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How Do Vitamins Help Your Body

How Minerals Work In The Body

How do vitamins work? – Ginnie Trinh Nguyen

Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.

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Support A Healthy Metabolism

B-complex vitamins, like thiamin, riboflavin, folate, biotin, and vitamins B6 and B12 collaborate with other enzymes in your body to metabolize energy from protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Staying physically active and eating a healthy diet also help to maintain a healthy metabolismfactors that are important for healthy aging and your overall health.3

Does Vitamin D Accumulate In Your System

As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D in excess is not flushed from your body through urine. Although your body can become toxic from excessive supplemental intake, the toxicity does not derive from vitamin Drich foods or sun exposure, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The maximum amount of vitamin D that adults can safely obtain from supplements is 4,000 international units per day. If you exceed this limit, the excess vitamin D stays in your blood, causing adverse effects such as unintentional weight loss, anorexia and abnormal heart rhythms. Excess vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium, causing heart, blood vessel and kidney damage. Consuming smaller amounts — for example, 1,000 IU per day — along with calcium in supplement form increases your risk for kidney stones. Sufficient intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU daily from food or supplements.

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Your Immune System Is Fortified

Your immune system works very hard to keep your body healthy. Its constantly at work warding off bacterial invaders and helping your body manage bad germs. Its constantly creating new cells, and those cells need energy to properly fulfill their functions before they complete their lifespan and are replaced by more cells.

Theres a lot happening, and your body is relying on your choices to keep the process going. Proper hygiene and avoiding germs are important for preventing your immune system from becoming overwhelmed by bad germs. The other part of the process is giving your body what it needs to fulfill those functions.

Although vitamin C is most widely recognized as an essential vitamin for your immune system, its far from the only vitamin your immune system requires for optimal function. Vitamin B6, folate, and zinc also play crucial roles in keeping you healthy.

Recommended Sodium Intake For Older Adults

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Sodium is another important mineral. In most Americans diets, sodium primarily comes from salt . Whenever you add salt to your food, you’re adding sodium. But the Dietary Guidelines shows that most of the sodium we eat doesnt come from our saltshakers its added to many foods during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much over time can lead to high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

How much sodium is okay? People 51 and older should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day. That is about one teaspoon of salt and includes sodium added during manufacturing or cooking as well as at the table when eating. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoon of salt, may be helpful. Preparing your own meals at home without using a lot of processed foods or salt will allow you to control how much sodium you get. Try using less salt when cooking, and dont add salt before you take the first bite. If you make this change slowly, you will get used to the difference in taste. Also look for grocery products marked low sodium, unsalted, no salt added, sodium free, or salt free. Also check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in a serving.

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Does The Skeletal System Produce Vitamin D

Foods, dietary supplements and sun exposure provide vitamin D. Getting sufficient amounts — 600 IU daily for most adults — is vital for overall health. Your skeletal system requires vitamin D because the vitamin facilitates calcium absorption, a key for healthy bones and development. Your liver, not your bones, produces vitamin D in response to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Valuable food sources of this vitamin include cod liver oil, seafood, such as salmon and tuna, and fortified juices and dairy products. Eggs, margarine and fortified cereals contain moderate amounts.

Do Multivitamins Make You Healthier

If you take a multivitamin, it’s probably because you want to do everything you can to protect your health. But there is still limited evidence that a daily cocktail of essential vitamins and minerals actually delivers what you expect. Most studies find no benefit from multivitamins in protecting the brain or heart. But There are potential benefits and no risks from a one daily standard multivitamin.

So, is it worth considering a multivitamin as part of a healthy lifestyle? Start with asking yourself why you would consider taking a multivitamin. If you suspect your diet is nutritionally lax, focus your efforts there.

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How Antioxidants May Help

Antioxidants are able to neutralize marauders such as free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. When a vitamin C or E molecule makes this sacrifice, it may allow a crucial protein, gene, or cell membrane to escape damage. This helps break a chain reaction that can affect many other cells.

It is important to recognize that the term antioxidant reflects a chemical property rather than a specific nutritional property. Each of the nutrients that has antioxidant properties also has numerous other aspects and should be considered individually. The context is also importantin some settings, for example, vitamin C is an antioxidant, and in others it can be a pro-oxidant.

