Vitamins are a group of compounds that are used by the body in a variety of biological functions. Unfortunately, unhealthy eating habits and poor dietary concepts have meant that the food most Americans eat today is deficient in essential minerals and vitamins. The situation has been further compounded by the lack of awareness when it comes to vitamins, and people are often unaware that problems they are experiencing can be cured by consuming vitamin supplements. To better understand the role played by vitamin supplements in people's everyday lives and why vitamin supplements are important, it is essential to understand the various vitamins needed by the body.
Vitamin A (Commonly known as Retinol)
Vitamin A is rich in foodstuffs like butter, lemon, sweet potatoes, carrots, collard greens, milk, beetroot, pumpkin, spinach, beef, apple, winter squash, apricots, cantaloupe melon, mango, liver, (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish) eggs, broccoli, and leafy vegetables. Deficiency of vitamin A causes numerous vision related problems and also causes unnatural graying of hair follicles. Cosmetically, Vitamin A supplements are used to improve the texture and strength of hair.
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B supplements are usually a mixture of more than one vitamin and commonly contain Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. Each vitamin mentioned above plays a unique role in the body's functioning and deficiency of B vitamins can cause anything from mental health problems to anemia. B vitamins are also responsible for healthy skin and are recommended to people that are suffering from skin conditions like acne.
Vitamin C (Also known as Ascorbic Acid)
Popular sources of Vitamin C include oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits. Lack of Vitamin C was rampant among sailors in the early 18th century and caused a disease called scurvy. Vitamin C is also a potent anti-oxidant and is known to combat stress; vitamin C is also used extensively as an anti-aging agent. Vitamin C is also an additive to many face creams, toothpastes and other beauty products. Vitamin C supplements are one of the most commonly consumed vitamin supplements on the planet. Although Vitamin C is naturally found in many foodstuffs, processes like steam frying and pressure cooking usually destroy the vitamin C present in foodstuffs like chicken and meat.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for a healthy body; Vitamin D deficiency causes bone deformities and is essential for growing children. In adults, vitamin D is also responsible for healthy kidneys and fighting cancer and tumors. Most multi-vitamin supplements come with the necessary quantities of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is also responsible for healthy nails and skin (as it regulates the calcium metabolism).
Vitamin E deficiency is very rare as even junk food is rich in vitamin E. The common sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils such as palm oil, sunflower, corn, soybean, and olive oil. Nuts, sunflower seeds, sea buckthorn berries, kiwi fruit, and wheat germ are also good sources of Vitamin E. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is also a potent anti-oxidant and is an additive in many beauty products (especially new age anti-ageing creams).
Role of vitamin supplements
Vitamin supplements are an essential means to help the body make up for the deficiency of essential vitamins. As mentioned earlier, people today experience a hectic lifestyle where cooking a nutrient rich and healthy meal is not always possible. A majority of the working class in the US does not have time to cook meals, and a majority of the body's vitamin demands are now met by vitamin supplements. Most vitamin supplements are a mixture of essential vitamins like vitamin C, B and D. unless otherwise prescribed, multi-vitamin supplements are usually the best means of making up for the lack of vitamins in everyday meals. There are also 'beauty supplements' that have vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin D, however it is important to remember excess of vitamins can also be harmful to the body.