Many people today take vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons. There have been many clinical studies conducted to look into the correlation between vitamin supplements and the prevention of certain diseases. Understanding the results can be confusing, however, there have been some studies that show certain vitamins may help lower the risk of specific diseases.
It is important to note that taking vitamin supplements at the suggested levels recommended should be relatively safe for most people. individuals should not super-dose vitamins in an effort to achieve better health results. Also, people should discuss any vitamin supplement use with doctors, as some supplements may cause potentially harmful interactions with certain medications.
This week Okanagan Woman will review the benefits of our vital vitamins.
Starting today with the A’s and B’s:
VITAMIN A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
There are two different types of vitamin A.
The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene
WHAT FOODS PROVIDE VITAMIN A?
Vitamin A is found naturally in many foods and is added to some foods, such as milk and cereal. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin A by eating a variety of foods, including the following:
Beef liver and other organ meats (but these foods are also high in cholesterol, so limit the amount you eat).
Some types of fish, such as salmon.
Green leafy vegetables and other green, orange, and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and squash.
Fruits, including cantaloupe, apricots, and mangos.
Dairy products, which are among the major sources of vitamin A for North Americans.
Fortified breakfast cereals.
VITAMIN B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. Some people have pernicious anemia, a condition where they cannot make intrinsic factor. As a result, they have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from all foods and dietary supplements.
WHAT FOODS PROVIDE VITAMIN B12?
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods. Plant foods have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin B12 by eating a variety of foods including the following:
Beef liver and clams, which are the best sources of vitamin B12.
Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products, which also contain vitamin B12.
Some breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and other food products that are fortified with vitamin B12.
To find out if vitamin B12 has been added to a food product, check the product labels
WHAT IS VITAMIN B6 AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. The body needs vitamin B6 for more than 100 enzyme reactions involved in metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also involved in brain development during pregnancy and infancy as well as immune function.
WHAT FOODS PROVIDE VITAMIN B6?
Vitamin B6 is found naturally in many foods and is added to other foods. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin B6 by eating a variety of foods, including the following:
Poultry, fish, and organ meats, all rich in vitamin B6.
Potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
Fruit (other than citrus), which are also among the major sources of vitamin B6 for North Americans.