Interactingin Good Ways And Bad

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Many micronutrients interact. Vitamin D enables your body to pluck calcium from food sources passing through your digestive tract rather than harvesting it from your bones. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron.

The interplay of micronutrients isnt always cooperative, however. For example, vitamin C blocks your bodys ability to assimilate the essential mineral copper. And even a minor overload of the mineral manganese can worsen iron deficiency.

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Essential Nutrients For Your Body

Every day, your body produces skin, muscle, and bone. It churns out rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to remote outposts, and it sends nerve signals skipping along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. It also formulates chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing the instructions that help sustain your life.

But to do all this, your body requires some raw materials. These include at least 30 vitamins, minerals, and dietary components that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrientsbecause acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help shore up bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage.

But trying to keep track of what all these vitamins and minerals do can be confusing. Read enough articles on the topic, and your eyes may swim with the alphabet-soup references to these nutrients, which are known mainly be their initials .

In this article, youll gain a better understanding of what these vitamins and minerals actually do in the body and why you want to make sure youre getting enough of them.

Vitamins Feed Your Needs

Your body is one powerful machine, capable of doing all sorts of things by itself. But when it comes to vitamins, it can use some help. That’s where food comes in. Your body is able to get the vitamins it needs from the foods you eat because different foods contain different vitamins. The key is to eat different foods to get an assortment of vitamins. Though some kids take a daily vitamin, most kids don’t need one if they’re eating a variety of healthy foods.

Now, let’s look more closely at vitamins from A to K:

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About Vitamins And Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are organic compounds that our bodies use in very small amounts for a variety of metabolic processes. Basically, they keep us healthy and help our bodies to function.

We get vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat. For most of us, a healthy and varied diet is all we need to stay healthy. It is best to get vitamins and minerals from eating a variety of healthy unrefined foods.

Vitamins and minerals can cause toxicity if consumed in large amounts.

What Is Vitamin B Complex

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A nutritional supplement that contains all eight of the essential water-soluble vitamins, with the exception of vitamin C, is known as vitamin B complex. The B vitamins share some chemical characteristics and often coexist in some foods, but each works independently and has a different role in contributing to your health. The vitamins in B-complex include:

  • thiamine â essential for DNA and creation ofenergy and closely linked to the activity of other B vitamins

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B Complex To Reduce Stress

Vitamin B complex has been found useful in reducing fatigue and stress as well as improving mood. Researchers have identified a link between vitamin B levels and brain atrophy and cognitive ability.

An Australian trial examined the effects of B vitamins on stress and mood variables with full-time employees in the workplace. Incorporating the role of B vitamins as antioxidants, the study investigated the relationship between maintaining cognitive ability and general health. Published in the Nutrition Journal in 2014, evidence concluded that dietary supplementation of B vitamins may be viable in reducing occupational stress, increasing work productivity and decreasing absenteeism.

Vitamin E In The Diet

It is highly unlikely that a person has low levels of vitamin E unless they have an underlying chronic disease, a genetic condition, or a diet extremely low in fat. For others, supplementation is usually not necessary.

Vitamin E is plentiful in a wide variety of foods. The body cannot produce it, so it must be obtained from the diet or a supplement.

Foods that contain vitamin E include:

  • vegetable oils, such as wheat-germ oil, peanut oil, and olive oil

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Should I Take A Supplement

Lots of people wonder if they should take vitamin or mineral supplements. If your diet includes a wide variety of foods including whole-grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meats you probably get the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

There are many supplements on the market, and of course their makers want you to buy them. Beware of unproven claims about the benefits of taking more than recommended amounts of any vitamin or mineral. Healthy teens usually don’t need supplements if they eat a well-rounded diet.

Check with your doctor before taking vitamin or mineral supplements. Just because something is good for you doesnt mean that more is better. Some vitamins and minerals can cause health problems if you get too much of them.

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you’re skipping meals, dieting, are a picky eater, or have any concerns about your diet. They can answer your questions and help you create a healthy eating plan that includes the nutrients your body needs.

Cutting Down On Free Sugar

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Foods that contain free sugars aren’t required as part of a healthy balanced diet, so you should try to eat these less often and in smaller amounts.

