You have probably heard about the importance of vitamins since your childhood.
Maybe you've been encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables by your family or your doctor. And we've all heard about vitamin C in oranges and the risk of vitamin D deficiency in winter. But what are vitamins and how do they work in our body?
In today's blog post we want to take a closer look at these little “builders”, “protectors” and “defenders” of our body.
What do vitamins do?
Vitamins are compounds that our bodies need in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. As our bodies cannot produce most of the vitamins by themselves - vitamin D being the only exception - we need to ensure their sufficient intake through foods or supplements.
There are two types of vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored by the body. Since they are eliminated in the urine, we require a continuous daily supply in our diet.
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and theB’s: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12).
Fat-soluble vitamins are most abundant in high-fat foods and are much better absorbed into your bloodstream when you eat them with fat. The four fat-soluble vitamins in the human diet are vitamins A, D, E and K. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, any excess of fat-soluble vitamins don't immediately leave the body. Instead, they're stored in the liver or fatty tissue for later use.
Besides the essential vitamins our body also needs a number of minerals. Minerals are important for healthy bones and the normal functioning of our hearts, brains and muscles. Some minerals are crucial for making certain enzymes and hormones.
How Vitamin A works
Vitamin A is involved in numerous bodily processes, including the maintenance of normal vision and the normal function of the immune system. Besides that, vitamin A plays a role for healthy skin. That's why it is sometimes used as part of a wider acne treatment regime.
Preformed vitamin A is found in animal products including meat, chicken, fish and dairy. It is known as the active form of the vitamin, as our bodies can use it just as it is.
Provitamin A carotenoids — alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin — are the inactive form of the vitamin found in plants. Beta-carotene is the most powerful precursor to vitamin A.
Our patented AAVALABS formula contains natural beta carotene - a natural source of vitamin A which helps to support normal iron metabolism, immune function, normal vision as well as the maintenance of normal skin.
The term "B vitamins" describes a complex of several closely related water-soluble vitamins that are responsible for numerous vital metabolic functions. Among other things, they are indispensable for energy production, normal functioning of the nervous system and regeneration of muscles and skin.
Here are just a few examples of their complex effects in the body:
- Thiamine (vitamin B1) contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps reduce fatigue and tiredness.
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) contributes to normal mental performance
- Vitamin B6 contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.
- Vitamin B12 has a function in cell division.
Although all B vitamins are unique, their effects overlap and complement each other in many ways. The AAVALABS B Complex contains all 8 Essential B-Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Biotin, Folic Acid & B12.
Please note: While vitamin B deficiency is generally less common, vegetarians and especially vegans should monitor their vitamin B intake, especially vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to very serious health problems and should not be taken lightly. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, but not in fruits, vegetables or grains. In one study, vitamin B12 deficiency affected 86 percent of all vegans.
Vitamin C has long been known to contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system. It's no wonder that many people rely on the power of vitamin C, especially in the winter months.
In nature, vitamin C is found in particularly high concentrations in acerola cherries or rose hips, but also in vegetables such as peppers, cabbage and parsley. There are also some exotic foods that have a particularly high vitamin C content, e.g. the fruits of the camu camu bush, which is native to the Amazon region. And of course, you'll also find vitamin C in your orange juice.
For our vitamin C product we have combined acerola, rose hips, camu camu extract to a real power mix.
In fact, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a rather impressive substance: the water-soluble and vitamin is involved in around 15,000 metabolic processes, including hormone production, the synthesis of nerve messengers and the production of collagen.
A human body produces vitamin D as a response to sun exposure. There are also some foods that contain vitamin D, for example salmon, tuna and eggs.
Vitamin D plays a role in:
Maintaining normal blood levels of calcium
Promoting healthy bones and teeth
Supporting the immune system
Reduction of depression
From around late March or early April until the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from eating a balanced diet.
However, during autumn and winter the sun is not strong enough for your body to make vitamin D. Because it's difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone should consider supplementing vitamin D during the autumn and winter months in order to avoid a deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a number of symptoms like fatigue, muscle pain, hair loss or frequent illness. If the deficiency continues for long periods it can lead to even more serious problems.
People who have darker skin, people who live in northern latitudes or areas of high pollution as well as people working night shifts should monitor their vitamin D levels more carefully, as they might not get sufficient amounts of vitamin D from the sunlight.
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.
As you can see vitamins are not praised without reason. Without vitamins and minerals our bodies would not be able to function.
But here's the thing: This doesn't mean you should start randomly supplementing all available vitamins available on the market. Supplements are meant to complement a healthy lifestyle, not replace it. Many people also falsely believe that taking more vitamins is automatically better.
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