Vitamin supplements are everywhere, almost every fitness shop around the world stock them, and people consume them daily. In fact, the New York Times reports that many Americans adults are actually hooked to these products. And many do not even consider the pros and cons of these products.
What are some common types of vitamins/minerals? Should you opt for these supplements or food? Are there alternatives to these products? Why your body needs them and what to watch out for? Once you get this information right then you will be able to make the right choice as in regard to these products.
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are nutrients that your body needs in order to develop and function properly. The word vitamins is actually a colloquial term that includes minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids.
For proper metabolism to take place, your body needs these essential micro-nutrients. Furthermore, through metabolism, your body breaks down food and nutrients to have energy as well as to support other different functions.
Therefore what you eat, i.e. vitamins and minerals, affects your metabolism greatly. Vitamin supplements come in a variety of forms e.g. liquid or solid forms (pills, capsules). Below are some of the vital Vitamins/Minerals needed by your body.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient. This vitamin includes retinol, retinal, retinyl esters, and retinoic acid. It is essential for vision, keeping tissues and the skin looking healthy. Furthermore, vitamin A has an important role in teeth and bone growth as well as in the immune system. Vitamin A can as well help lower the risks of certain types of cancers, such as lung cancer. Generally, taking vitamin A supplements will protect you against cataracts, as well as hair and nails healthy.
Foods sources that are rich in vitamin A include:
Carrots, Sweet potato, Apricots, Broccoli, Winter squash, Beef Liver, Spinach, Sweet red pepper, Black-eyed Peas, Paprika, Collard Greens. Others include Eggs, Shrimp, Fish, Fortified Milk, Butter, Cheddar Cheese, Swiss Cheese.
Side effects of vitamin A
Despite Vitamin A being so helpful to our health, it can negatively affect your health as well if taken in excess. Getting too much is not only dangerous, but it is also toxic. The most common side effects of vitamin A supplements include:
Vision disturbances, joint and bone pain, hair loss, dry and itchy skin, headache, poor or loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include jaundice, sunlight sensitivity, damage to your Liver, confusion, and delayed growth.
Vitamin C is another essential nutrient required by our bodies for strengthening blood vessels and gives the skin its elasticity. Furthermore, Vitamin C may help lower the risk of mouth, stomach, and breast cancers. It also helps in making collagen, a connective tissue that knits together wounds. In addition, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that may damage cells. Vitamin C supplements are also a good immune system boosters.
Foods sources that are rich in vitamin C include:
Citrus fruits – (Oranges, Limes, and Lemons, Berries, Kiwifruit); Broccoli, Sprouts, Green Capsicum, Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Guava, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Blackcurrants, and Grapefruits.
Side effects of vitamin C
Ingesting more than 2,000 mg of Vitamin C per day may lead to gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea
Vitamin B complex comprises of eight B vitamins. They are good for Energy production, immune function, brain function as well as iron absorption. B vitamins help in digestion, healthy appetite, good eyesight, cardiovascular health, and cell health. In addition, B vitamins aid in fetal brain development as well as reduce the risk of birth defects in pregnant and breastfeeding women. In addition, B vitamins are essential in men because it
Foods sources that are rich in B V
Milk, Cheese, Eggs, Liver, Whole unprocessed foods, Potatoes, Beans, Red Meat, Fish, such as Tuna, Mackerel, Shellfish, Chicken, Nuts, and Seeds. Other foods include Bananas, Watermelons, Chili, Peppers, Kidney, Avocados, and Vegetables such as Beets and Lentils.
Side effects of B vitamins
Symptoms of Vitamin B complex overdose include excessive thirst, blurry vision, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, increased urination, diarrhea, and skin flushing. Furthermore, long-term effects can lead to nerve damage which could result in losing control of your bodily movements. However, chances are that you are unlikely to get an overdose of B Vitamins from the food because they are soluble. As a result, they are not stored in your body but excreted in your urine every day. However, an overdose may occur from vitamin supplements.
Vitamin D is ideal for the maintenance of normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which brings about Strong and healthy bones. This Vitamin further helps form our teeth and enhance general immune function.
