Vitamins and minerals are our bodies’ warriors. They are like law enforcers ensuring everything runs smoothly. The body needs vitamins and minerals to stay in check and for optimum functioning.
All these are referred to as micronutrients in the larger classification of nutrients. Micros are needed in much smaller portions compared to macros which are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Their required quantity, however, isn’t a reflection of their importance in the body. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for your diet and your body. True, you may not die for a deficiency in judging for only a week but for your everyday wellbeing, these are vital.
Vitamins and minerals optimize several systems in the body, activate various enzymes and ensure you are not a bag of bones and mass only.
Vitaminfood, judging upfront from the name, prioritizes nutrition above all and vitamins and minerals are one such area. Our vegan food solutions all have 27 essential vitamins and minerals incorporated in them.
The necessity of vitamins and minerals has been stressed by dieticians and nutritionists but can probably not be stressed enough. There is good enough reason for all those studies and emphasis on essential vitamins and minerals by these professionals.
Let’s dive deeper into all the essential vitamins and minerals together and see what Vitaminfood has to offer; spoiler alert, Vitaminfood offers every nutrient discussed below. All in the recommended daily intake per serving.
You are already thinking of fruits & veggies.
Vitamins are an incredible fortification, especially for your immune and response systems. And fruits & vegetables are very good sources for sure. Vitamins are organic compounds that have to be sourced from your food.
The fact that you cannot produce vitamins in your body like you can with proteins is compelling you to get them from your food. You have to be skeptical about the nutritional value of what you eat. If not you are going to be deficient sooner than you are expecting.
Vitamins are divided into:
- Water-soluble vitamins
- Fat-soluble vitamin
1. Water soluble- Vitamin C and the B vitamins: thiamin(B1), riboflavin(B2), niacin(B3), pantothenic acid(B5), pyridoxine(B6), biotin(B7), folic acid(B9) and B12(cobalamin)
These water-soluble are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, circulate easily while dissolved in plasma. The kidneys regulate the levels of water-soluble vitamins in the blood by excreting the excess in urine. This makes it quite rare to have toxic amounts.
However, this also means that you have to replenish frequently with varied sources to have a good overall vitamin portfolio.
It is still important to note that you can have a large reserve for some of these vitamins in the liver e.g Vitamin B12.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the multi-purpose vitamins. Many animals can synthesize it from glucose but humans and a few other mammal species cannot.
It is useful for healing wounds by keeping the wound moist, shortens the duration of colds and acts as an enzyme cofactor for up to 11 unique enzymes.
Increased non-heme iron absorption is another benefit. Non-heme iron is only found in plants and is what most vegetarians and vegans utilize; it is however not readily absorbed but Vitamin C helps with that.
Vitamin C is also in high concentration in gastric juice; a digestive juice in the stomach. It prevents the formation of mutagenic nitroso compounds. This significantly lowers the risk of gastric cancer. This holds tor oral cavity, digestive tract and lung cancers too.
Its absorption requires sodium so ensure that you have adequate amounts too; it is however very rare to get sodium deficiency.
- The B Vitamins
This group of vitamins are mostly used in coenzyme functions but have vitamin specific roles too.
Deficiency: beriberi and polyneuritis
Thiamin is used in:
- energy metabolism from carbohydrates and branched amino acids
- growth of cells.
Generally promotes energy usage.
Deficiency is associated with alcoholism as alcohol lowers its absorption rate.
Deficiency: ariboflavinosis, cheilosis, dermatitis, angular stomatitis
- coenzyme functions in neural and digestive system enzymatic activity.
- Coenzyme in numerous oxidation and reduction reactions involved especially in the break down of fats. ( forms FAD- flavin adenine dinucleotide)
It is recommended for your mornings.
Deficiency: dermatitis, pellagra with diarrhea and dementia
Used as a:
- Co-substrate in hydrogen transfer or reactions involving hydrogen compounds.
