Why do I need vitamins?
Vitamins are those organic substances that we designate alphabetically all the way from "A" to "K." They are available in a variety of foods and also from supplements.
You need vitamins to be healthy and to feel good. Together with the other nutrients, Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Minerals and Water, they help keep your body working properly. Each vitamin has a significant role to play in your total good health.
What if I don’t get enough?
Without enough Vitamin A, your skin and vision will suffer.
Without sufficient amounts of the B vitamins, you will not have the energy to do the things you want to do each day.
If you are missing Vitamin C, your gums will bleed and your wounds will not heal.
A lack of Vitamin D will make your bones frail, and a lack of Vitamin D has recently been linked to some kinds of cancer.
If you don’t get enough Vitamin E, you may feel tired, and studies suggest that you will be more susceptible to certain diseases.
Without sufficient amounts of Vitamin K, your blood will not clot and your bones will be frail.
These are some of the things we know about the need for vitamins, but there are probably other important roles that we have yet to discover.
How much do I need?
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for vitamins varies based on age and gender, with a separate recommendation for pregnant and lactating women. It is difficult to say exactly how much is needed because there are so many variables besides the obvious ones of age and gender.
Each of us is a unique individual, and the availability of nutrients from the foods we eat, or even from a supplement will vary based on individual factors. The amount we absorb can be affected by our overall health and nutritional status. It can also be affected by how the food is stored and prepared and by foods that we eat at the same time. The RDA tries to take all of these factors into account, but it is still, at best, a general guideline.
For the specific RDA, please click on the link for that vitamin.
Food is the best source of vitamins.
It is generally agreed that the best way to get nutrients into your diet is from the foods you eat. Even if you take a supplement, the idea is to do just that—supplement—the foods in your diet, not replace them.
Too much of a good thing.
It is also important to be aware that the flip side of vitamin deficiency is vitamin overdose, which can lead to its own set of health problems. This is less likely to happen if you get your vitamins from eating a healthy, balanced diet made up of all of the food groups.