Your nutrition soup bowl
Imagine you walked into a drugstore and you stepped into an aisle full of vitamins, minerals, and supplements from company A to company Z, and you must be thinking how can i choose what is best for me. To make the right decision for your health you need to understand what each vitamin and mineral does and why do you need them. You need to understand how nutrients in your food affect you. You need to understand which of those supplements are valuable and which aren’t for your health.
Why are vitamins so vital?
A vitamin is nothing but and organic chemical compound your body MUST have. Vitamins are essentials to make enzymes, enzymes are a type of protein that significantly speeds up the rate of virtually all the chemical reactions that take place within cells. They are vital for life and serve a wide range of important functions in the body, such as aiding in digestion and metabolism. Your body can’t make all the chemicals you must get it from food or either from the vitamins.
Vitamins are not a replacement for the food they have no calories, however, your body needs it especially the vitamin Bxx, to convert food into energy.
Vitamins are divided into two categories
These vitamins don’t get stored in the body for a long period of time. Because of the water-soluble nature, any extra is carried out of your body. Vitamin B and C are water-soluble vitamins. You need to get a fresh dose of Vitamin B and C every day. There is no way you can overdose vitamin B and C unless you go crazy and east vitamin B and C every 5 minutes.
Vitamin A, E, D, and K are fat-soluble vitamins they get stored in liver OR in fatty tissue.
Getting too much of these vitamins means it can build up in your body and causes the problem.
In what quantity should you take vitamins?
Before we dig deep into it let’s first understand some terminologies.
RDA=Recommended Dietary Allowances
IU=International Unit (is a unit of measurement for vitamins and other specific biologically active substances)
One gram (g) contains 1,000 milligrams (mg). A gram is roughly equivalent to one-quarter teaspoon, or 0.035 of an ounce. There is about 4,000 mg in a teaspoon. One milligram contains 1,000 micro-grams (mcg). That means a micro-gram is 1/1,000 of a milligram, or 1/1,000,000 (yes, one millionth) of a gram. That's less than the amount that would fit on the head of a pin.
How much vitamins you need very from person to person. If you’re average healthy men or women, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommended that these are the minimum amount of vitamins you should take.
RDA for MEN
RDA for women
200 IU 5 mcg
200 IU 5mcg
15 IU or 10 mg
12 IU or 8 mg
If you were counting, you noticed that the chart only listed 11 vitamins, even though we said you need 13. Two B vitamins, biotin and pantothenic acid, aren't listed. That's because even though you need to have them, they don't have RDAs. Why not? Because you get these vitamins so easily from your food, even if you have incredibly bad eating habits, no one is ever really deficient
Now let’s talk about the minerals
Vitamins are organic however minerals are inorganic, these are the minerals we need from our food, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. We need minerals every day in the amount of 100mg or over.
Do you really need vitamins and minerals?
The average person can get the RDAs for vitamins and minerals simply by eating a reasonable diet containing plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Yeah, right. First of all, who's that mythical average person? Not anyone we know. The RDAs assume you're an adult under age 60 who's in good health, has perfect digestion, isn't overweight, leads a totally stress-free life, doesn't even have any sort of medical problem, and never needs to take any sort of medicine. The RDAs also assume that you really manage to eat a good diet every day. Let's get real here: Even on a good day, you can't always manage a completely healthy diet. Who has the time or energy to do all that shopping and food preparation? On any given day, half of us eat at least one meal away from home anyway. You just can't always eat healthfully, even when you try. The fact is, most of us don't try all that hard, and most of us don't meet all the RDAs from our diet. Just look at the results of the 1994 Department of Agriculture's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII).
Most adult women don't meet the RDAs for iron, zinc, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E• Most adult men don't meet the RDA for zinc and magnesium. • Young children drink 16 percent less milk than they did in the late 1970s, but they drink 23 percent more carbonated soft drinks. • Americans eat very few dark-green leafy vegetables and deep yellow vegetables. Fewer than one out of five people eat five fresh fruits and vegetables a day—and about one person in five doesn't eat any. If it's that hard to meet the RDAs through diet, what about reaching the higher amounts of vitamins and minerals many health professionals now recommend? You could just try harder to eat better or differently. For example, women between the ages of 25 and 50 should get at least 1,000 mg of calcium every day to keep their bones strong. That's the calcium in three glasses of milk a day. You could easily drink that much milk, but would you? Do you even like milk? What if you hate the stuff or have trouble digesting it? One of the biggest problems with the RDAs is that they assume you're in good health and eat about 2,000 calories a day. What if you don't eat that much? Many people over age 70, for example, only take in about 1,500 calories a day. And in our weight-conscious society, at any given time one in six Americans are dieting—usually in a way that doesn't provide good nutrition.
There's no way these people are getting the vitamins and minerals they need from their food. We'd be the first to tell you that vitamin and mineral supplements aren't a substitute for healthy eating. They're also not a magic shield against the effects of bad health habits, like smoking or not getting much exercise. But we know that you can't always eat as you should—and that sometimes you need more of a vitamin or mineral than you can reasonably get just from your food. That's why vitamin and mineral supplements are so important. Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is sensible insurance—it makes sure you get everything you need. You may also need extra of one or more vitamins or minerals—more than you could get from your diet. Here too supplements make sure you're getting enough. Generally speaking, vitamin and mineral supplements are safe even in large doses. More isn't always better, though, and some supplements can be harmful in big doses. Use your common sense. Read what we have to say about the vitamins and minerals, talk it over with your doctor, and then decide which supplements are best for you.