Vitamins are considered micronutrients, meaning the body needs them in small amounts compared to other nutrients such as water, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. However, don't be fooled by the term "micronutrients" because without them key body processes would halt.
Quite simply, vitamins are essential to the normal functioning of our bodies and are necessary for growth, health, normal metabolism and physical well-being.
There are two types of vitamins: water soluble and fat soluble.
Vitamins enable your body to use other essential nutrients such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals.
It's important to note that a deficiency in even one vitamin can lead to serious health problems.
Put simply, no nutrient is an island unto itself, meaning every nutrient requires other nutrients as cofactors, either for activation or function from each of the nutrient categories, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. For activation, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids require enzymes, and for function, essential fatty acids are also needed.
For example, zinc cannot function without vitamin B6, nor can some enzymes be made without it.
Here is another example, as important as vitamins are, vitamins cannot function and cannot be assimilated without the aid of minerals.
So, are vitamin supplements needed if you eat a well balanced and healthy diet?
In fact, we agree with many Naturopath physicians and other like-minded professionals that just taking a basic multivitamin and mineral supplement isn't enough for optimal health in our chemically polluted and stress-filled world.
Our foods simply lack nutritional value to keep up with our nutritional requirements.
Modern farming practices have resulted to soils lacking in certain nutrients as well as harvesting and shipping practices are dictated not by nutritional considerations but by marketing demands.
Now, add to this extensive processing, preservatives, additives, improper storage, and other factors, along with an estimated seven billion pounds of toxins and chemical agents added to the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe each year, and it's no wander our bodies are beginning to break down.
Here's food for thought. Two peaches back in 1951 would have provided the current RDA requirements of vitamin A for adult women. Today, a woman would have to consume almost 53 peaches to meet her daily requirements of vitamin A. Clearly, our bodies need the help of vitamin supplements.
Nowadays, highly sophisticated developers and manufacturers of supplements are producing products that go far above the basic vitamin and mineral supplement. The product may include not just vitamins and minerals found in any typical multi vitamin and mineral supplement, but also specialty antioxidants that are much more powerful than vitamins, and other nutrients such as amino acids, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, herbal extracts, enzymes, trace elements, neuronutrients, and other complementary co-factor ingredients that are needed to keep up with our nutritional requirements for optimal health.
However, keep in mind that supplements are not a magic pill and, as such, eating a well balanced healthy diet is still essential. Click here to learn how to select quality vitamin supplements or multivitamin and mineral supplements. Best Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.
Vitamin Educational Center
Vitamin A-- Info on food sources and health benefits of Vitamin A.
Vitamin B1-(Thiamin)-- Learn about Vitamin B1 - the "Antiberiberi Vitamin" needed for energy metabolism and essential for nerve and muscle function.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) -- All about Vitamin B2 including best food and herb sources.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - - How can Vitamin B3 benefit you? What does it do? It's earned a reputation for cholesterol-lowering ....
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) --Information on B5 hailed as the "The Anti-Stress Vitamin".
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) -- The Vitamin that never sleeps. It's a workhorse. Learn all about the benefits of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) -- General information on yet another great B Vitamin.
Biotin (Vitamin H) -- Information on Biotin. Promotes hair and nail health!
Folic Acid Facts --Learn all the facts on folic acid…..another powerhouse B vitamin.
Vitamin C Food Sources-- It's not only in oranges and orange juice. Lists the best food sources of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C Information-- Learn about the history and health benefits of this powerful antioxidant! In depth info on what this vitamin can do for you.
Vitamin D Health Benefits -- The sunshine vitamin needed for strong bones, teeth and more.
Vitamin D Food Sources-- Not just in milk. What are the best sources of Vitamin D?
Vitamin E Health Benefits-- Indeed, the almighty nutrient with antioxidant powers.
Vitamin E Overdose-- Can you overdose on Vitamin E? Learn all about precautions, safety, side-effects, safe doses, and more.
Vitamin E Food Sources-- What are the best sources of Vitamin E?
Vitamin K Health Benefits-- Important role for blood clotting.
Precautions and Tips on Choosing Vitamin Supplements
First, many dietary supplements that line the shelves in health food stores, vitamin stores, pharmacies, supermarkets and many others do not contain what is stated on the label or they harbor harmful contaminates. Indeed, it's shocking that a health and wellness manufacturer would do this but it is true.
In fact, according to Consumerlab.com, the leading provider of independent test results states:
"Testing by ConsumerLab.com shows that one in four supplements in the United States lacks the promised ingredients or has other serious problems."
Even the FDA has cautioned consumers about this industry-wide problem.
Therefore, the supplement should be produced at a pharmaceutical GMP facility. Pharmaceutical GMP compliant facilities adhere to extremely stringent manufacturing standards, similar to those required by law of pharmaceutical drugs.
Second, since vitamins work in balance and synergistically, it is crucial that your supplement be formulated by scientists with top notch credentials. In fact, a poorly "thrown together" supplement can sometimes do more harm than good.
Third, select natural vitamin supplements over synthetic versions. However, be careful because a bottle of "natural" vitamin supplements may contain vitamins that have not been extracted from a natural food source.
Indeed, synthetic forms are cheaper, but it may not be worth the trade off. Put simply, there is an overwhelming amount of information available on the merits of natural vitamins compared with those synthetically made.
For example, natural vitamin E, d-alpha tocopherol is more potent than its synthetic version. Natural beta carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A, has been proven in clinical trials to be far superior to its synthetic alternative. In fact, in a clinical trial, natural beta carotene (which is much more costly) was shown to eliminate tumors whereas the synthetic version of beta carotene had absolutely no effect.
Fourth, select vitamin supplements that come with a Certificate of Analysis on file confirming the potency of ingredients. Does the company have other crosschecks to ensure potency?
Fifth, select vitamin supplements that does not contain any fillers or additives (examples include: sugar, starch, gluten, silica (sand!) or any artificial colors or flavors.
A Comprehensive Product
Looking for the health benefits of vitamin supplements?
One company that meets the above requirements -- and more -- is Xtend-Life Natural Products from New Zealand. Their flagship product called Total Balance
contains a broad spectrum of over 70 nutrients that the body needs for optimium 'whole' body health, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, potent antioxidants, specialty nutrients, herbal extracts, enzymes, and more.
Total Balance is formulated by a highly credentialed scientific team that can blend these ingredients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, specialty nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, herbal extracts, and others) perfectly to ensure maximum benefits, but as importantly that they do not interact adversely.
We have been taking Total Balance for several years now and can personally attest to its excellent results such as significantly more energy, vitality, and an improved sense of well-being.
We hope this webpage discussing vitamin supplements was useful to you.
To Your Health!
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