The human body is a chemical powerhouse using vitamins and minerals as fuel to grow the body and keep it functioning at peak efficiency. If you’ve checked out the local supplement section at your local store, you’ve noticed there are many types you can choose.
There’s so many out there it can be confusing to know which ones to buy.
What does your body need? You don’t want to just buy supplements willy nilly. The body requires certain vitamins and minerals to function properly and we’ll show you exactly that those are and why they’re important.
When you’re finished, head over to the supplement section and get your needed nutrients.
Vitamins vs. Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are often called micronutrients because the body doesn’t need a lot of them to keep up daily functions. In fact, having too much of some can lead to issues.
While these two compounds often work in tandem, they are distinctly different. Vitamins like B12, A, etc. are all organic compounds. It’s easy to break these down through a variety of means such as heat, stomach acid and even air.
Minerals such as calcium, iron, etc. are not organic. They maintain their chemical structure and are more difficult to break down. Minerals can make into your system through food and other means easily since things like cooking and storage don’t impact them as they do vitamins.
They do work in tandem. For example, Vitamin D lets your body absorb calcium from food instead of leeching it from your bones and Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better.
They don’t always get along though as Vitamin C also makes it more difficult to absorb copper. Also, keep in mind that your vitamin needs change as you get older.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Vitamins come in two separate types: water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins enter the body through the liquid portion of foods and your drinks. Since they’re soluble in water, they go directly into your blood stream and easily circulate through the body. You’re made up mostly of water, so they go together.
The kidney helps regulate the amounts of water soluble vitamins. When you get too much, it sends it through the urinary tract to exit the system.
The B-vitamins such as biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, B6 and B12 are all water soluble as is Vitamin C. These vitamins are necessary to release and produce energy, build protein and make collagen. They also help with the immune system.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins make it into the blood stream as well, but through a different system. When fat soluble vitamins enter the body, stomach acid digests the food and sends it to the intestines.
They are absorbed through the intestinal wall via lymph channels. It’s like an expressway for the body and they even get protein escorts to make sure they stay out of trouble.
While the kidneys handled water soluble vitamins, the liver takes care of the fat soluble. It holds the vitamins and releases them when the body needs them. So, if you get a large intake of a fat soluble vitamin, then it could be weeks before you need any more.
The body needs these important fat soluble vitamins: Vitamin A, D, E and K. These are necessary to build your bones, keep cells healthy, absorbing other nutrients and protecting the body from free radicals.
The Body Needs Major Minerals
Much like vitamins, mineral comes in two distinct types: major and trace. Major minerals are those that body needs a large steady supply of and are important for daily function. Unlike vitamins, there is no one way they are absorbed into the body.
Some, like potassium, quickly enter the bloodstream and excess is removes via urine. Calcium must have a protein escort like fat soluble vitamins. Both are necessary for the survival. You’ve probably heard of most of these as they are the most well-known: calcium, chloride, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and sulfur.
They all have important jobs such as balancing water in the body, building strong bones and stabilizing proteins. There is a delicate balance between the minerals with having too much of one may lead to a decrease in another.
For example, high levels of sodium can lead to water retention. The body needs to get rid of it, so it attaches it to calcium to help remove it.
Small Amounts of Trace Minerals is All You Need
Sometimes the most important things come in the smallest of packages. All the trace minerals needed in the body could be contained in a thimble. Major minerals like calcium can account for a pound of your weight in comparison.
Trace minerals include: copper, fluoride, iron, iodine, zinc, selenium, molybdenum, manganese, and chromium. These tiny powerhouses have important jobs. Iron help oxygen circulating through your body. When you get a cut, zinc helps the blood clot to stop the bleeding. You only need a very small amount, but without them life would be short.
Keep Your Levels Regulated
Both vitamins and minerals have important jobs that help keep the body running smoothly. Too much or too little can have negative consequences, but it can be hard to get everything you need through diet alone.
Check with your doctor and see how you’re levels are and determine if supplements might be in order. If you’re body has serious deficiencies, then supplements can help bring those levels up. Don’t risk your health and keep your levels up.
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