The Vitamins You Need
What they are and how to get them.
Vitamin consumption is more nuanced than most multivitamin companies will lead you to believe. While it is tempting to take one supplement a day to enhance your diet, it’s not actually effective. We break down the most commonly occurring vitamins, what foods you’ll find them in, how they benefit your body, and which ones are worth taking a supplement for.
Although it is not the most common vitamin that you will come across in supplements or in the food you eat, vitamin A is usually associated with benefitting eyesight. Adding more carrots to your diet can increase your vitamin A intake, but don’t count on it to lower your eyeglass prescription.
B vitamins are commonly found in leafy green vegetables. The most common B Vitamins you’ll come across in food or supplements are B-12 and folate. They assist with energy levels, so if you often find yourself fatigued, you could be suffering from a B vitamin deficiency. It is difficult to get enough B vitamins without taking a supplement, so this is one of the first to consider adding to your regimen.
When choosing a B vitamin supplement, there are two important factors to note. First, B vitamins are water soluble—meaning, if you take a dose that contains more than your body can absorb, you will simply excrete the rest. For this reason, it is important to take two smaller doses a day, rather than one large dose. You should also make sure that any B vitamin supplement you take is in a “methylated” form. If it is not, your body will not be able to absorb it at all.
Vitamin C is closely associated with citrus fruits. It plays a role in a variety of cell processes and aids in general body functioning. Typically, you cannot get enough vitamin C from eating citrus fruit alone, so if you’re going to take any supplements, C is a good one to start with. The issue with vitamin C is that because it is so well-known, there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a supplement. It is important to look for vitamin C with bioflavinoid. If it does not contain biofalvinoid, your body will not be able to absorb it.
To Learn More About Vitamin Consumption
Eating a balanced and varied diet will always aid in vitamin consumption but it is not the be-all, end-all solution. The three supplements that almost anyone can benefit from adding to their diet are B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin D. These vitamins are more difficult to get through simply eating a varied diet and they are all beneficial to body functioning in different ways. To start a more personalized regimen, consider getting a lab test done to measure your specific levels.
Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but, rather a hormone. It is also one of the most important hormones in the human body because it helps prevent inflammation and reduces your chances of getting sick. You can’t get it through food, so the best way to boost your vitamin D levels is to spend time in the sun. Exposing your torso to the sun is especially effective because it is where absorption happens most easily. While this sounds like an appealing addition to your daily routine, it’s probably not realistic. The good news is, vitamin D supplements are fairly standard and don’t vary much from brand to brand—so, you don’t have to worry as much about getting an ineffective supplement.
K vitamins occur in two common forms. K-1 is important for newborn babies but not particularly important for adults. K-2 is the form that is crucial for preventing osteoporosis. When taken with vitamin D, it helps the body absorb calcium and promotes bone strength. It is yet another vitamin that you’ll find in dark, leafy greens.