Every where you look there is an ad for some sort of vitamin or supplement, all guaranteeing us positive effects on our bodies. Have you been to the vitamin aisle in your local drugstore lately? The shelves are packed from top to bottom with endless choices. What vitamins are the most important for us and which should be taken daily? It turns out that there are six major vitamins essential for our health, A, B, C, D, K and Folic Acid.
Vitamin A is key vitamin in the production and activity of the body’s white blood cells, helps bones heal and also allows us to see in the dark.
Avoid “super” supplements. Don’t be swayed by the wild health claims of the many health supplements advertised on TV and the Internet. If they sound too good to be true, you can be sure they are.
Vitamin B (B6, B12, Folate and other B vitamins) Studies have shown that people who take the recommended doses of Vitamin B may have a lower chance of getting breast and colon cancer. It is essential for human growth and development and helps regulate all chemical reactions within the body. Folic acid and Folate are part of the vitamin B family. Folate is the form found naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form that is added to food or used as an ingredient in vitamin supplements. The body absorbs folic acid faster than it absorbs folate, but then must convert it into folate before it can get to work.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in controlling infections. It aids in the production of collagen, which is a tissue needed in our body for healthy bones, blood vessels, teeth and gums. Vitamin C also neutralizes the polluting agents that we encounter in our day to day lives.
Vitamin D is perhaps the most essential vitamin, and is not readily available in food. It is however available from the sunshine. The body starts producing vitamin D after being exposed to about 15 minutes of sunlight. Fifteen minutes of sunlight per day is enough to naturally absorb this vitamin. Vitamin D is essential as it controls the body’s ability to absorb certain minerals such as calcium. It also plays a role in keeping our immune system in tip top shape.
Vitamin K allows our blood to clot properly. **
Most Doctor’s and Nutritional Experts seem to agree that a daily multi-vitamin is the best way to get your daily recommended doses of vitamins. Add a calcium supplement and perhaps some extra Vitamin D and you are very well covered. Your bottle should be marked USP (U.S. Pharmacopoeia), which indicates the Vitamin Industry’s own seal of approval. The USP also requires manufacturers to provide an expiration date.
5 Quick Tips:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
2. Choose a daily multivitamin
3. Think about adding extra Vitamin D to your daily vitamin
4. Say no to “megas.” In general, avoid mega-dose vitamins and mega-fortified foods. There is no scientific proof that they are beneficial in any way.
5. Avoid “super” supplements. Don’t be swayed by the wild health claims of the many health supplements advertised on TV and the Internet. If they sound too good to be true, you can be sure they are.
***Vitamin Information obtained from Harvard School of Public Health