Foods sources that are particularly high in vitamin D
The best stimulant of this vitamin is the sun. However, you can get this vitamin from Eggs, Fish, Fortified milk, Margarine, Fatty Fish, Mushrooms and Fortified Cereals
Side effects of vitamin D
Too much of vitamin D supplements can cause elevated blood calcium levels, nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite. Furthermore, it can cause stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, bone loss, and kidney failure. In addition, it can cause irregular heartbeat and heart attack, kidney damage, brittle bones, and bone pain. High levels of vitamin D can also promote the release of calcium from the bones into the bloodstream and dehydration.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, it helps in neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. It further protects vitamin A and certain lipids from damage. In addition, Vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It is also good for blood circulation and protection from free radicals, support immune function and prevents inflammation.
Foods sources that are rich in vitamin E include:
Wide variety of foods, including vegetable oils, salad dressings, and margarine that is made with vegetable oils. Other food sources rich in Vitamin E include wheat germ, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, almond, sunflower seeds,
Side effects of vitamin E
Too much vitamin E supplements might increase the chance of developing prostate cancer in men. Furthermore, high doses can cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness. Other effects of Vitamin E include headache, blurred vision, rash, bruising and bleeding.
Vitamin K helps to activate proteins and calcium that are essential for blood clotting (blood coagulation). Furthermore, it may help prevent hip fractures and bone metabolism.
Foods sources that are rich in vitamin K include:
Leafy greens are the best natural sources of Vitamin K these include Cabbage, Spinach, Tomatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli, and other green vegetables. Others include Liver, Eggs,
Side effects of vitamin K
Too much vitamin K can be harmful if you are receiving dialysis treatments due to kidney disease. Furthermore, injections of Vitamin K supplements may cause pain or discomfort. In addition, Vitamin K may cause taste disturbances, dizziness, too much sweating, rapid or weak pulse, low blood pressure (hypotension), and shortness of breath.
Calcium plays a vital role in hormone secretion as well as in enzyme activation. It also helps in the building of strong bones and teeth. Furthermore, calcium helps with muscle contractions and relaxation, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission. Calcium is ideal for the maintenance of healthy blood pressure, as well as protects from cancer and diabetes. In addition, the heart, the muscles including the nerves need calcium in order to function properly.
Foods sources that are rich in Calcium:
Calcium-rich foods include Yogurt, Cheese, Milk, Tofu, Sardines, Salmon, Fortified Juices, and Leafy Green Vegetables, Seeds, Beans and Lentils, Almonds, and Whey Protein.
Side effects of Calcium
Too much calcium can cause, nausea, vomiting, constipation. Furthermore, Calcium can interfere with thyroid hormone replacement treatment and increased thirst or urination. In addition, calcium may cause muscle weakness, bone pain, confusion, lack of energy, or feeling tired. Calcium supplementation can increase the risk of having too much calcium in the blood for people with poor kidney function.
It is ideal for balancing fluids in the body. Chloride is a component of stomach acid ideal for digestion. It also helps to maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and pH of our bodily fluids.
Foods sources that are particularly high in chloride:
Chloride is available in Salt (sodium chloride), Soy sauce, and other processed foods. Furthermore, many Vegetables, Seaweed, Rye, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Celery, and Olives contain chloride.
Side effects of chloride
Too much of chloride may cause chest pain, trouble breathing, nausea and vomiting, swelling of the hands or feet/ankles, tiredness, muscle twitching. Furthermore, calcium may cause confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased or decreased urination, legs discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling and stomach pains.
Our bodies need magnesium for many chemical reactions to take place. Magnesium work with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and regulation of blood pressure. Therefore, Magnesium is necessary to maintain the health of the heart, and for the transmission of electrical signals within the body. It also helps in the building of bones and teeth. Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of hundreds of enzymes. In addition, consuming adequate magnesium might help reduce premenstrual symptoms.
Foods sources that are rich in magnesium:
Green vegetables such as Spinach and Broccoli, Legumes, Cashews, Sunflower seeds, Halibut, Whole-wheat Bread, and Milk. Other include Whole Wheat, Quinoa, Almonds, Peanuts, Dark Chocolate, Black Beans and Avocado.
