How Vital Are Vitamins?

Do you take vitamin supplements to support your health? At Fitter Healthier Life we believe that natural foods  are the best sources to get the nutrients we need, but we recognize that sometimes we may need to supplement our diets. According to Health.com, ensuring that your body is getting the right vitamins and minerals may reduce risk of health problems such as cancer and heart disease. Since this is the case, this is definitely an important topic to spend some time on to live fitter and healthier. In this post we are looking at some of the most common vitamins and minerals, and  which ones are the most necessary in pill forms vs. in their natural forms (ie fruits and veggies). Disclaimer: this post is not intended as medical advice. Please follow your physician’s recommendations first and foremost and be sure to direct any questions about your own supplements to your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Vitamin C: This is one of the most popular vitamin on the market and is often touted for a multitude of benefits. While vitamin C is safe to take as a supplement, Steven Salzberg points out on Forbes.com that taking too much (over 2000 mg per day) can cause kidney stones and other complications.

What to eat to boost your vitamin C intake: citrus fruits, berries, green peppers, broccoli

  • Vitamin D: Also known as the sunshine vitamin, this helps with calcium absorption and supports bone, lung, and cardiovascular health. Many people can get enough vitamin D by having sun exposure on bare skin for about 10 minutes several times a week, as per medicalnewstoday.com. Older adults as well as people with darker skin or those who do not get enough sun exposure may need to add a supplement.

What to eat to boost your vitamin D intake: fatty fish, fortified dairy products

  • Vitamin E: While vitamin E has benefits for healthy skin and hair, research sited on greatist.com cautions against using supplements. Elevated vitamin E levels can seriously impact health as it may increase the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. Most people get plenty of vitamin E in their daily diets and do not need to add more.

What to eat to boost your vitamin E intake: dark leafy greens, wheat germ, eggs, nuts and seeds

  • Betacarotene/Vitamin A: Betacarotene is an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body. It supports healthy immune functioning, healthy vision, and good skin. Though more research is needed, recent studies documented on healthline.com suggest that too much vitamin A may be bad for bone health and may increase the risk of lung cancer and heart disease in smokers. For this reason, try to get your betacarotene from foods rather than pills.

What to eat to boost your vitamin A intake: dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots. 

  • Calcium: Calcium is crucial for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis as we age. Research shows that supplements are not the best way to get your calcium needs met though, so try to stay away from them unless you don’t eat any of the foods that contain it (or by your doc’s recommendation of course).

What to eat to boost your calcium intake: milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, kale

  • B Vitamins: B6 and B12 are important for a variety of healthy functions. Dr. Whitaker says of B-complex vitamins on his site, “clear toxins from the body, facilitate enzymatic reactions required for detoxification, and keep the liver and other organs in tip-top shape.” The NIH suggests that complications are possible from taking B supplements long-term, so people should aim to get this vitamin through food sources.

What to eat to boost your vitamin B intake: poultry, fish, eggs, milk, soy beans, lentils, oatmeal, rice, spinach, asparagus, eggs, avocado

Continue to eat vitamin-rich foods for a complete diet! Have a question or want to leave a comment – please feel free to do so below.

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