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Almost one billion of us take vitamin and mineral supplements, provided by an industry fast approaching two hundred billion dollars per year. But why? Often, it’s because we believe that supplements will cure us our deficiencies, and prevent us from being run down and ill. We believe that they will help us get ahead, and help us to live a better life. We believe the promise of vitamin supplements over the more mundane advice to eat well, exercise often and get sufficient sleep. We believe that popping a multivitamin will cover all bases and make up for all of the things we should be doing but don’t really have the time, energy and motivation to do. And we do so, not only because there are often super fit, Olympic athletes marketing these products to us, but mostly because it’s easy. But do we really need supplements, or is it possible to get enough vitamins and minerals from the food we eat? Let’s find out, but before we do…
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are chemicals which are essential for life. Our bodies can’t make vitamins themselves (with the exception of vitamin d which is produced when our skin is exposed to the sun) so we usually get them from our food. There are 13 different vitamins which can be divided into 2 teams:
*Water-soluble – this includes all of the B vitamins (thiamin -B1, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6 – pyridoxine, folate or folic acid, vitamin B12 – cyanocobalamin) as well as vitamin C.
*Fat-soluble – this includes vitamins A, D, E and K.
Water-Soluble vitamins do not stay in your body. Instead your body will take what it needs and then you will excrete whatever is in excess. Fat-soluble vitamins on the other hand, are often stored in your body’s fat reserves, including in the liver and can build up to toxic levels if you are not careful.
What are Minerals?
When most of us think of minerals, the first thing that often comes to mind is something that you find in the earth, like iron and quartz. This is true, however there are also small amounts of some minerals in foods too. For instance, red meat is a good source of iron. Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.
There are two kinds of minerals:
*Macro minerals – Macro means “large” in Greek (and your body needs larger amounts of macro minerals than trace minerals). The macro mineral group is made up of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur.
*Trace minerals – A trace of something means that there is only a little of it. So even though your body needs trace minerals, it needs just a tiny bit of each one. Trace minerals includes iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium.
Why are vitamins/minerals important?
Vitamins and minerals are important because without them then we can’t see, hear, taste, smell, touch, breath, or do anything else. Vitamins and minerals keep our body working at an optimum. Vitamins and minerals don’t just keep us alive, they are life. When we don’t receive enough vitamins or minerals in our diet, then we become deficient and our body systems begin to fail. This is a fundamental contributor to the vast majority of physical and mental illnesses today, including but not limited to obesity, cancer, heart disease, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
To find out the best sources of vitamins/minerals, what vitamins we should be taking, which vitamins/minerals are safe and not so safe, as well as which ones we can just get from food instead of supplements, then join my revolutionary online holistic health and fitness program at www.holistichealthfitness.com