Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary to sustain life. Vitamins cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements.
Vitamins play a crucial role in a variety of bodily functions and influence the health of nearly every organ in the body. Vitamins stimulate the chemical reactions responsible for converting food into energy, growth, digestion, elimination, wound healing and resistance to disease. Without vitamins, many bodily processes necessary for sustaining life would occur very slowly or cease completely. Vitamin deficiencies can result in specific nutritional disorders such as scurvy and beriberi and general health problems.
There are some medical conditions that can result in vitamin deficiencies. Coeliac disease and regional enteritis can prevent the absorption of vitamins. Other conditions which may cause vitamin deficiencies include, prolonged intestinal infection, fever and/or diarrhoea, pancreatic disease, liver disease, burns, severe wounds, surgery, cancer, AIDS and kidney disease.
Certain genetic health conditions and lifestyle factors may increase the need for the intake of certain vitamins. These include, alcoholism (increases the body's demand for B Group Vitamins), pregnancy (demands optimum levels of folic acid), smoking (increases the body's demand for Vitamin C) and pernicious anaemia that may require Vitamin B12 supplementation.
Women who are considering becoming pregnant or who are already pregnant should take a folic acid supplement (B vitamin) every day to prevent neural tube defects. The recommended daily dosage is 500mcg or 0.5mg of folic acid.
FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS
Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E and K and are found in the fatty or oily part of both vegetable and animal foods. With an excessive intake, it is possible for toxic levels of fat soluble vitamins to build up in the body. Vitamin A, for example, can cause birth defects if more than the recommended dose is taken over a period of time. This is because, unlike water soluble vitamins, the fat soluble type can be stored in body tissues. For this reason, to maintain health, foods high in fat soluble vitamins may be consumed less frequently than those high in water soluble vitamins.
WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS
Water soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and the B Group Vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine and not stored in the body so it is important to include vegetables and fruits regularly in the diet. Water soluble vitamins are less heat stable than the fat soluble variety and are more likely to be lost during cooking and processing. Thus, people with a diet that is high in processed and highly cooked foods may not be consuming enough Vitamin C or B Group Vitamins to maintain good health.
VITAMIN A FUNCTIONS
Liver, fish liver oils, eggs, full cream dairy products, dark green vegetables, deep yellow coloured fruits and vegetables.
B GROUP VITAMINS FUNCTIONS
Complete B group vitamins found in brewer's yeast, liver, the germ and bran of cereal grains, beans, peas, nuts, milk and leafy green vegetables.
VITAMIN C FUNCTIONS
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits etc. Rosehips, acerola cherries, berries, melons, tomatoes, broccoli, green and red peppers, dark green leafy vegetables etc.
VITAMIN D FUNCTIONS
Milk, fatty fish (Salmon, mackerel), cod liver oil, fish liver oil, some breads and cereals and egg yolks.
VITAMIN E FUNCTIONS
Vegetable and seed oils (soybean, safflower, sunflower and corn oils etc), nuts and seeds, whole grains and wheat germ. NOTE: Two types of Vitamin E are available as nutritional supplements. Naturally occurring Vitamin E (commonly known as d-alpha-tocopherol) is maintained in the human blood circulation. Synthetic Vitamin E (commonly known as dl-alpha-tocopherol) is not maintained in the human blood circulation and is often a cheaper but less effective vitamin supplement.
VITAMIN K FUNCTIONS
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, spinach, soybeans, lettuce, pork, liver, egg yolk, safflower, canola, olive and soybean oils, alfalfa, blackstrap molasses, yoghurt.
Always consult your Wizard Wellness Practitioner to advise you on dosages and any possible interactions. Vitamin supplements are not an equivalent substitute for a proper balanced diet.
The maintenance dose refers to the daily amount required of a vitamin to prevent deficiencies and maintain health. The therapeutic dose is the dose required to boost the body's immune system and the mechanisms involved with healing and recovery. Therapeutic doses of Vitamins A, C and E, for example, may help to prevent the common cold and improve recovery time.