Select currency:

Our Blog

A-Z Benefits of Vitamin and Minerals

17th May 2016

Image title

It is important to ensure a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Nutrients should be provided by a food first approach and supplements should not replace a healthy diet.


VITAMINS

Vitamins are nutrients required by the body in small amounts, for a variety of vital processes. Most vitamins cannot be made by the body, so need to be provided in the diet. Vitamin D can be made by the body in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamins are grouped into fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Requirements for vitamins change across life stages for example during growth of children and pregnancy.

Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in our bodies and are readily excreted, which means we need some in our diet every day. These include vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the gut with the help of fat and can be stored in the body unlike water soluble vits. Fat soluble vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.

Vitamin A is important for the maintenance of healthy skin, vision, immune function and cell specialisation (important during growth of children). Vitamin A plays a role in the normal iron metabolism and Zinc contributes to normal metabolism of vitamin A.

The vitamin A content of the diet (from both animal –retinol and plant sources-beta carotene) is normally expressed as retinol equivalents (RE). As a precautionary measure, women who are pregnant, or who might become pregnant, are advised not to consume vitamin A supplements. Liver and liver products may contain a large amount of vitamin A, so these should also be avoided in pregnancy as well. The Food Standards Agency advises that, as a precaution, regular consumers of liver (once a week or more) should not increase their intake of liver or take supplements containing retinol (for example, cod liver oil).

B Vitamins: B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in energy metabolism by help turn food into energy. Dietary supplements containing all eight are referred to as a vitamin B complex.As well as playing an important factor in energy metabolism, reducing tiredness & fatigue each vitamin also have other benefits:

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

  • - normal functioning of the nervous system & psychological function
  • - heart health

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

  • - red blood cell maintenance & the normal metabolism of iron
  • - supple skin
  • - maintenance of vision
  • - contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
  • - functioning of the nervous system

Niacin

  • - psychological function & nervous system
  • - maintenance of healthy skin
  • - the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

Pantothenic acid

  • - mental performance
  • - synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters

Vitamin B6

  • - functioning of the nervous system & psychological function
  • - protein and glycogen metabolism
  • - red blood cell formation
  • - function of the immune system
  • - contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity
  • - normal cysteine synthesis and homocysteine metabolism which is important for cardiovascular health

Biotin

  • - macronutrient (fat, carbohydrates and protein) metabolism
  • - functioning of the nervous system &psychological function
  • - maintenance of hair and skin health

Vitamin B12

  • - normal red blood cell formation
  • - functioning of the nervous system & psychological function
  • - homocysteine metabolism- important for cardiovascular health
  • - the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • - has a role in the process of cell division

Folic Acid is classed a B vitamin. Supplemental folic acid intake:

  • - Increases maternal folate status. Low maternal folate status is a risk factor in the development of neural tube defects in the developing foetus. The beneficial effect is obtained with a supplemental folic acid daily intake of 400μg for at least one month before & up to three months after conception.
  • - contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy and cell division
  • - normal amino acid synthesis
  • - blood formation
  • - homocysteine metabolism- important for cardiovascular health
  • - psychological function
  • - immune support


Vitamin C plays an important role in our immune function but it has many other benefits:

  • - contributes to maintain the normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical exercise (doses ≥280mg/day)
  • - normal collagen formation for the normal function of blood vessels, bones, cartilage, gum, skin and teeth
  • - help turn food into energy
  • - the nervous system & normal psychological function
  • - the protection of cells from oxidative stress
  • - contributes to the regeneration of the reduced form of vitamin E
  • - increases iron absorption
  • - contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue


Vitamin D

There are two sources of vitamin D: sunlight (resulting in skin synthesis of vitamin D) and the diet. Vitamin D exists as either vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is widely distributed in plants and fungi. Vitamin D3 is formed from the action of UV irradiation in the skin of animals & humans. There are not many rich food sources of vitamin D. However, dietary sources are essential when exposure to sunlight is limited. Benefits of Vit D include:

  • - absorption of calcium and phosphorus
  • - normal blood calcium levels
  • - healthy bones, teeth and muscle function
  • - immune support
  • - has a role in the process of cell division
  • - In doses of 15µg or more Vit D helps to reduce the loss of bone mineral in post-menopausal women. Low bone mineral density is a risk factor for osteoporotic bone fractures.
  • - Vit D also reduces the risk of falling associated with postural instability and muscle weakness in doses of 15µg or more. Falling is a risk factor for bone fractures among men and women 60 years of age and older.  


Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.  Alpha-tocopherol accounts for 90% of the vitamin E in human tissues.


Vitamin K is required for the synthesis of several of proteins required for normal blood clotting and bone structure. It is synthesised by bacteria in the large bowel and is also present in both plant and animal foods. There are 2 forms of the vitamin, known as K1 and K2.


