Your body needs to get both vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat or by taking supplements. The best vitamin/mineral supplements are broad based, balanced formulations. Find out about the 15 most important essentials that your body needs.
Vitamins are essential substances which are not manufactured by the body. However, we all require small quantities for normal growth and development. Without vitamins our bodies cannot survive. Minerals are needed for the proper formation of bones and blood, regulation of muscle tone, and healthy nerve function. Working with enzymes, minerals allow our bodies to perform their various functions.
Vitamin A – Found in yellow and green vegetables, fish, and whole milk, vitamin A is a fat soluble nutrient. This powerful antioxidant protects the body against stroke, heart disease, cancer, and night blindness. It lowers cholesterol, slows aging, and promotes healthy skin, mucous membranes, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D regulates the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Essential for normal growth, protection against muscle weakness, and enhancing immunity, it plays an important role in thyroid function and normal blood clotting. Vitamin D also aids in the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis and cancers. You can get vitamin D from sunlight, dairy products, egg yolks, fish oils, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin E – A fat soluble nutrient, vitamin E is found in raw nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, milk, whole grains, and wheat germ. Another powerful antioxidant, it protects our bodies against free radicals. Vitamin E helps decrease heart disease, cancer risks, improves circulation, and promotes normal blood clotting. It also decreases blood pressure, reduces scarring, aids in the prevention of cataracts, and maintains healthy nerves, muscles, hair, and skin.
Vitamin K – Essential for blood clotting, bone formation, and muscle repair, vitamin K also helps prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin K promotes healthy liver function, plus it aids in the prevention of cancers targeting inner linings of organs. It is found in leafy green vegetables, safflower oil, soybeans, egg yolks, liver, wheat, and yogurt.
Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, green vegetables, berries, tomatoes, and potatoes contain lots of this powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin, is needed for wound healing and formation of collagen. Providing immune system support, it helps prevent certain cancers and infections. The majority of vitamin C consumed naturally is lost in urine, so supplements are sometimes necessary.
Vitamin B1 – Contained in whole grains, brown rice, legumes, egg yolks, and fish, vitamin B1 assists in blood formation, circulation, metabolism of carbohydrates, plus it optimizes brain functioning.
Vitamin B2 – Dairy products, legumes, spinach, meat, fish, poultry, and whole grains contain vitamin B2. This essential nutrient is required for cell growth, red blood formation, and antibody production.
Vitamin B3– This vitamin is required for healthy skin and blood circulation. It supports a healthy nervous system and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Vitamin B3 is found in brewer’s yeast, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, dandelion greens, tomatoes, fish, eggs, liver, and whole wheat.
Vitamin B5 – The B5 vitamin is needed by all cells. Supporting neurotransmitters and the GI tract, it is helpful with treating anxiety and depression. Vitamin B5 is found in brewer’s yeast, eggs, vegetables, nuts, whole wheat, and beef.
Vitamin B6 – Contained in brewer’s yeast, eggs, fish, meat, chicken, spinach, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ, Vitamin B6 enhances red blood cell formation. It also is used by the nervous system for normal brain functioning.
Vitamin B12– One essential vital for digestion and absorption of foods is vitamin B12. It helps in the prevention of anemia and utilization of iron. Brewer’s yeast, dairy products, kidney, liver, and some fishes contain B12.
Calcium – Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, almonds, asparagus, and sesame seeds are all sources of calcium. Vital for strong teeth, gums and bones, calcium helps prevent cardiovascular disease and lowers cholesterol.
Phosphorus – Needed for blood clotting, bone/teeth formation, cell growth, normal heart rhythm, and kidney function, phosphorus is contained in asparagus, brewer’s yeast, corn, dairy products, dried fruits, raw nuts/seeds, meats, poultry, eggs, fish, and whole grains.
Magnesium – Magnesium is contained in most foods. It is very important for calcium and potassium uptake. Helping prevent depression, dizziness, and muscle weakness, magnesium assists nerve and muscle transmission.
Iron – Stored in the blood, iron is essential for oxygenation of red blood cells and hemoglobin production. Red meats, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains are iron sources. Supplementation is not needed unless anemia is present.