Vitamins are necessary to sustain life. Our bodies do not produce vitamins on their own but rather, we get them primarily from the foods we eat. Vitamins are organic substances, but we do not always eat the right foods, or enough of the right foods, to get the amount of vitamins we need to stay strong.
Supplements are a great way to maintain a healthy body. The two major types of vitamins are:
- water soluble
- fat soluble
Water Soluble Vitamins
The first category, water soluble, includes vitamins such as vitamin A (from beta-carotene), B, and C. These leave the body every day through urination and sweat so they need to be replenished daily.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin D, E, and K (as well as vitamin A from fish oil) are stored up in our fatty tissues so should not be taken high doses. Because most of the food we eat is highly processed, it is a constant battle to get the right nutrients from our meals.
A daily multi-vitamin supplement helps us ensure that we maintain the right amount of vitamins, keeping us healthy and fit. Once established that the body needs vitamin supplements to maintain good health, we can look at what types of supplements are best for you! Vitamins that work best for a growing teenaged girl are not going to be the best choice for an elderly man over the age of sixty-five.
What is the Differences?
Women need more iron than men, for example, because of the blood loss that happens during menstruation. Iron helps build hemoglobin, which is beneficial for anyone suffering from anemia. Folic acid is a vitamin that is beneficial for pregnant women, as it helps with fetal development.
Antioxidants are useful for both women and men approaching middle age. These nutrients reduce free radicals, which are thought to cause cellular oxidation and in turn can accelerate the aging process as well as lead to disease and general poor health. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals caused by toxins and stress as they are created in the body. Examples of antioxidants include vitamin E, Grape Seed Extract, Green Tea, and Alpha Lipoic Acid. “Super Antioxidants” by NOW Foods contain high concentrations of these antioxidants to give you the most benefit.
Many people wonder if vitamin supplements can really make that big a difference in their overall health and daily activity. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins is set to only prevent deficiencies, not to improve daily activity levels. Taking a comprehensive multivitamin geared towards men or women, combined with an antioxidant blend will improve your general energy level as well as your physical health. Multivitamins are by and large quite safe, but it is always best to check with your doctor if you are on any prescription medications as some vitamins may hinder the absorption or the function of certain drugs.
About the Author
Sam Hong is the founder and CEO of NutraPlanet.com, a bodybuilder supplements site that offers a variety of products, such as vitamins like HumaPro, an amino acid blend, and health and wellness products like Cycle Assist.