What exactly are vitamins? People believe that vitamins are good for them, and for that reason alone, many people take them. Some individuals supplement with individual vitamins while others pop a multi-vitamin. How does one know when they have received what they need from their vitamins? Can you take too many vitamins? Which ones? Learn about vitamins, the benefits they offer, and the best way to take them.
Vitamins are, by definition, various organic compounds required by mammals in small quantities to sustain life. Some vitamins aid in the regulation of metabolism. Others prevent disease, help one's blood clot, enhance nerve function, provide energy, and even help the body repair itself from stress. Ideally, all of the vitamins that people require would get supplied through their diet, but in reality, this rarely is the case, which is the basis for interest in vitamin supplementation.
The government has issued recommendations called the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals. While these recommendations are informative, they represent the minimum amount necessary for the maintenance of human health. Soil depleted from decades of factory farming produces food with far fewer vitamins than soil rich with organic matter. With supplemental vitamins, an individual might correct vitamin deficiencies that stem from worn-out soil.
Vitamins have a vital role to perform in the establishment and maintenance of human health. They aid in regulating growth through nourishment. When provided in small doses, vitamins help maintain a host of essential biochemical reactions that occur automatically in a well-nourished body. In far more significant amounts, both vitamins and minerals can sometimes act as natural medications, improving overall health and providing the body with the means to heal.
Vitamin supplementation aims to correct any dietary shortfalls that may be present. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to know what shortfalls might exist without actual blood tests. It is incumbent upon each individual to learn enough about their body's needs and available supplements to have an accurate view of their needs. For example, a vegetarian automatically knows that they need to supplement with B-12. Without eating meat, it isn't easy to get enough of this essential nerve-support vitamin.
Many people take vitamins to correct perceived deficiencies in their diets. There is not a one-size-fits-all vitamin supplement. Although all people need the same vitamins and minerals to experience optimal health, they all won't be deficient in the same vitamins. Vitamin deficiencies occur for different reasons, which, in turn, differ from person to person. These factors include a person's diet, the amount of stress they are experiencing, their medications, pre-existing diseases, whether they are a smoker, and many others. Most smokers are deficient in vitamin C. People who have high blood pressure or take certain high-blood pressure medications often have imbalances in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Many other examples abound and are unique to each individual.
An initial examination of an individual's diet and current state of health helps determine what vitamins to take as supplements. Blood testing can give definitive results but aren't always necessary. Take the time needed to learn your symptoms and to learn the options available to you. Look further than your grocery store's shelves for your vitamins. Quality is essential, where supplements are concerned. No amount of quantity can account for a loss in quality.
Sooner or later, everybody gets around to asking the same question: Should I take a multi-vitamin, or should I try and determine what I'm lacking and take supplements for those missing vitamins individually? People want to know which is better, but the answer is yes to both.1 However, not necessarily at the same time, and your choice of a multi-vitamin over single supplements may change back and forth as your needs change over time.
Each person is responsible for doing their due diligence. Still, it is easy to keep a food diary and then determine the amount and quality of nutrition present in one's diet. From there, study multi-vitamin formations and choose one that seems to fill the majority of your gaps. Then take a personal inventory of your health, and write down your ailments and the improvements you would like to make. Then determine which supplements might work best to correct your complaints.
It is always a good idea to run any change in your diet or vitamin regimen by your medical doctor. The last thing anyone ever wants to have occurred is a vitamin overdose.2 There are fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, and it is crucial to understand the difference between them. Water-soluble vitamins flush from the body when a person over-consumes them, assuming they have functioning kidneys. Fat-soluble vitamins are not excreted but remain in the body. Over time, a high level of supplementation of some fat-soluble vitamins can eventually build up to toxic levels.
A high-quality multi-vitamin serves many individuals well, with additional supplementation in critical areas from time to time. As a general rule, one takes added single supplements only long enough to correct an imbalance and then drops to an occasional or maintenance dosage. For example, suppose one were to get the sniffles. That individual might increase their intake of vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D3, and perhaps take an extra B-complex, all to hasten their recovery. Once they're well again, they stop the supplementation or drop back to a maintenance dose.
As you explore the world of vitamins and supplements, consider the quality of the various available vitamins. Look for companies that offer independent analysis as proof that their capsules contain what they say they do. Work with companies that have legendary customer service. All multi-vitamins are not the same. Know what you need for your optimal performance and health, and then choose the vitamins that most closely match your need.
Vitamins are a powerful tool in your arsenal of health tips and tricks, and you need both single supplements and multi-vitamins at different times in life for various reasons.3 Individuals do well to adopt the attitude of having the right tool for the job because the right supplement is a powerful tool in the person who understands how to use it.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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FedEx is the most reliable and faster carrier, at least for now, but they are expensive. Our FedEx international shipping fee is a minimum of $79.95. It usually makes more sense to get several months of supply (3 months or more) in one order to minimize the shipping expense per order over time. While the added weight of additional items may increase the base shipping price by a little (usually 10-25% depending upon total weight and destination), it is usually not by very much relative to shipping an additional small order later.
We also offer a lower-cost international shipping option using GlobalPost International for $39.95. So far, they have been reliable in getting packages correctly delivered but it takes 2 - 4 times as long to get the package delivered. Packages may take longer to process in the receiving country's customs process and status updates may not be reported as quickly. Please be patient if you choose this option to save money.
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