To do this, use food labels to choose items that are lower in sugar and swap:

  • sugary breakfast cereals for plain cereals – such as plain porridge, wholewheat biscuit cereals, shredded wholewheat or no added sugar muesli
  • flavoured or corner-style yoghurts for low fat, lower sugar yoghurts, adding fresh fruit for variety
  • sugary drinks for water, lower fat milk, sugar-free drinks or tea and coffee

Sugary drinks account for a surprisingly large proportion of the daily sugar intake of both children and adults. Almost a third of the free sugars consumed by 11 to 18 year olds come from soft drinks.

Cereal bars often contain high levels of free sugars too, so remember to check the label.

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Can I Take All My Vitamins At Once

You canbut its probably not a good idea. For some supplements, optimal absorption can depend on the time of day taken. Not only thattaking certain vitamins, minerals, or other supplements together can also reduce absorption and may result in adverse interactions, which can be harmful to your health.

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May Improve Mood And Symptoms Of Depression

Vitamin B12 may improve your mood.

The effect of vitamin B12 on mood is not yet fully understood. However, this vitamin plays a vital role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood.

Therefore, vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to decreased serotonin production, which may cause a depressed mood.

Studies support the use of vitamin B12 supplements for improving symptoms of depression in people deficient in this vitamin.

One study in people with depression and low vitamin B12 levels found that those who received both antidepressants and vitamin B12 were more likely to show improved depressive symptoms, compared to those treated with antidepressants alone (

13 ).

Additionally, high vitamin B12 levels have been linked to better treatment outcomes and an increased probability of recovery from major depressive disorder .

Though vitamin B12 supplements may help improve mood and depression in people with a deficiency, research does not currently suggest that they have the same effect in those with normal B12 levels.


Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. Vitamin B12 supplements may help improve mood in people with an existing deficiency.

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What Vitamins Should You Take Daily

It is estimated that about half of American adults take some type of vitamin or mineral supplement.

People might take supplements if they know theyre missing a certain food group, says Patton. Others might take supplements for the antioxidant benefits or because they know they dont eat fruits and vegetables. Some people may have a true deficiency.

Everyones vitamin needs are different, so its a good idea to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before starting to take supplements. They can help you decide which products to take, or if you need to take any at all. Your doctor and pharmacist can also tell you if a supplement would interact badly with any medications you are taking, which may cause health problems.

Medical Conditions May Reduce Absorption

How can vitamins help your body?

Medical conditions that cause a decreased ability to absorb nutrients can result in a deficiency and the need for a B-complex supplement. As you age, you may have a reduction in stomach acid. Diseases, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease, may inhibit your ability to absorb vitamins from food. Individuals who have undergone surgery, such as for weight loss, gastric bypass or removal of part of the small intestine, or patients undergoing hemodialysis for kidney disease, may have difficulty with absorption, according to Mayo Clinic.

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What The Experts Do Healthy Food Instead Of Supplements

I dont take any supplements routinely, says Larry Appel, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. I try to eat three healthy meals a day to get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients I need. How he does it:

  • Plenty of produce. I aim for two or more servings of fruits or vegetables at every meal, he says. I enjoy salads and have one for lunch or dinner several times a week.
  • Low-fat dairy and whole grains. Low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt provide calcium, magnesium, potassium and other nutrients, he says. I have cereal with milk for breakfast a few times a week. And I have yogurt sometimes too.
  • Protein. At home we usually have fish or chicken for dinner. I am not a vegetarian rather, I eat minimal meat, Appel says. Some fish, such as salmon, are a good source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids.

The Benefits Of Vitamins

Even at rest, the body is active. Constantly producing and replenishing skin, tissue, muscle and bone, the body requires fuel. The fuel the body needs comes in the form of food. Food is what provides the body with the essential vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins help the body develop and function properly. Every system in the body is dependent on vitamins. The body can manufacture some vitamins, such as vitamin D from the sun and vitamin K produced in the gut. Most of the vitamins a body needs have to be consumed. The body needs 13 essential vitamins: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the 8 types of B vitamins.

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Mental Clarity May Improve

Vitamins are just as essential for your brain as they are for the rest of your body. When your body gets an adequate amount of vitamins, you may feel more alert. As a part of the role vitamins play in boosting energy production, they also can help to diminish mental fatigue.

These symptoms arent very common, but for those who live with them, they can have noticeable effects. Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can make it hard to concentrate, learn, or remember. Even if you dont have a deficiency, its important to get enough of your daily vitamins and minerals to prevent a negative impact on your mental clarity.


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