- Treat high blood cholesterol levels
- Pantothenic acid
Deficiency: Nausea, rapid heart rate, anorexia, impaired organ coordination and sleep disturbances.
This is probably the least detectable vitamin.
- It is used as a coenzyme in cell metabolism(a constituent of Coenzyme A). This is involved in fatty acid metabolism.
- Pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal
Deficiency: epileptic form convulsions in infants, skin changes(glossitis and cheilosis, nervous dysfunction.
- This is a major enzyme cofactor involved in over 100 different reactions because of its high work rate and turnover.
- Adequate amounts over one's life lead to reduced late-life depression.
Note; if you are deficient in this, you are probably deficient in more Vit B. Deficiency in pyridoxine is a rare occurrence though not impossible.
Deficiency: nausea, fatigue, depression, muscular pains
- Used as a coenzyme in reactions that involve carboxylation. These reactions form compounds that are later converted into keratin for nails and hair.
It is therefore useful for healthy hair and skin which are formed from keratin.
- Folic acid
Deficiency: folate deficiency anaemia
B9 is recommended for women of child-bearing age who are fertile.
It is useful in preventing neural tube defects. This promotes spinal code growth for children and fetus alike,
- Vitamin B12
Deficiency: Massive central nervous system malfunction (numbness, difficulty walking), yellowed skin, memory loss.
- This is a primary requirement for energy metabolism
- It is also useful in red blood cells formation and a healthy bone marrow where red blood cells are produced.
- B12 is also administered to cure aches and megaloblastic anaemia.
Vegetarians and vegans are listed as the top classes of people likely to have a deficiency. This is because very few plants have the enzymes necessary for B12 formation.
- Fat- soluble – Vitamin A, D, E and K
Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed into the body in the small intestines through the lacteals and lymph channels.
They have protein covers as carriers during transportation.
Excesses of these fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fat tissues thereby maintaining a reserve for them.
- Vitamin A
Deficiency: Night blindness
- Vit A is useful in maintaining visual acuity and especially for night vision. It nourishes and services the retina which is responsible for visual clarity.
- It is likewise important for healthy bones, a robust immune system and healthy pregnancy(fetal development).
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is not easily obtained from diets except for seaweed, some fish e.g salmon, tuna and crustacean lobster.
It is readily synthesized by our skin in the presence of ultra violet B rays(UVB). UVB are from the sun between 10 a.m to 2 p.m. This sun could however scotch the skin and the rays increase skin disease risks. These both make it difficult to synthesize Vitamin D as sunscreen shields the skin from producing the rays.
You can however put on light and dark colored sleeved shirts and pants when going out at these times.
Vitamin D is useful in:
- increasing the absorption of calcium in the stomach.
- Hormone properties; Vit D is more than just a vitamin. Recent studies have shown that it has hormonal properties
- Cardiovascular and immune system health.
- Vitamin E
It has very high antioxidant properties.
- This makes it vital for cell protection as a free radical detoxifier. Vitamin E readily neutralizes free radicals by stabilizing them.
- Vitamin E also promotes healthy skin growth, absorption of Vit A and reproduction and fertility health, red blood cell formation and utilization of calcium by the body.
- Vitamin K
We bleed and then the bleeding stops naturally especially for trivial external injuries.
Vitamin K is key to the clotting process and to the production of prothrombin which is a coagulant factor. Prothrombin is then converted to a serine thread-like compound that seals the wound.
Summary of vitamins.
The various vitamins are all vital for the body and a necessity for day to day survival. They keep all the systems and organs in the body in check. From optimization for optimal function to coordination and activating the reactions, vitamins are the true key to our bodies’ functionality.
In the first section, we have covered vitamins which are organic carbon-containing compounds. Minerals on the other hand are inorganic compounds with a simple basic formula and longer lifespan than vitamins.
There are 16 essential minerals as outlined here.
Deficiency: Osteoporosis; bone thinning.
