Last updated: August 17, 2021

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Welcome. Did you know that our body needs essential nutrients in order to develop and function properly? In the same way, it needs them to avoid developing certain diseases. That's why the daily intake of vitamins is so important.

Through a wide variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, among others, we can ingest the necessary quantities that our organism requires. However, it is often not enough, so it is necessary to take them through supplements. These act differently in the body from the moment they are ingested. Some cannot be retained by our system and others can. Each of them has an essential function, so we want to give you all the information you need to choose the vitamins that your body really needs. We hope you find it useful!




Summary

  • Vitamins are essential substances for the proper functioning of the body. These micronutrients are responsible for regulating many of the body's functions, as well as assisting in the production of cells, tissues and chemicals, to name but a few.
  • There are two ways to differentiate vitamins. They can be water-soluble, i.e. water-soluble, or fat- or oil-soluble, i.e. fat-soluble. These differences mean that they function in different ways in the body and are also processed differently.
  • Despite being a beneficial product for your health, it is important to know some factors that will help you to choose the vitamins that your body really needs and that you will be able to take advantage of the most. Here's what they are and why.

The Best Vitamins: Our Picks

Shopping guide: what you need to know about vitamins

Vitamins or multivitamins do not require a doctor's prescription. However, they are products that should be used responsibly and with knowledge. This is why we want to provide you with all the information you need to make the right choice when it comes to choosing the product your body needs to function at its best.

Get all the benefits of vitamins and feel like new (Photo: patrickhastings/ 123rf.com)

What are vitamins and what are their benefits?

Vitamins are micronutrients that are essential for the proper functioning and development of the body. These nutrients are responsible for regulating many of the body's functions. The body is only capable of producing vitamin D, so all other vitamins must be consumed through food or supplements.

Some of the functions that vitamins have in the body are that they help in the formation of blood cells, tissues, hormones, genetic material and chemicals for the nervous system. They also act as catalysts or coenzymes.

Advantages
  • They help to regulate the functioning of the body
  • They provide more energy
  • They help concentration and mental exhaustion
  • They are easy to ingest
  • They are economically accessible
  • There are presentations for all ages
Disadvantages
  • Excessive use can cause health problems
  • Their consumption without supervision can generate intoxication
  • High doses, in the long term can affect other nutrients and cause anaemia
  • A balanced consumption is necessary so that the body assimilates and absorbs them
  • They are not diet substitutes

Vitamins, oil-soluble or water-soluble - what should you pay attention to?

Vitamin intake is a very popular topic. It would seem that because they are natural and necessary components of the body, not much information is required to acquire and consume them. However, it is very important to know how they work and how they act in the body. There are two ways to identify vitamins.

  • Water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins include C and the B vitamins, i.e. B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B8 (biotin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cyanocobalamin). These vitamins are not stored in the body, as they are easily excreted in the urine. It is therefore necessary to consume them daily to meet the body's needs and not to be deficient in any of them.
  • Fat- or oil-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are those that are absorbed in the intestinal tract, specifically in the small intestine, with the fat in food. They pass into the bloodstream and if excess is stored in the body's fatty tissue, and A and D are also stored in the liver. Because they are more difficult to dissolve, it is not necessary to consume them daily. These are vitamins A, D, E and K and can be found in foods derived from plants and animal foods.
Water soluble Fat or oil soluble
Absorption Not absorbed by the body for storage Absorbed and stored by the body
Consumption Daily intake is necessary Daily intake is not necessary
Method of elimination Through the urine Through the faeces

Buying criteria

To know which supplement is right for you and above all for your body's needs, you need to know a few factors that will help you make the right decision. Below we present each of them.

Use

Each stage of the human being requires different amounts of vitamins in the body, due to the different stages of development and physiological needs. For this reason, there are vitamins on the market that are tailored to the needs of each individual. These can be:

  • Vitamins for children. Childhood is a time when physical and mental development is of utmost importance. For this reason, vitamins for children also contain minerals such as iron and calcium, as well as lysine to increase appetite.
  • Vitamins for men. It has been scientifically proven that men have different needs than women. That is why vitamins for men are reinforced with a little more of some B vitamins. This promotes the production of energy for increased performance.
  • Vitamins for women. Multivitamins for women contain a higher concentration of folic acid, calcium and iron, the latter especially for women of childbearing age who suffer from blood loss. Their formulas are designed to combat tiredness and fatigue.
  • Vitamins for pregnant or lactating women. Women in either of these two states require a good dose of vitamins, not only for themselves but for the baby as well. These supplements also contain minerals, such as iron and calcium, which are essential for both. Their ingredients contain a higher dose of folic acid and iodine, among others, which prevent premature birth as well as brain problems, spinal cord defects or malformations.

