You eat healthily, and yet you still feel like something is missing. Perhaps you're not sleeping well, having sugar cravings, or just lacking energy throughout the day. Could it be a hormone issue? You make such an effort to eat plenty of whole foods, and yet for some reason you know you're not feeling as vibrant as you can be. The question is: are you getting enough micronutrients? These little powerhouses of goodness are what your cells need to be truly nourished. Even though you might have a healthy diet, you may be falling short in key vitamins, especially if:
- You're an athlete or train regularly
- You don't sleep well
- You are underweight or overweight
- You are travelling and can't always access fresh foods
- You undergo a lot of stress throughout the day
- You have digestive issues
- You lack variety in your diet
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
With this guide, you'll understand the role of some essential vitamins, that will empower you to make wise choices with your diet and supplementation!
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are important nutrients that we require in our diets in order to stay happy, healthy and thriving – to look and feel good every day, make sure you’re loading up on (ideally organic) whole foods!
Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat soluble:
- Water soluble – B-complex vitamins and vitamin c
- Fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K
1. Vitamin A:
- Helps protect the health of your eyes
- Supports the development of your body’s healthy cells
- Is a beauty enhancer, for strong and radiant hair, skin and nails
- Supports bone growth and development
- Helps to keep your immune system in check
- Assists to maintain your healthy reproductive system
Find vitamin A in these food sources:
- Sweet potato
- Green leafy vegetables
Product recommendation: Vitamin A 5000 by Blackmores
2. B vitamins:
B vitamins are a group of eight vitamins, that are critical for many functions in your body.
- Thiamin (B1): assists energy production and nervous system function.
- Riboflavin (B2): helps you use the energy from your food and defends your body against free radicals.
- Niacin (B3): helps to break down fats, proteins, carbohydrates and ketones.
- Pantothenic acid (B5): assists to make energy from your macronutrients, create new fats and break them down. B5 is also important for hormone production, like melatonin.
- Pyridoxine (B6): helps to make amino acids and break them down. B6 also helps release stored glucose for energy and protects your healthy brain
- Biotin (B7): converts food into energy, and is known for helping to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.
- Folate or ‘folic acid’ when included in supplements (B9): essential for making DNA in new cells, such as white blood cells.
- Cyanocobalamin (B12): protects your nerve fibres and is needed to make folate into an active form.
Find B Vitamins in these food sources:
- Eggs and poultry
- Leafy greens
- Nutritional yeast
Product recommendation: Super B Daily Stress + by Ethical Nutrients
3. Vitamin C:
If you've been run down with a cold, you often turn to vitamin C. This is because vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that protects your body from oxidative stress. Furthermore, vitamin C is an essential beauty vitamin, providing a role in collagen synthesis which makes up the health of your skin, hair and nails. Collagen is also needed for the strength of your joints, connective tissue, cartilage and bones!
Find Vitamin C in these food sources:
- Fruits like pineapple, strawberries, oranges
Product recommendation: Vitamin C 1000 by Herbs of Gold
4. Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is named a vitamin but acts like an important hormone in your body. Vitamin D has critical effects on your immune system, healthy bones, nerve and muscle function.
Find Vitamin D in these food sources:
- Oily fish like salmon
- Egg yolks
- Fortified milk
- Fortified mushrooms
- Plant oils
Please note food sources are often not adequate sources of vitamin D - you need to get out into the sunshine or supplement!
Product recommendation: Vitamin D3 1000 by Caruso's Natural Health
Multivitamin – what is it and do you need one?
When you think of vitamins at a supplement shop, a multivitamin might be one of the first things that come to mind - you're not alone! Multivitamins represent a common supplement that many health-conscious consumers use on a regular basis.
In easy terms, a multivitamin is a supplement (usually in tablet or capsule form) that contains a large variety of essential vitamins and minerals, to essentially 'cover your bases'. The dosages of micronutrients in a multivitamin will usually be less than what appears in a stand alone vitamin or mineral product, but this is because it's designed to be a broad spectrum support. Even if you eat healthily, nutritional gaps are common in your diet. A quality multivitamin is designed to help cover these gaps, so you can feel the peace of mind that you're doing what is best for your body.