Vitamins: General Info
Vitamins are necessary substances found in certain foods, mainly fruits and vegetables, and are essential to good health. However, even those who eat only healthy foods don't necessarily get enough vitamins from eating. Vitamin supplements can help to ensure our bodies are obtaining the proper nutrients. Every person should take a multivitamin and mineral supplement on a daily basis in order to maintain good health. Vitamins can help to stave off illness, lower cholesterol, and assist in healing cuts and bruises. Vitamins can also slow down the aging process and keep vital organs functioning. There are even vitamins, such as beta carotene, that have been associated with fighting off cancer.
As with anything, too many vitamins can cause more damage than good. It is for this reason that the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA, was established. The RDA lets us know how much of each particular vitamin we should be taking on a daily basis. In many cases, the RDA for each vitamin can be found in a multivitamin supplement. Those who are lacking in a particular vitamin can take an additional supplement to boost levels. The only one who can determine if you're lacking in a certain vitamin should be your doctor or nutritionist. Before you prescribe doses for yourself, it is best to consult a professional. It is important to note that RDAs vary depending on where you live. The recommended dosages of vitamins and minerals in the United States are not the same as in other countries. Additionally, RDAs vary by age. You wouldn't offer a child the same supplement as you would offer to a 40 year old adult. Women and men also need different vitamins. For example, women's supplements should include higher dosages of calcium and folic acid.
It is also important to note that vitamins do not replace a healthy diet and exercise regime. They will neither prevent illness nor cause you to lose weight. Vitamins should be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, not as a replacement. Doctors and nutritionists also recommend that you obtain the bulk of your vitamins from food, especially fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. If you are confused about the vitamins you should be taking, consult your doctor or nutritionist. Not only will they have recommendations, but they can offer lifestyle recommendations.