In order to sustain life, the body requires specific amounts of vitamins and minerals. Despite being required of the body in minute amounts, our body cannot thrive without the nutrients it requires. Since the human body is incapable of synthesizing vitamins in a fast enough time to meet its own needs, we must consume foods and beverages in order to get the all-important nutrients we require from our dietary intake.
A Bit about Vitamins
There are two types of vitamins including those that are fat and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins do not require daily replenishment as they are stored up in body as lipids: These types of vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E, and K. In contrast, water-soluble vitamins are those that water dissolves. Since the vitamins are washed out of the body on a daily basis, water-soluble vitamins must be replaced each day through the consumption of certain foods and beverages. Examples of water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin C, and the eight vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex including biotin, folate pantothenic acid, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6.
Both fat and water soluble vitamins feature chief attributes. First, they are in foods in small amounts as natural compounds. Second, both types of vitamins are vital for the normal function and growth of the human body. Third, if the body is not getting enough of a specific vitamin, it will result in an identifiable vitamin deficiency.
A bit about Minerals
Nonliving things, like rock and ore, contain substances that are non-organic: These substances are called minerals. Foods and plant life, which derive minerals from the soil, also contain minerals that, when consumed, benefit the human body by providing the minerals the body requires for optimal health. The minerals the body requires for optimal health include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. There are also trace elements, which are additional minerals in lesser amounts, which the body requires in order to remain healthy. The trace minerals of import include chromium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.
Food Consumption & Vitamin & Mineral Supplementation
One of the biggest misconceptions associated with the use of supplements is the notion that one can skip meals and still get all the nutrients one needs from vitamin and mineral supplements, which is entirely false. A healthy diet is an absolute must if you are going to get the nutrition you require and vitamin/mineral supplements cannot replace what you do not get from a poor diet. You must consume food in order for vitamins to do what they are supposed to do inside the body. Vitamins are one of two things: coenzymes or are an important part of a coenzyme. A coenzyme is a minute molecule that serves as a catalytic function for other enzymes. Meanwhile, enzymes within the body assist in digesting starches, carbohydrates, and in body detoxification. Enzymes also help in weight maintenance and regulating blood sugar levels in the body.
What Vitamins Do
The body requires thirteen essential vitamins for optimal health. The vitamins you need to remain healthy include Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, biotin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine. Below, we will examine what each vitamin does for your body:
Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is needed for promoting immune system functioning, the formation of bones, growth, wound healing, and cellular reproduction. You need vitamin A for excellent vision and eye health, and the vitamin is needed for embryonic and fetal development. Vitamin A also plays a role in the health of the mouth, sinuses, nose, and mucous membranes. The vitamin helps in the formation of healthy gums, teeth, skin, and soft tissue.
Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is actually a B vitamin and necessary for the body’s metabolism or carbohydrates and proteins. The body needs biotin for healthy skin, hair, and it also metabolizes the building blocks of proteins and amino acids.
Folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B9, works in unison with vitamin B12 to assist in red blood cell formation. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, and is what you will find in many vitamin supplements. Folate also helps in the production of DNA responsible for controlling tissue function and growth. This vitamin is necessary for emotional, mental, and brain health.
Niacin, also known as nicotinamide, inositol hexanicontinate, niacinamide, vitamin B3, is needed by the body for healthy skin, eyes, hair, and a healthy liver. It also assists in the nervous system’s functioning. This vitamin is responsible for helping in the production of stress and sex-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands as well as alternative parts of the body. Niacin can improve one’s blood circulation and there is evidence it helps in diminishing inflammation. Niacin also assists in reducing cholesterol levels.
Pantothenic Acid, also known as Vitamin B5, is needed for metabolizing carbohydrates into glucose. This vitamin also helps breakdown carbs and fats and is needed for the production of red blood cells. Pantothenic acid helps in the production of sex and stress hormones produced by adrenal glands, and in keeping the digestive tract healthy. You must have pantothenic acid in order to synthesize cholesterol.
Riboflavin, also called vitamin B2, is needed by the body to promote proper metabolism of carbohydrates. It works as an antioxidant and helps in destroying DNA-damaging free radicals. Riboflavin helps the body in transforming folate and B6 into useable forms, and it is needed for the production of red blood cells as well as growth.
Thiamine, also known as thiamin or vitamin B1, thiamine aids in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose that serves as fuel for your body. Thiamine is needed for the health of your liver, eyes, hair, and skin. This vitamin helps in ensuring good nervous system functioning, nerve health, and heart health.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, assists in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose so it can serve as fuel for the body. This vitamin helps in the development of a number of neurotransmitters and is needed for healthy development and functioning of the brain. Vitamin B6 assists in the production of hormones like norepinephrine and serotonin, both of which play a role in mood regulation. This vitamin also assists in melatonin production, which regulates the circadian rhythms of the body. Vitamin B6 also helps in the creation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is another of the B vitamins that help in transforming carbohydrates into glucose so the body can use it as energy. B12 is necessary for a healthy nervous system, liver, eyes hair, and skin. Cobalamin plays a role in the creation of the genetic material of the body: RNA or DNA. It works in conjunction with vitamin B9 (folic acid/folate) in order to assist in the production of red blood cells and to help the body use iron better. B12 and folic acid also work in unison to create S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a compound that plays a role in mood and immune system functioning. Meanwhile, B9, B6, and B12 all work together to control the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine are linked to cardiovascular disease. This vitamin is necessary for a healthy metabolism.
Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid, is needed by the body in order to repair and heal bodily tissues. It is used to create blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, skin, and collagen. Vitamin C is vital to the immune system, wound healing, and for healthy teeth and bones. It is an antioxidant that helps fight DNA-damaging free radicals, which are linked to aging and an array of conditions like arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The vitamin assists in the absorption of iron.
Vitamin D, sometimes known as the “Sunshine Vitamin,” is needed by the body for healthy bones, and for immune system regulation. This vitamin helps your body to absorb calcium better, which is needed by the bones for proper health. This vitamin helps maintain healthy calcium and phosphorus levels in the body.
Vitamin E, like vitamin C, is an antioxidant. Sometimes known as tocopherol, this vitamin helps in red blood cell formation and works in unison with vitamin K.
Vitamin K, also known as Koagulationsvitamin, assists the blood in clotting and in proper coagulation. This vitamin also plays a significant role in the health of your bones.
If you are using organic produce for juicing, consuming fats that are plant based, and your diet consists of clean, chemical-free animal flesh, and low to medium glycemic carbohydrates, your diet should be providing you with the majority of minerals and vitamins you require. Consider supplements as a form of insurance, and when you feel that your body may need additional nutrients, it may be time for you to partake of vitamin supplements. You may want to speak with your doctor before you start a supplementation regimen to ensure you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. For more information on vitamins and minerals, you can further your research by using the following resources: