Lots of people take their vitamins because they read something that says they should take them. We decided that it was time to get to the base of vitamins. What they are, how they work and what makes them genuinely good for you?
Not many people actually know much about supplements, and how they work, so we’re going in detail to help you understand why vitamins are, which ones your body actually needs, and if you need to be taking supplements for them.
What are vitamins anyway?
In 1922, Dr. Casimir Funk published a book about his theories regarding vitamins. At the time, he thought they were all nitrogen compounds, so he called them “vital amines.” While it turned out that not all vitamins are nitrogen compounds, the name stuck, so the “e” was dropped, and we have had vitamins ever since.
Vitamins, specifically, are molecules that the body needs to be able to carry out certain functions. Essentially, the enzymes that the body needs to perform actions; such as create healthy cells, come from certain vitamins.
At this time, there are 13 essential vitamins. Some of them are fat soluble, and others are water soluble. Water soluble vitamins are flushed out with urine so they will need to be taken more often. Fat soluble vitamins can often be stored in the liver.
Vitamins A, E, D and K are all fat soluble. This means that it’s most often recommended that they be taken with a meal, and are often stored in the fat stores of the body and also can be found in the liver.
Vitamins B1, 2,3,5,6 and 12; as well as Vitamin C, Biotin and Folic Acid are water soluble. The body does not store these vitamins as it does fat soluble vitamins, so it may be necessary to take these more often as the body does not store these vitamins.
How they’re made
When many people think of taking a supplement, they assume it is lab created, or artificial, but this isn’t always the case. There are different methods for making essential supplements.
While we’ll get more into the procesess in the second of the vitamin series, according to Precisionnutrition.com there are six different types of vitamin supplements that people can look for:
- Strictly synthetic: These supplements are all lab created.
- Bacterial fermentation: Genetically altered bacteria can create nutritional byproducts
- Food based: Synthetic and natural nutrients are reacted with vegetable protein extracts.
- Nature identical synthetic: lab created vitamins that have the same molecular structure as natural vitamins.
- Natural: these vitamins come from natural sources, but are processed.
- Food cultured: this process involves “growing” vitamins on algae or yeast.
In the next of the series, we’ll talk more about the different types of vitamins, and how each one works to provide the body with optimal nutrition, and what supplements can actually do for your health. Until then; stay healthy, live happy, and take each day as if it’s your first – and your last.