Components

Each of the vitamins necessary for the body requires other vitamins or minerals to function and be assimilated correctly by the body. We therefore recommend that you make sure that the supplement you choose contains the components and amounts your body needs.

  • Vitamin A. Also called retinol, its functions in the body include helping the immune system, fighting infections by producing white blood cells and improving eyesight in the dark. It also helps to keep the skin intact, as well as the urinary tract, lungs and digestive system.
  • B1 or thiamine. This vitamin has the function of converting food into energy and helps the nervous system to function properly.
  • B2 or riboflavin. Its job is to help the body's cells grow, develop and function.
  • B3 or niacin. The function of this vitamin is to convert fats, proteins and carbohydrates into fuel for the cells to use.
  • B5 or pantothenic acid. This vitamin is essential for many reactions in the body. These include the generation of energy from fats, carbohydrates and proteins, the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • B6 or pyridoxine. Essential for enzyme function. It also influences brain development during the formation of the foetus (pregnancy) and during childhood.
  • B8 or biotin. Biotin is necessary for the function of metabolising fats, carbohydrates and amino acids. It also helps to maintain healthy skin, hair, metabolism and the nervous system.
  • B9 or folic acid. Also called folate when it is in its natural state. It is in charge of cell reproduction and is necessary for the production of DNA and RNA. It is indispensable during pregnancy because it also works on the nervous system and the brain. It therefore helps to prevent birth defects.
  • Vitamin B12. This vitamin is present in the cells of the nervous system and helps in the production of the body's genetic material, i.e. DNA and RNA. It is also present in the process of red blood cell production.
  • Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin is an antioxidant and aids in the production of collagen which helps to heal wounds. It also protects the body from disease through the immune system.
  • Vitamin D. The easiest way to obtain this vitamin is through exposure to the sun. It allows the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus in the right way for a good level of bone mass.
  • Vitamin E. It acts as an antioxidant in the body and protects it from free radicals. One of its main functions is to keep the skin healthy.
  • Vitamin K. It is also known as phytonadione and is important for blood clotting as well as for regenerating scars, bruises, stretch marks and burns.

Helps your body feel better. ( Photo: stevepb / pixabay.com)

Benefits for the body

There are many benefits to be gained from taking vitamins. They act differently in the body and can be reflected in different ways. Here are a few examples.

  • Hair. They improve blood flow, providing greater hydration, as well as strengthening the hair follicles, preventing or reducing hair loss.
  • Nails. They help to have strong and resistant nails. They also accelerate nail growth.
  • Skin. They favour cell renewal, delaying the signs of ageing. As well as helping to moisturise it, they give it elasticity, luminosity and freshness.
  • Bones, cartilage and joints. If you want to avoid developing osteoporosis and have strong bones, your body must get a good amount of vitamins. Collagen also supports healthy joints and cartilage.
  • Brain. In addition to improving mental performance, vitamins help nerve connections in the brain to function properly.

Health benefits

The health benefits of vitamins are not always physically visible as in the previous point. The wonder of vitamins is that they also help the emotional and psychological state of the body. Here are some examples.

  • Memory. The consumption of vitamins helps the memory and delays the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Tiredness. Vitamins help the production of energy through food. They are therefore a good support for combating tiredness and physical exhaustion.
  • Stress. Stress can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Vitamins can help to regulate this imbalance and thus reduce stress.
  • Anxiety. Serotonin is a substance that is generated by vitamins and helps to calm anxiety.

Presentation

The form in which vitamin supplements can be consumed is very varied and adapts to basically everyone's lifestyle. You can also find presentations for the youngest members of the household so that it is much easier to consume them. The presentation does not influence their effectiveness, as they are assimilated by the body in the same way. The difference sometimes lies in the speed with which they are absorbed by the body. You can find them in:

  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Syrup
  • Powder
  • Gummies
  • Drops

(Featured Image Photo: Valentina Gabdrakipova / 123rf.com)

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