Well, let’s begin with the most common one which is strong bones and teeth. Calcium is directly involved in bone development as a bone component. Inadequacy makes your bones fragile and weak; a condition referred to as bone thinning.
Calcium maintains your skeletal intergrity.
Reserves for calcium are obtained from the bones but only for a limited time before its side effect start appearing.
Calcium is also important for cardiovascular health and blood pressure regulation, blood clotting as activators for coagulation factors, muscle contraction, nerve impulses.
Iron is an important element in respiration. It is used in the production of haemoglobin and myoglobin which are the oxygen-transporting compounds in plasma and muscles respectively.
Iron also activates enzymes involved in the synthesis of some amino acids.
Calcium, consumed as salt or in dairy products interferes significantly with the absorption of both haem and non-haem iron.
There are two types: the heme iron- found in animal products and easily absorbed but linked to increased cancer risks. Then the non-heme iron, found in plant sources, healthier and easily absorbed in the presence of vitamin C.
Useful in maintaining blood sugar levels as it affects the functioning of insulin produced from the pancreas. It has an effect of increasing the rate of metabolism thus using up blood sugar.
It is also administered to control blood pressure, especially in overweight patients.
Iodine is a major player when it comes to thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are in turn major controllers of cell metabolism in conjunction with adrenaline.
Thyroid hormones also control certain aspects of growth.
Copper is a great reducing agent that sweeps free radicals and improves the metabolism of fuel.
It is also vital in red blood cell formation in the bone marrow and neurotransmissions.
The uses for magnesium include:
- Healthy bones and teeth development.
- Blood pressure and sugar regulation
- Muscle contraction
- Nerve impulses transmission
- Blood clotting
- Sleep and fatigue inducement
- Activation of up to 30 enzymes
Magnesium is one of the minerals found in larger quantities in the body and a deficiency would cause significant and easily observable symptoms.
Manganese is useful in the control of cholesterol and oxidation of carbohydrates in the body and metabolize amino acids and bone development.
This is an enzyme activator for the detoxification of toxic substances from the body.
The toxic waste being detoxified includes sulfites and oxidases.
Potassium is required for heart health. Studies have proven that adequate amounts of potassium help prevent the risk of getting stroke and heart attacks. It stabilizes the heart rate.
Also useful for muscle contractions and fluid balance by regulating the kidney uptake of fluids back into the body.
Bananas are really good sources and our banana flavor might just be the perfect source for your potassium intake.
Deficiency: Erectile dysfunction in men, retardation, delayed sexual and bone maturation, skin lesions, diarrhea alopecia, impaired appetite, increased susceptibility to infections mediated via defects
in the immune system, and the appearance of behavioral changes.
- Zinc is central and highly linked to male reproductive health.
- It boosts immunity and improves wound healing when coupled with Vitamin C, stabilizes the structure of cellular components and membranes.
- Zinc is used in DNA and protein synthesis as well as cell division
Sodium just like potassium is directly involved in nerve impulses as a neurotransmitter. This function is also extended to muscle contraction.
Sodium also influences osmotic pressure thus necessary for fluid balance.
Its control over the blood volume is a significant role and affects blood pressure.
- Selenium is oxidative thus making it a natural antioxidant.
- It reduces mental decline and prevents premature decline.
- Selenium is also necessary for thyroid function,
- Also protects the heart and prevents certain cancers.
- Together with calcium, phosphorous is involved in the calcification of bones.
- Its ion is useful in acid/basis balance by forming basic ions(OH-)
- Soft tissues and the enzymatic reaction in these tissues are also dependant on phosphorous.
Vitaminfood is your one stop solution for getting all these benefits and ensuring that your vitamins and minerals reserves remain within healthy limits. At times it can be tiresome to always be worried about your nutritional density. With Vitaminfood, you can go wrong nor be on the wrong side.
Grab yourself a meal replacement or protein shake and set up a subscription plan to end your strife. Vitaminfood is the right fuel for a good feeling.