The start of the new year brings a renewed hope for those things that have escaped us in the past year. For many of us that means setting resolutions…the most popular of which are, “Eat Right” “Exercise” &”Loose weight”, we thought we would assist you on that journey by sharing a bit of info on the science behind losing weight. Heres or Vitamin and Mineral Guide to assist you with: “What you need to know”
“When your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, it’s far easier to lose fat” – lifetimefatloss.com
That statement summarizes one of the important features of Vitamins and Minerals: there are very good for weight control. However, their main function is to make your body work properly. They provide a boost to the immune system and support normal growth and development. When choosing foods, you should check the accompanying labels and choose those that are high in vitamins and minerals. Supplementing vitamins is not as necessary as you may think; in fact, sometimes too much of these substances can have harmful effects on the body (although iron should be supplemented in women who are still menstruating). Only small doses of vitamins and minerals are needed to keep the body functioning at its optimum capacity. Thus, the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a variety of foods and have a balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can either create health issues or cause existing chronic health conditions to reoccur.
Vitamins are organic compounds (i.e made by plants or animals) that aid in individual’s growth, reproduction and overall health. They work with enzymes to release energy from food that has been digested and they also facilitate the chemical activities occurring inside our bodies. Some vitamins are water soluble, while others are fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins need to be dissolved in water before the body can absorb them. They also cannot be stored in the body and are excreted daily and thus should be taken into the body every day. The water soluble vitamins are the B vitamins and Vitamin C. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue as well as the liver. These include Vitamins A, D, E and K. These are required in smaller amounts since the body already stores them for a period of time.
- Vitamin A
This is a powerful antioxidant; it protects from cancer, heart diseases, and stroke. It is good for skin and eye health and also has anti-aging properties as it eliminates wrinkles and slows aging. In addition to lowering cholesterol, Vitamin A is good for the formation of bones and teeth. It is also good for the immune system and reproduction, important to the development and maintenance of healthy cell growth and aids in the proper development of the foetus.
Recommended Daily Intake: 700 – 800 micrograms
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
This is good for the blood (circulation and formation) and the brain (has a positive effect on learning and other functions). It is also good for energy, carbohydrate metabolism and growth. Thiamine is needed for nervous system functioning, digestion and also for the muscles and the heart.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.1 milligrams
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
This vitamin is necessary for antibody production, cell growth and red blood cell formation. It aids in the conversion of food to energy, it is vital for good vision and healthy skin and has also been found to be good for the nails and the hair.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.4 milligrams
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
This is great for the skin and nervous system. Niacin aids in circulation and digestion, as well as the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also assists in normal growth and development and can treat persons who have high cholesterol levels.
Recommended Daily Intake: 14 milligrams
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
This has anti-stress properties and is therefore helpful in treating depression and anxiety. It provides support to the adrenal glands, neurotransmitters and the gastrointestinal tract and also helps to convert carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy.
Recommended Daily Intake: 5 milligrams
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Good for the brain, nervous system and blood formation. It keeps the sodium and potassium levels of the body in balance and facilitates the production of hydrochloric acid and the absorption of fats and protein. Pyridoxine aids in the growth of cells, boosts the immune system, influences cognitive abilities and helps to make red blood cells.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.3 milligrams
- Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H (Biotin)
This helps in cell growth and the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It promotes healthy hair and skin and also aids in relieving muscle pains.
Recommended Daily Intake: 30 micrograms
- Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)
This is also known as “brain food”, is good for energy and strengthens the immune system by supporting white blood cells. It aids in the formation of red blood cells and in cell development, prevents birth defects and maintains a healthy heart. Folic Acid also assists in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin (regulates mood, sleep and appetite).
Recommended Daily Intake: 200 micrograms (400 micrograms should be consumed by pregnant women daily)
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Great for digestion, this vitamin aids in the prevention of anaemia and is necessary for the digestive process, cell formation, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of protein. It also prevents damage to the nerves, aids in the production of red blood cells, supports memory and learning and enhances sleep.
Recommended Daily Intake: 2.5 micrograms
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
This has antioxidant, anti-stress, anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. This vitamin is good for healing cuts and wounds, provides support to the immune system, good for respiratory issues such as asthma, increases the absorption of iron and also reduces the risk of eye disorders such as cataract. Additionally, it also protects against cell damage, aids in good bone and teeth health and lowers cholesterol levels.
Recommended Daily Intake: 80 milligrams
This is necessary for the health of the nervous system, good for the brain and hormone production, aids in the production of cells in the body and also maintains good liver functioning.
Recommended Daily Intake: 425 micrograms (women); 550 micrograms (men)
- Vitamin D
The only vitamin that can be made in the body, Vitamin D aids in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus and is very necessary for growth. It can not only treat, but also protect against certain diseases such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes and osteoarthritis and enhances immunity while aiding in normal blood clotting. Crucial for the functioning of the thyroids, it is also needed for the bones and muscles and to facilitate communication between brain and the rest of the body.
