Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients as they play a key role in maintaining your health – physically and mentally. Without them, you’re at risk of developing a number of health complications. In order to help you have a better understanding of just how important vitamins and minerals are, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, breaks down the different types as well as which ones are required in order to help you achieve optimal health.
There are 13 essential vitamins: Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B7 (biotin), B6, B12 (cyanocobalamin) and B9. Vitamins are grouped into two different categories: Fat-soluble vitamins, which are absorbed more easily by dietary fat and bind to the stomach for later use; and Water-soluble vitamins, which are absorbed directly by the cells in the body. Each of the vitamins listed have their own special function…
Vitamin A helps to form and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, soft tissue and mucus membranes. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that not only boosts the immune system, but also promotes healthy teeth, in addition to wound healing, the maintenance of healthy tissue, as well as helps with iron absorption. Vitamin D, commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a vitamin that is naturally made within our bodes when we have been exposed to the sun. Vitamin D also helps with calcium absorption. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps the body form red blood cells. Vitamin K isn’t necessarily considered an essential vitamin, but it helps the blood coagulate. Some studies have also suggested it can be important for bone health. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, changes consumed carbohydrates into energy, and also plays an essential role in promoting healthy nerve cells and heart function. Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, works together with some of the other B vitamins and promotes body growth in addiction to the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, has cholesterol-lowering effects when taken at higher doses, and also helps to maintain the skin as well as promote healthy nerves. Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol, and it is also essential for metabolizing our food. Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, is also essential for metabolism, hormones and cholesterol. Vitamin B6 helps maintain brain function and form red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that is important for metabolism; in addition, it also helps to form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system (CNS). Lastly, Vitamin B9, which consists of folic acid, and has many health benefits including preventing aging, preventing cancer, preventing heart attacks, aiding fertility, and maintaining good mental health.
There is also a wide range of essential minerals that the body needs. These include but are not limited to calcium (which is needed to form strong bones and teeth), iron (which helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the cells in your body), potassium (which controls the electrical activity of the heart as well as helps build proteins), magnesium (which supports nerve and muscle function, as well as boosts immunity), and other trace minerals.
Vitamins and minerals can be found in many different food sources. In some cases, patients may be deficient in certain vitamins and/or minerals and will require a supplement. You can find more articles from Dr. Ali Ghahary on vitamins and minerals by clicking here. In addition, Ella James article ‘6 Vitamins and Minerals that Boost Brain Power’ also provides great insight.