MINERALS

Minerals are inorganic substances required by the body in small amounts for a variety of different functions. Our requirements for minerals vary with age, during growth and pregnancy, sometimes health conditions (e.g. anaemia, osteoporosis).  Some minerals are needed in larger amounts than others, e.g. calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and chloride. Others are required in smaller quantities (trace minerals) e.g. iron, zinc, iodine, fluoride, selenium and copper.

Zinc is a trace element which has many benefits and functions in our bodies including:

  • - DNA synthesis
  • - acid-base metabolism (maintaining body’s normal pH levels)
  • - carbohydrate metabolism
  • - cognitive function
  • - fertility and reproduction
  • - macronutrient metabolism
  • - metabolism of fatty acids
  • - metabolism of vitamin A
  • - maintenance of bone health
  • - protein synthesis
  • - maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood
  • - maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails
  • - vision support
  • - immune support
  • - contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
  • - has a role in the process of cell division

Excess zinc in the body from very high doses can interfere with copper metabolism.

Iron is an important mineral as lack of dietary iron depletes iron stores in the body and this can eventually lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Women of child bearing age and teenage girls need to ensure they consume sufficient dietary iron as their requirements are higher. Iron contributes to:

  • - formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin & oxygen transport in the body
  • - energy-yielding metabolism & the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • - cognitive function
  • - function of the immune system
  • - has a role in the process of cell division
  • - contributes to normal cognitive development of children
  • - Riboflavin contributes to the normal metabolism of iron
  • - Vitamin A contributes to normal iron metabolism & vitamin C increases iron absorption

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is essential for a number of vital functions including:

  • - maintenance of healthy bones, teeth and muscles
  • - normal functioning of digestive enzymes
  • - normal neurotransmission
  • - help turn food into energy
  • - has a role in the process of cell division and specialisation
  • - contributes to normal blood clotting
  • - Calcium helps to reduce the loss of bone mineral in post-menopausal women. Low bone mineral density is a risk factor for osteoporotic bone fractures. Supplements delivering 400 mg of calcium or more can help with reducing the loss of bone mineral in women ages 50 years and older.  The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of at least 1200 mg of calcium from all sources including foods)
  • - Calcium is needed for growth and development of bones in children.
  • - Vitamin D contributes to normal absorption of calcium and normal blood calcium levels

Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones which are vital for metabolic, physical and mental development. Iodine contributes to:

  • - the normal growth of children
  • - cognitive & nervous system functions
  • - help turn food into energy
  • - the normal production of thyroid hormones and thyroid function
  • - maintenance of healthy skin

Fluoride helps with the maintenance of tooth mineralisation.

Magnesium is an essential mineral present in all human tissues, especially in bone. It has important interrelationships with calcium, potassium and sodium. Magnesium contributes to:

  • - a reduction of tiredness and fatigue & helps turn food into energy
  • - maintaining electrolyte balance which is important for fluid balance
  • - functioning of the nervous system & normal psychological function
  • - muscle, teeth and bone health
  • - protein synthesis
  • - the process of cell division

Selenium is a mineral and a component of some of the important antioxidant enzymes and therefore to protect the body against oxidative damage. It also helps with:

  • - sperm formation
  • - maintenance of healthy hair and nails
  • - normal function of the immune system
  • - thyroid function

Copper is the third most abundant dietary trace metal after iron and zinc.

  • - hair and skin colour maintenance
  • - help turn food into energy
  • - aid iron transport in the body
  • - the protection of cells from oxidative stress
  • - immune support
  • - maintenance of normal connective tissues (found in brain, cartilage, bones, blood vessels)

Chromium is a mineral with its main functions appear to be linked with protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is thought to promote the action of insulin, which controls glucose levels in the blood. One significant characteristic of chromium deficiency is impaired glucose tolerance, which can be improved by chromium supplementation in those individuals who were deficient to start with.

  • - contributes to normal macronutrient (fat, carbohydrate and protein) metabolism
  • - the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels

Omega 3 essential fatty acids:

Omega 3 fish oils containing fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are known mainly for their cardio protective benefits. At higher doses they can help maintain blood pressure and blood fatty acid levels (triglyceride). DHA also helps with maintaining brain and vision health.  We should be aiming to eat 2 portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, anchovies, herring, fresh tuna, mackerel and kippers. Each portion should be typically 140g. If you do not consume fish biweekly, supplements may be able to help. It is best to take fish oil supplements with a meal to help absorption of the fatty acids. Intake of fish oils containing high levels of DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding is recommended for the normal brain and eye development of the baby and breastfed infants.

α-Linolenic acid (ALA) is a vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acid from plant sources such as walnuts, linseed (flax seed), chia seeds and hemp. Studies show our bodies are better at utilising fish sources of omega 3, so we would need higher levels of omega 3 from plant sources.


CHECK OUT OUR OTHER PRODUCTS...

Omega & Fish Oil

Vitamin C

Evening Primrose Oil






SHARE