Your Ultimate Guide to Essential Vitamins & Minerals
While either love or money may make the world go ‘round, it is vitamins and minerals that keep our body’s cyclical processes going. These vitamins and minerals, often present in the food we eat are important for metabolism, bone building, tissue repair—the whole nine yards. They are even vital for the most basic action as thinking thoughts. Below are some of the most important vitamins and how to load up on them.
This vitamin is a fat soluble vitamin that can be produced by the human body in a process that is triggered by ultraviolet light hitting human skin. It is more crucial than most people think. Doctors suspect that the vitamin can help decrease your risk for certain types of cancers. The vitamin is also needed to be able to absorb calcium.
You see, vitamin D is indispensible for the absorption of calcium in the gut as well as adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bones. It is crucial for bone growth and bone remodeling. So crucial, in fact, that a deficiency of this vitamin causes bones to become brittle and deformed.
Very few foods contain vitamin D, although fatty fish are good sources of it. The best source of vitamin D will still be direct exposure to sunlight. However, in climates that do not allow for regular exposure to the sun, Carlson Labs Vitamin D3 is one of the best sources of supplementary vitamin D.
B-vitamins are a class of water soluble vitamins that play an important role in human metabolism. These vitamins often come together and are referred to as a group of vitamins or vitamin B complex. Included in the vitamin B complex are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxal (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9) and cobalamins (B12). This complex of vitamins is responsible for the formation of red blood cells and maintaining healthy nerves.
Beans, legumes, turkey, tuna and liver are some of the best sources of dietary vitamin B. If you feel like your diet doesn’t provide enough vitamin B, high quality supplements like Swanson High Potency Activated B-Complex High Bioavailability are a great way to get enough vitamin B. Err on the side of caution with supplements, however, and consult your doctor if taking a supplement might put you at risk for overdosing.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is often used to cure or prevent the common cold. The vitamin was originally used to treat scurvy. When sailors went out at sea and the supply of vegetable and fruit (vitamin C’s natural source) ran out, sailors would slowly develop scurvy. This vitamin has also been used to alleviate certain types of skin disease, stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori, furunculosis and even depression and dementia.
One of the most important uses of vitamin C is in the synthesis of collagen by inducing the synthesis of the collagen precursor, procollagen. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning the human body cannot produce it. So the vitamin must be procured either from our diet or from a supplement. It is also important for the absorption of calcium and iron in the body.
Vitamin C is readily available in most fruits, but is found in large amounts in citrus fruits, strawberries and even in green colored veggies like broccoli, kale and spinach. Garden of Life Vitamin Code is one of the best multi-vitamin supplements on the market and is a great supplement for vitamin C.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that can help with your eyesight, serve as an anti-oxidant and is clinically proven to fix or prevent wrinkles. Be careful with this one though because like all other fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin A does not get readily flushed out with our urine like water soluble vitamins do. As a consequence they can build up in the body and become toxic. Vitamin A and all its derivatives, whether applied topically or taken orally SHOULD NOT be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
In any case, proper dosage of vitamin A is crucial because a deficiency of the vitamin can cause fat malabsorption, liver disorders, hematopoiesis and night blindness. Most people will not need a supplement for it, as high sources of beta-carotene like carrots and cantaloupes are enough to provide the natural and necessary amount of the vitamin.
Potassium is one of the most underappreciated minerals for health. Potassium is not necessarily a buzzword for health but you will be surprised at how dependent we are on this mineral. It is crucial for muscle function, including the most important muscle in the body – the heart. It is also crucial in the expulsion of wastes and water by the urinary system.
The mineral can help improve hypertension and heart disease and is completely crucial to maintain homeostasis in the body.
Great sources of potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, beats, beans and winter squash. A balanced diet is still the best and safest source of potassium; that said, never self-medicate with potassium supplements and always wait for your doctor’s orders regarding potassium.
Iron is a mineral that is naturally present in most foods. This mineral is so crucial to human survival that governments require for certain staple foods to be fortified with it. Iron is an essential component of – a protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues via blood circulation. Oxygen basically cannot get from our lungs to our tissues if not for iron. It is safe to say then that the mineral is vital to tissue development, metabolism and overall proper functioning of the body.
The richest sources of iron are seafood and lean meats. Some of the highest ranked iron supplements online are Nature Made Iron supplements and MegaFood Blood Builder tablets.