Vitamins & minerals
Vitamins and minerals are ingredients necessary for the proper functioning of every body. Micronutrients are supplied with food, but it is often not possible to balance the diet so as to cover the need for all vitamins and minerals. Dietary supplements come to the rescue, which will easily supplement micronutrient deficiencies in the body, contributing to the overall improvement of health and well-being.
Vitamins - what are they and why are they so important?
Vitamins are endogenous substances, i.e. those that the body cannot produce on its own, which is why they must be supplied from the outside, along with food. These ingredients are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Vitamins can be divided according to their solubility, into soluble in water or fats. The first group includes vitamin C and B vitamins. In turn, fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, D, E and vitamin K.
Vitamins do not have nutritional or energy functions, but are essential for the proper functioning of the body. These components act as biocatalysts of metabolic processes in cells, thereby performing a regulatory function. Vitamins are responsible, i.a., for concentration, immunity or the condition of our bones.
Functions of vitamins
While they are all equally important, each of them has a slightly different function in the body. It is worth paying attention especially to those micronutrients that are not supplied with food in sufficient quantity.
Vitamin C takes care of the immune system. t is a component of connective tissue and is involved in the production of collagen. It also relieves the feeling of fatigue.
B vitamins play an important role in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells.
Vitamin A is responsible for proper vision, strengthens the immune system, and also maintains the proper condition of hair, skin and nails.
Vitamin D affects the proper development of the skeleton, maintains the proper concentration of glucose in the blood, also takes part in the calcium-phosphorus transformations of the body.
Vitamin E protects the body against the harmful effects of free radicals, regenerates damaged cells and relieves the symptoms of fatigue.
Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting and important enzymatic processes. Additionally, it regulates the calcium economy.
What are minerals and what role do they play in the body?
Minerals are elements that remain after mineralization of tissues in the form of ash and are not a source of energy.
We can divide them according to the content in the body. The content of macronutrients above 0.01%. This group includes elements such as sodium, magnesium and calcium. In turn, microelements are, for example, selenium, zinc or iron. Their presence in the body is less than 0.01%.
Minerals are also essential for the proper functioning of the entire body. They are responsible i.a. for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, for the transport of oxygen to cells or the functioning of the immune system.
Functions of minerals
There are many minerals necessary for life, but some are particularly important from the point of view of the athlete and the physical effort undertaken. The most frequently supplemented minerals are:
Zinc, which is involved in the metabolism of nucleic acids and protein synthesis. It is necessary for the proper development of the skeletal system, it is also responsible for the good condition of hair and nails.
Iron, in turn, is a component of hemoglobin that participates in the transport of oxygen to cells. What's more, the element has an immune function and supports the work of the nervous system.
Calcium is the building block of healthy bones. It also plays a role in blood clotting and has a positive effect on the work of the heart.
Magnesium helps in muscle contractions, is a catalyst for protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and also regulates bone metabolism.
Potassium, like sodium, has a positive effect on the synthesis of proteins and glycogen. In addition, these ingredients accelerate regeneration after exercise. Potassium and sodium form a sodium-potassium pump that provides cells with nutrients and removes metabolic products.
Supplementation - for whom?
Supplementation with preparations rich in vitamins and minerals should be considered by people with an increased demand for these ingredients.
Certainly one of such groups are athletes and people with an active lifestyle. Under the influence of training loads, there is an increased rate of physiological and biochemical changes. Significant deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can contribute to a decrease in the efficiency of the body and adversely affect the regenerative processes in the muscles.
Supplementation should also be considered among people who perform heavy mental effort, because deficiencies of the necessary ingredients can lead to a decrease in concentration and deterioration of memory, as well as slowing down thought processes.
Also, the elderly should pay attention to covering the need for the necessary micronutrients, because with age the rate of absorption of compounds in the body decreases. People exposed to deficiencies due to concomitant diseases, e.g. osteoporosis, should also consider additional supplementation with missing micronutrients.
Some vitamins and minerals should be supplied to the body in specific situations, e.g. vitamin D should be supplemented by everyone in the autumn and winter, while iron and vitamin B12 should be supplied to the body from the outside, especially when using plant-based diets.
Bioavailability of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are best absorbed in the body when supplied with food. Before you decide on supplementation, try to improve the quality of your diet.
However, if you decide to take supplementation, choose wisely. Avoid vitamin preparations that contain inorganic compounds such as carbonates, sulfates and oxygens. Choose the organic ones - citrates, chelates and aspartates, which are distinguished by much better absorption.
Deficiencies and excesses
Both deficiencies and excesses of vitamins and minerals are dangerous to health and proper functioning.
The body reports deficiencies in many different ways, depending on what nutrient is missing. Thus, when you feel severe calf cramps, most often it means that you are deficient in magnesium, and when you suffer from problems with concentration and feel constant fatigue - you probably lack B vitamins.
It is important to observe your body and meet its current needs. It is not a good solution to take supplements "just in case", because in this way you can lead to an excess of ingredients, and this is also better avoided.
Excess micronutrients are also dangerous. If you exceed the need for vitamin A, you may notice symptoms such as photophobia, nausea or headaches. In turn, after an overdose of magnesium, you will observe general weakness and low blood pressure.
To protect yourself from both deficiencies and excesses of vitamins and minerals, it is worth using a balanced diet and wisely choosing dietary supplements that will provide the body with only the missing micronutrients.
It is not recommended to exceed the servings of the product indicated by the manufacturer. It is also worth paying attention to the composition of the preparations taken, because it may turn out that several different products contain the same ingredients.
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