What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are one of the most important things that you do
for your body on a daily basis. With only two exceptions,
your body is unable to produce vitamins and must rely on
getting them through diet alone. A lack of vitamins can
make you tired, weak, short of breath and in some cases, even
colorblind. Your best source of vitamins and minerals -- you
guessed it, natural produce.
But what are they, those all important vitamins?
Scientists gave certain nutrients names. Well letters and
numbers for the most part. Early civilized mankind knew
about scurvy. Only with trial and error did he discover
that certain foods containing vitamin C stopped the onset of
The letters and numbers simplified the language. All
scientists now knew exactly what another scientist was talking
about if he said B12. As our knowledge progressed and
methods for determining even smaller parts of each vitamin, we
were once again subjected to oddly sounding words and a
mumbo-jumbo of reasoning. So for the most part we are
satisfied with the major groups and the letters and
Are there more letters and numbers to come? I am sure
of it. As knowledge grows, more "items" will come out as
important and they will be assigned a letter and number.
When the omega-3's were discovered how much healthier would we
be if they had been assigned a letter and number - maybe
vitamin HF1 for healthy fat.
Vitamins are what enable your bodily
functions such as your metabolism, growth and energy production
to function in the best manner possible.
For example, you probably know that most milk is fortified with
vitamin D, but did you know why? It is an important tool
in balancing your blood calcium and phosphorus levels.
Without vitamin D, your body can’t absorb and use
calcium. For this reason, it is always important if you
are taking calcium supplements to make sure it also contains
vitamin D to ensure your body has an adequate amount of vitamin
D to process the calcium. Your major source of vitamin D is
What are Vitamins - either Fat or Water Soluble
There are two main categories of vitamins, water-soluble and
fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in your
body's fat reserves until you need them. Fat-soluble
vitamins include E, D, K and A. However, because you
don’t flush these through your system, these four vitamins in
particular have a higher risk of ill side effects when
overdosed especially with artificial vitamin
Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C cannot be stored by
your body for great lengths of time and require a much more
regular intake to keep you healthy. These types of
vitamins are passed to your blood stream directly from your
intestine. Most of these are stored only on a daily basis
and excreted in your urine. There is one exception to
this rule, B12, which is excreted through feces. The
water-soluble vitamins in particular help your vision,
digestive system and skin among other important functions.
If you are taking a product that inhibits fat absorption,
you must not take your vitamin supplement as the same
time. Obviously your fat inhibitor will restrict the
There is too much of a good thing when it comes to
For example, too many carrots can cause your skin to turn
orange from the Beta-Carotene and vitamin A. Too much
vitamin C, a vitamin abundantly found in oranges, can cause
much more serious side effects such as kidney stones or chronic
diarrhea if taken in extreme excess. Ironically, one
source also indicates that extreme excess can actually cause a
stuffy nose instead of prevent the common cold as most people
believe it does.
On the other hand, a lack of vitamins can cause disease,
aging and death. Lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy, a
serious disease that can lead to death if left untreated.
Other vitamin deficient related diseases include anemia, brain
or nerve damage, impaired vision and a variety of bone related
However, watching your vitamin intake or using a supplement
can be a very good thing, especially in the world of fast food
and super sized Cokes that we live in. After
analyzing your diet for holes in nutrition, you can properly
determine exactly what vitamins you might be deficient in and
work from there to fill in the gaps with supplements or a
change in diet.
Certainly you will have a huge assortment of vitamin and
mineral supplements to choose from at your health food store or
even the grocery store. Supplements are a booming
business commanding huge profits for the manufacturers.
Supplements now declare that they are for a certain sex or age
group. Sadly, a great number of supplements have almost nothing
of value in them. They are artificial concoctions,
fillers and sometimes down right lies.
When it comes to buying, don't buy the cheapest as you will
be just throwing your money away. The most expensive is
not necessarily the best either. Go with a company with a
good reputation. One good way to determine if your
vitamin and mineral supplement is a good one is by how you
feel. If you don't have more pep, less swinging moods and
a glimmer of regained youth after 30 days, your vitamins are
not doing the job.
However, I must qualify that last statement. If you
have totally abused some of the systems in your body you may
need to add some herbs to your vitamin supplements. Herbs
can target individual systems. Remember, true herbs have
vitamins and minerals as well, so look at the total daily