Recommended Daily Intake: 5 micrograms
- Vitamin E
This has antioxidant properties and reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It is good for circulation, maintains the health of nerves, muscles, skin and hair, good for normal blood clotting and healing and reduces scarring from some wounds. Furthermore, it protects cells against damage and is good for the immune system and DNA repair.
Recommended Daily Intake: 10 – 15 milligrams
- Vitamin K
This aids in normal blood clotting and is also good for the formation and repair of bones as well as the prevention of bone issues such as osteoporosis. It can decrease the likelihood of children contracting infections and also promotes healthy liver functioning. Vitamin K has anti-cancer properties specifically against those cancers that target the inner linings of the body’s organs.
Recommended Daily Intake: 90 micrograms (women); 120 micrograms (men)
Minerals are inorganic substances (come from the soil or water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals) that also contribute to overall health and aid in the chemical reactions occurring inside the body. They are divided into two categories: macro-minerals and micro-minerals. Macro minerals are the major minerals and are either present at large amounts in the body or required in larger amounts in the diet while micro-minerals or trace minerals are either present at low levels in the body or are needed in much smaller amounts than the macro-minerals. The macro-minerals are sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulfur, while the micro-minerals include iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, fluoride, chromium, silicon, vanadium and molybdenum. Although iron is a micro-mineral, it is needed in larger amounts than the other micro-minerals.
This is necessary for healthy bones, muscles and growth. It also enhances the functioning of the brain and promotes alertness.
Recommended Daily Intake: less than 20 milligrams
Great in promoting good bone, teeth and gum health; prevents cardiovascular diseases and lowers cholesterol. This mineral is also needed for blood clotting and muscle contraction, as well as for good for nerve function.
Recommended Daily Intake: 800 – 1000 milligrams
This regulates blood sugar levels and thus is great for diabetics and those watching their weight.
Recommended Daily Intake: 25 – 35 micrograms
Copper aids in the formation of bones, haemoglobin and red blood cells and combines with zinc and Vitamin C to form the skin protein, elastin. It is necessary for healthy nerves and joints, healing, energy, hair and skin colouring as well as taste sensitivity, while it also aids the body in the processing of iron.
Recommended Daily Intake: 900 micrograms
Prevents cavities and maintains good dental health; helps in bone growth.
Recommended Daily Intake: 3 – 4 milligrams
Good for pain, the immune system and detoxifying the body.
Recommended Daily Intake: none
Iodine helps in metabolizing excess fat in the body but is only needed in small amounts. It is good for physical and mental development and is needed for the normal functioning of the thyroid hormone.
Recommended Daily Intake: 150 micrograms
This is an important mineral for growth. It is useful in the oxygenation of red blood cells and the production of haemoglobin and myoglobin and has also been found to be good for white blood cells, muscle function and the immune system.
Recommended Daily Intake: 14 – 18 milligrams
Magnesium aids in the uptake of calcium and potassium, and also serves as a catalyst in enzyme activity, specifically in the production of energy. It helps in the prevention of mental and physical issues such as depression, dizziness, muscle weakness and PMS and also helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular and immune system. Magnesium is also good for building strong bones and teeth, regulating body temperature and for cell repair.
Recommended Daily Intake: 320 – 375 mg
This is only needed in small quantities to help metabolize protein and fat and is also good for maintaining the health of nerves, the immune system, the regulation of blood sugar levels in the body and the formation of bones.
Recommended Daily Intake: 5 milligrams
This mineral promotes normal cell function in the body.
Recommended Daily Intake: 75 micrograms
This is an important mineral for clotting the blood and also aids in the formation of bones and teeth; good for heart and kidney health and helps in normal cell function.
Recommended Daily Intake: 700 milligrams
Potassium aids in the prevention of strokes and works with sodium to control the water balance in the body. In addition, it regulates blood pressure and aids in bone health and muscle contraction.
Recommended Daily Intake: 3500 milligrams
It is an important antioxidant (especially when combined with Vitamin E) that protects cells from damage and helps manage the thyroid hormone. It also lends support to the immune system.
Recommended Daily Intake: 35 micrograms
This plays an important role in the formation of collagen for bones and connective tissues.
Recommended Daily Intake: none
Sodium is needed to help keep the blood’s pH and the body’s fluid in balance. It promotes good functioning of nerves, muscles and the stomach.
Recommended Daily Intake: 2400mg
Sulfur has anti-bacterial properties and also disinfects the blood.
Recommended Daily Intake: none
This is needed for the formation of bones and teeth; also plays a role in growth and reproduction.
Recommended Daily Intake: less than 1.8 micrograms
This mineral is important for the health and functioning of the prostate gland and for the growth of reproductive organs. It offers support to the immune system, helps breakdown protein, fat and carbohydrates and aids normal nerve functioning.
Recommended Daily Intake: 8 – 10 milligrams