Side effects of Magnesium
Too much magnesium may cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and respiratory distress.
The main function of phosphorus in the body is in the formation of bones and teeth. This mineral plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It also helps in converting food into energy. In order for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues phosphorus must be present. Furthermore, it helps to filter out waste in our kidneys. It also helps in the production of DNA and RNA ‘our bodies’ genetic building blocks.
Foods sources that are rich in Phosphorus:
Phosphorus is available in a wide variety of foods, such as milk, dairy products, Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Liver, Green Peas, Broccoli, Potatoes, Almonds, and Nuts. However, p
Side effects of Phosphorus
Too much phosphate in your body can be toxic. An excess of it can cause diarrhea, as well as hardening soft organs and tissues. In addition, high levels of phosphorus can affect your body’s ability to use other minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Phosphorus accumulation may further lead to hyperphosphatemia (excessively high phosphorus levels). This happens when there is an elevated level of phosphate within one’s blood. Bear in mind that high phosphorus in the blood can be fatal, to chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients.
Potassium helps to balance fluids in the body. It also helps in maintaining
Foods sources that are rich in Potassium:
Food sources with potassium include Meat, Milk, Vegetables, Grains, Legumes, Bananas, Oranges, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Apricots, Grapefruit and Dates. Others include Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms, Peas, and Cucumbers.
Side effects of potassium
Potassium is likely to cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal gas. Too much potassium may cause burning or tingling sensations, generalized weakness, mental confusion, irregular heart rhythm, low blood pressure, paralysis, or even death.
Sodium plays an important role in maintaining blood volume and blood pressure by attracting and holding water. In addition, it i
Foods sources that are rich in Sodium:
Salt processed foods such as Canned Meat, Fish or Poultry, Bacon, Soy sauce, Vegetables, Pizza, Canned Chili, Salted Nuts. Others include Beans canned with salt.
Side effects of Sodium
Too much salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream. This, therefore, wrecks the delicate balance within your body. Thereby, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove water. This brings about an increase in your blood pressure due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys. If this happens then it can increase your risk of developing, a stroke or heart failure. Too much sodium can further increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, kidney stones, stomach cancer, kidney disease, enlarged heart muscle, and headaches. Too much sodium can also affect your skin appearance. You will have
Iron helps hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells ferry oxygen throughout the body. It is needed for chemical reactions in the body and for making amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, including hormones. Iron is ideally responsible for the red color of your blood.
Foods sources that are rich in iron:
The best source of iron is Red Meat, Offal (Liver), Poultry, Eggs, Fruits, Green Vegetables, Fortified Bread, and Grain products
Side effects of Iron
Iron is essential for life, but iron overload is toxic and can be fatal. Iron overload may also increase the risk of arthritis, cancer, liver problems, diabetes, and heart failure. Our bodies have no easy way of
Foods sources that are rich in zinc:
Rich zinc foods include Red Meat, Poultry, Oysters and some other seafood e.g (Shellfish), Fortified Cereals, Legumes (Beans), Seeds Nuts,
Side effects of Zinc
Too much zinc brings nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. When people take it for too long, they sometimes have problems like low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (“the good cholesterol”).
Chromium helps to improve the body’s response to insulin or lowering blood sugar in those with diabetes. It may help reduce hunger, cravings and binge eating and is needed to free energy from glucose. It further helps to ensure that every cell in your body gets energy as and when needed.
Foods sources that are rich in chromium:
Chromium-rich foods include Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Potatoes, some Cereals, Nuts, Cheese. Vegetables such as broccoli, and green beans. Fruits, including Apples and Bananas, Grape Juice, Milk, and Dairy products.
Side effects of chromium
Chromium in large doses may pose many health challenges. In large doses, it can cause stomach problems, low blood sugar, kidney,
Finally, you need to always remember that eating a healthy diet is the best way to keep your body healthy. Ensure that you are eating a diet that is rich in all the above vitamins and minerals for your body to function well. Furthermore, if you are taking any vitamin supplements and you notice any side effects disconnect use and contact your Doctors immediately. Ensure you read and understand all the details, as well as the instructions, on every label before consuming any vitamin supplements.