All about vitamins

I don't know about you, but whenever commercials are playing on TV I start to feel unhealthy. Ads about everything, ranging from carbs making you fat to shoes that will help you to loose weight. But what seems to be a real booming business is the little bottle with pills that will make your life even better…called vitamins. Who has time to to cook a well balanced meal everyday to ensure they get everything they need to stay healthy. Well, these tiny things will help you out…or will they?

First thing to be said is that vitamins & supplements will never ever substitute a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended to eat two pieces of fruit and 7 ounces of vegetables each day. This sounds easy, but weigh your veggies everyday, and you might find out it is not as much as you thought it would be. If you have a eating pattern consisting of the same thing over and over, you might get a deficiency in one or more vitamins. Therefore, taking supplements might not be a bad thing after all. 

Vitamin A
This vitamin is found in fruits like oranges and lemons, in milk & eggs, and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause (on the long term) loss of vision and inability to fight infections. If you live in a developed country you will most likely not have any trouble getting enough vitamin A. The deficiencies are mostly found in children growing up in developing countries.

Vitamin B
This is a vitamin I struggle with myself being a vegetarian. This group consists of 8 different  groups (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) and each have their own benefits. This vitamin can be found in products that are not processed. It is found in meat, tuna, beans, potatoes and bananas. If you are vegan or vegetarian you might want to consider taking B12. This vitamin is found in animal products only, so consulting with your doctor or pharmacists might be a good idea. 

Vitamin C
This is a well known vitamin found in citrus fruits and will help your immune system to stay strong. That is why this one is always recommend in winter time. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause scurvy. This disease is almost not found in the west, as it is not difficult to eat too little vitamin C. Be careful not to overdose with this one, it can cause fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and headaches. 

Vitamin D 
A well known source of vitamin D (not D2 or D3) is the sun. It's said that 20 minutes in the sun will give you your daily dose. (Make sure to protect yourself to skin cancer). It has a big influence on your immune system and getting enough will help prevent the seasonal affective disorder and depression. If you live close to the poles you might struggle in wintertime and feeling down..maybe this is what you need. 

Next to these vitamins with (I did not mention E & K, deficiency not that common) there are more supplements you can take for particular benefits, below are some common ones.

A deficiency of magnesium can cause many many things; migraines, not sleeping well, loss of memory, loss of energy, malaise, depression anxiety and PMS. Because there are so many symptoms it is always a good idea to discuss this with your doctor before you start taking it. If you are under a lot of stress or have a plain eating pattern this might be causing you to feel the way you do. 

A deficiency of zinc can be quite common, up to 2 out of 5 persons deal with this. Vegans, vegetarians, diabetics and pregnant/breastfeeding women are most likely to get too little zinc. Zinc can be found in meat, fish, whole grains, chess and beans. Too little can cause you to be more prone to infections and develop night blindness. 

Fish Oil
This is pretty much what it says, oil from the tissues of fish, and contains omega 3. It comes from herring, sardines, mackerel and salmonIt's been proven that it can reduce risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases. It can reduce your blood pressure and improve your mental health.

Iron which is easy picked up by your body is found in animal products. Just like B12, vegans and vegetarians can consider taking this as a supplement. Women on their period or whom are pregnant can be prone to get a deficiency in iron. Furthermore it can result in fatigue, restless legs and fair skin. If you can find yourself in the symptoms, you might want to get your blood checked out. Having a deficiency in iron can have a severe influence on your daily life. 

Reminder, if you have been feeling tired or not too well, it doesn't have to do with an imbalance of vitamins. Taking supplements will not always be the solution for how you are feeling. A visit to a doctor or pharmacist might be helpful and they can recommend which one to take. 

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