Vitamins and minerals are crucial for the overall health of our body. As such, they are important nutrients that, with the exception of vitamins D and K, cannot be produced by the body itself and so we depend on our food for absorption.
Thus, there are 13 different vitamins and 14 minerals that our body needs. Did you know that vitamins can be divided into two different groups? You have the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K and water-soluble vitamins. The latter are all the B vitamins and vitamin C. Minerals, in turn, can be divided into minerals and trace elements. This depends on how much of them the body needs.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency?
Vitamin and mineral deficiency is often accompanied by fatigue but there are other symptoms that can rear their heads both in the short and long term. For example, our immune system also needs several vitamins and minerals to work properly, think zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate and vitamins B6 and B12. Deficiencies of one or more of these nutrients can therefore lead to decreased immunity. In the long run, a long-term deficiency of vitamin D and/or calcium can cause weakened bones, eventually resulting in osteoporosis. But also our mental health depends on several vitamins (B1, B3, B6, B12, folate and biotin). So it is definitely recommended to have a check-up of the status of the various vitamins and minerals in the body on a regular basis. This can be done by a simple blood analysis for which you can ask your doctor
A versatile and healthy diet usually provides a balanced supply of vitamins and minerals but there are some points to consider.
- The large and constant supply in supermarkets has caused fruit to contain fewer vitamins than in the past. Because in order for fruit to be fresh in the store, it is picked unripe which is very detrimental to, for example, the amount of vitamin C, as the natural ripening process on the plant is crucial for this.
- A growing world population combined with economic aspects has resulted in the selection and cultivation of crops with higher yields. However, this is not accompanied by more nutrients, on the contrary.
- Even in the meat industry, yield is often central where the animals are fed grains and get hardly any exercise. As a result, the meat contains more water and antibiotics and fewer nutrients than wild meat.
- Many of our farmlands are depleted therefore the fruits and vegetables grown contain fewer nutrients, such as selenium and iodine, among others. In addition, pesticide use leads to a reduced natural defense mechanism of the plant and thus fewer defenses such as polyphenols that have a positive impact on our health
- Because some vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin D in our diet often come from animal products, it is advisable with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to keep a close eye on these vitamins and, if necessary, take extra via dietary supplements.
A combination of the above elements can sometimes lead to deficiencies where supplements can be a handy help. Here are some tips for selecting the best support.
- Good bioavailability: With vitamins, it is important to choose the active form of the vitamin such as pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B6), calcium L-methyltetrahydrofolate (folic acid), cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and methylcobalamin (vitamin B12). These forms are immediately usable by the body and do not need to be converted first.
- With minerals, the organic forms are important. These have the advantages of being highly absorbable and well tolerated by the body, unlike inorganic forms such as magnesium oxide, for example. Magnesium bisglycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium glycerophosphate, magnesium malate, zinc L-methionine, zinc bisglycinate and L-selenomethionine are all highly absorbable organic mineral forms.
- Synergies also play a role, such as complexes of all B vitamins with supporting substances such as PABA and inositol or minerals with complementary plant extracts.