotene found in fruit and vegetables to make vitamin A. It is well known that this substance fights cancer and heart disease. Retinol is found in dairy products, oily fish and liver. Thankfully vitamin A deficiency is very rare in the developed world. Strict vegans would be most at risk as they don’t eat the natural sources of retinol.
Vitamin B Complex is hugely important to our bodies. It controls our central nervous system and a lack of vitamin B could cause depression as well as a host of other problems. Vitamin B6 is particularly important and it is needed to form healthy red blood cells and the neurotransmitters in your brain. Women who suffer from PMS often find a vitamin B6 supplement will help them. In addition to depression, a vitamin B deficiency could cause anemia, poor skin and lead to a compromised immunity system.
Vitamin B12 is used for normal growth, production of energy and control of the nervous system. Vegetarians and vegans who don’t eat dairy products are most at risk of this vitamin deficiency as there is no efficient non animal source of vitamin B12. They will need to take a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement to help their bodies function at an optimum level.
Other B vitamins that are important to energy production and burning calories are vitamin B 1, 2, 3 and 5 and you will find all of these in vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals and dairy produce.
Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron and is essential in the development of healthy skin and bones. It also helps our body to heal if injured. Studies have shown that women having problems conceiving may benefit from a vitamin C supplement.
It can also help those fighting cancer and other diseases. Citrus fruits are an excellent source of this vitamin. The problem is that this vitamin is water soluble and cannot be stored in our bodies. We need to eat green leafy vegetables on a regular basis to get sufficient levels. Remember not to over cook your vegetables though as this will destroy the vitamin content.
Vitamin D comes from sunlight so if you need a perfect excuse to get out in the sun, this is it. Obviously take all the necessary precautions i.e. use sun cream and hats etc. Babies will be given a Vitamin K injection when they are born but the bodies of children and adults make it naturally.
Vitamin E is necessary for fighting illness and disease. Nuts and seeds are an excellent source and deficiency is thankfully very rare.
I hope the above has helped you to understand the importance of the vitamins our bodies need and how you can prevent a deficiency.