We've been taught all our lives to make sure we're "getting enough vitamins". However, advances in technology and fast food are making it harder and harder to keep our bodies in tip-top shape!
For example, did you know that 95% of adults in America aren't getting enough Vitamin D?! (thanks, Netflix)
The world of medicine can seem intimidating, but you don't have to sit around and wait for diseases to happen. Along with a healthy diet, taking vitamin supplements can help give your body every ingredient it needs to function at an optimal level!
And yet, as much as we're told to eat our fruits and veggies as kids, a lot of people don't actually know much about the vitamins they provide. Keep reading to find out which vitamins are important and which brands are right for you!
13 Essential Vitamins
Our body needs 13 different essential vitamins to function properly: vitamins A, D, E, C, K, Thiamine, Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), Folic Acid (B9), and Cobalamin (B12). While these names might sound like gibberish, learning to recognize them can help you better understand those busy product labels at the grocery store.
However, it doesn't end there. These 13 vitamins aren't all absorbed in the same way.
First, you have fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are broken down in the stomach and absorbed into the abdominal fat for a later time. This category includes vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The other 9 vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they're absorbed directly into the cells upon digestion. While fat-soluble vitamins don't need to be replenished as often, water-soluble vitamins are lost every time you urinate. That's why it's so important to make sure you're eating a well-balanced diet with enough variety of foods to include every vitamin you need.
However, if your body has one or more vitamin deficiency, tracking down exactly what you need can be tough. After all, one can only eat so many kale chips in one day. Sometimes we just need a little help.
Types of Vitamin Supplements
Like vitamins themselves, there are also two different types of vitamin supplements that you can find in any store. They differ in both content and the materials used for the capsule or coating.
The first type is called whole food supplements, which are exactly as the name sounds. They are taken from real fruits and vegetables and often juiced or dehydrated in order to create organic extracts.
Synthetic supplements are created in a lab and made of things like rock, chalk, coal tar, or modified bacteria. The casings and coating of the supplements are also synthetic and harder for the stomach to break down.
The benefits and drawback of each type of supplement depend on the individual's health needs. For instance, whole food supplements are more natural and easily absorbed, they may not be as potent as a purer, synthetic alternative. After all, not every apple or orange has the same amount of vitamins.
For this reason, many health supplement brands will mix whole food vitamins with synthetic vitamins. People who are younger and generally more healthy would do better to keep to whole food brands. Likewise, those with specific deficiencies and medical conditions should look for more potent, synthetic versions of their supplements.
Health Industry Jargon
Look at you! You're now one step closer to understanding your recommended daily vitamins! However, the journey doesn't end once you've decided which vitamin supplements you need. After consulting your doctor, you also need to do research on which brands are best.
Not all vitamin brands are created equal. Certain brands can be completely organic while others aren't, as well as more or less generally effective.
You should also make sure that the brand you choose is FDA approved. One of the many functions of the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is to ensure that supplements aren't adulterated or misbranded.
"Adulterated" means that the substance may be harmful, and "misbranded" means that the product's supposed effects are either misleading or completely false. Basically, they've got your back! If a supplement isn't FDA approved, don't bother with it.
There are also a few common acronyms that you'll find during your research and on product labels. Once you understand the, reading them on labels will be as simple as breathing.
The RDA, or Recommended Dietary Allowance, is the recommended amount of a certain vitamin that is proven to prevent malnutrition and maintain a healthy body.
The AI, or Adequate Intake, is essentially the same number as the RDA mentioned above. As long as you're somewhere around that number, you're doing well!
The UL, or Tolerable Upper-Level Intake, is the highest amount of a vitamin you can absorb without the effects becoming negative. For instance, iron is important for healthy blood, but in excess, it can cause diarrhea, constipation, and even liver damage! For this reason, it's important to talk to your doctor not only about which vitamins are generally recommended, but also which vitamins will benefit you specifically.
The DV, or Daily Value, is the number that you'll specifically see on the back of supplement bottles. It measures the largest amount of vitamins your body can absorb in one day when consuming the recommended 2,000 calories per day. It can often be compared to the RDA.
Track Your Health
You get out of life what you put into it, and the same goes for your body. Staying on top of your vitamin intake will help you in both the short term and long term.
Not only will you look and feel better. Getting enough vitamins and nutrients will help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and much more.
One of the best ways to keep track of your overall health is to monitor the glucose levels in your blood, which controls how your body processes sugar. Chronically high levels can lead to diabetes, as well as other severe health complications.
A healthy body isn't achieved overnight, but taking vitamin supplements is certainly a great place to start!
On to you
What questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help!
CEO, Save Rite Medical
Created with a vision of helping customers in anyway possible, Save Rite Medical CEO, Marc Kaplan, created the company and has grown it to become the leading internet provider of medical supplies. Through valuable products to educational information, Save Rite Medical is your #1 resource for medical supplies.