There are many Vitamins and Minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy and active. I do not usually give nutritional advice to my clients but here is a short article covering some facts about Vitamins B, C and D. These particular vitamins are very important in the break down of food to produce energy. They also help to maintain the health of our bones, muscles and connective tissue.
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Vitamin B Complex
There are eight B vitamins, each with their own purpose and role within the body. These vitamins are important for cell metabolism, normal functioning of the central nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. All the B vitamins we need should be available through our diet. They are water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body so a daily supply is needed.
Here is a closer look at some of the main vitamins in this group:
Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is important for converting carbohydrates into energy. This vitamin also helps with nerve and muscle function by regulating the flow of electrolytes in and out of the muscles. Good sources include Peas, Fruit and Eggs.
Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, helps the body to break down essential nutrients from protein, carbohydrates and fat. This helps the body maintain an energy supply to muscles. It is also important for red blood cell production. Riboflavin occurs naturally in many foods, such as eggs and salmon, but is also made synthetically (E101) and added to Breakfast cereals and some sweets.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is composed of two main compounds – nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. This vitamin helps the body to metabolise fat, glucose and alcohol. Niacin is also though to promote levels of good cholesterol and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Good sources include Meat, Fish and Wheat flour.
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, or folate in its natural form, is an important B vitamin, working particularly well in conjunction with vitamin B12. It helps with the formation of red blood cells, and reduces the risk of central nervous system defects in unborn babies. Good sources include Leafy green vegetables and Liver.
Vitamin B12 is sometimes called cobalamin it works in conjunction with vitamin B9 to make red blood cells and aid absorption of iron. Most sources are animal or fish based so vegans usually need to take a supplement. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause anaemia.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the most important vitamins for immune health, aiding in the prevention of colds and other infections. It also helps with the absorption of Iron which transports oxygen and nutrients around the body in the blood.
Vitamin C is also needed by the body in order to make collagen. This protein is the main component of connective tissues that provided support at your joints. Collagen also plays a part in wound healing so Vitamin C helps to speed recovery.
Vitamin C deficiency is rare in UK but initial symptoms are fatigue, skin problems and decreased resistance to infections.
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
- oranges and orange juice
- red and green peppers
- brussels sprouts
It is also added to some Breakfast cereals and many people take an oral supplement.
The body is unable to store this vitamin so it needs to be taken every day. Excess is usually excreted and causes little or no harm.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. This means that it keeps our bones, teeth and muscles healthy so it is very important.
In UK, from April to September, most people are able to produce all the Vitamin D that they need from exposure to sunlight. However, during the winter months you should ensure that you eat the following foods regularly to maintain your intake.
Oily fish – Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel
Fortified fats and breakfast cereals.
Anyone who does not get much exposure to the sun, even in the summer, for example those who are house-bound, in a care home or those that cover their skin when outdoors may consider taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms.
A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone pain and muscle weakness. It may also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.