Vitamins are organic compounds that are used by the body as nutrients and they perform specific and important functions in the body. We get vitamins from the food we eat but due to our dietary choices we maybe deficient in some vitamins. This can be very harmful to the body and it can lead to illness and disease. It is important to understand all we can about vitamins. There are two types of vitamins, water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Let me go into a little more detail below:
Fat-soluble Vitamins – These vitamins are stored in the body’s fat and also the fat in the liver. Therefore they stay in the body longer and can be used over a long period of time from a few days to even a month. You have to make sure that to absorb these vitamins it is important that they are taken with fats as they are absorbed through the intestines with the help of fats. This leads into the topic of fats and how it is important to have a healthy amount of fats in the diet and not just any fats but healthy fats. I will make a post on this later. Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.
Water-soluble Vitamins – These vitamins are not stored by the body and will need to be consumed regularly. Water soluble vitamins will be used by the body if they are needed or they will be excreted. So it is even more important to make sure you are having a good amount of these vitamins daily. Water-soluble vitamins are C and all 8 B vitamins.
A lot of people will use the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) as a guide to find out the quantity of each vitamin to be consumed. But we need to understand that the RDA is not a guide for the level of nutrients needed for optimal health but the minimum required to prevent diseases due to deficiency. So the RDA is very low and we can consume much high levels of vitamins. A healthy diet consisting of all food varieties and a high amount of vegetables will provide a good amount of vitamins, much higher than the RDA e.g. the RDA for B12 is 1mcg but the maximum safe limit is 500 times that. Also people who are ill will need to consume a lot of vitamins as they are used by the body to repair and heal itself. So for safe levels of vitamins we shouldn’t use the RDA as a guide. Also the RDA does not provide any guidelines for a lot of vitamins only the main vitamins that have been intensely researched, there are many vitamins that are needed by the body. That is why it is very important to improve our diet by eating a variety of foods and especially vegetables. A lot of the foods that we consume are processed and are stripped of a lot of their vitamins and Minerals. Until we improve our diet we can use supplements to give us that much needed boost. There are two types of vitamins supplement synthetic and wholefood supplements.
Synthetic Vitamin Supplements/Fortified Foods – These supplements are made to chemically mimic natural vitamins. They are cheaper and last longer, not to mention that you get a higher dose of vitamins from a single tablet. These vitamins aren’t as easily absorbed by the body and maybe seen as a toxic substance. This is because the vitamin is only an imitation of the actual vitamin found in nature and therefore not the exact same thing, our bodies can differentiate between them. Also vitamins don’t work by themselves they need other components and nutrients to work properly and synthetic vitamins supplements are only that isolated supplement. For example vitamin C consists of the following components:
- Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)
- Factor K
- Factor J
- Factor P
- Ascorbic Acid
But a vitamin C supplement will only contain Ascorbic Acid, the body can then only use the ascorbic acid if it has the other components available, if not then it will be flushed out of the body. But obviously we need to research into this a little more because for example vitamin D can be hard to get for people in the winter and it is not as readily available to us as other vitamins, so taking a vitamin D3 tablet in the winter is perfectly okay, but we should make the most of natural sources first.
Wholefood Vitamin Supplements – These vitamins are extracted from natural sources such as vegetables. The vegetables are cooked in a broth and then dried to a powder which is then pressed into tablets. These supplements don’t have a high amount of nutrients in each tablet so a few will need to be consumed over the course of a day, but they are more effective as they contain a lot of the components that your body needs to make full use of the vitamins. To find out if a supplement is a natural wholefood supplement, you will notice the ingredients are not listing the actual vitamin but the food which contains that particular vitamin.
There is another way of increasing the amount of vitamins if you are not getting enough from your diet. Yes, Juicing. Juicing vegetables gives a high concentrated juice with a high amount of vitamins. You will be extracting only the juice and not the fibre, therefore being able to consume a bunch of vegetables in an easy to drink glass of juice. I would recommend this to everyone as it gives you more control over getting the nutrients you need by juicing specific vegetables. I will be posting recipes for juices that I make for myself, the combinations are limitless and are packed full of nutrients. What more could you ask for? You can create specific juices for specific health problems. The possibilities are endless.
My next post will be all about organic vegetables, the clean 15 and the dirty dozen, a must know before juicing. So keep an eye out for that. If you want to get in touch please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you comment, share and click that Subscribe button for all things Healthy.
[Note: This blog is only for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice or diagnosis. Please consult with a Health care practitioner before making any diet or nutrition changes.]