In your quest for optimal health, the role of vitamins and supplements cannot be underestimated. Amidst the challenges of modern diets, ensuring we receive essential nutrients is paramount.
Vitamins and supplements act as valuable allies, helping us bridge the gap between our dietary intake and the nutrients our bodies require. We’ll explore key vitamins and supplements that contribute to a healthy body, from vitamins A-E to probiotics and more. Let’s get started.
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Key vitamins and supplements that contribute to a healthy body
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in many fruits and vegetables. It includes two main forms, including carotenoids and pre-formed vitamin A (also known as retinol), which has grown in popularity as an ingredient in skincare products.
Vitamin A is essential for the proper growth and functioning of different parts of the body. Studies also indicate vitamin A may assist in slowing down age-related degeneration of the eye.
There are eight different types of Vitamin B, including B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cyanocobalamin), all of which are necessary for operating at your best and maintaining your health.
Complex B vitamins help form red blood cells, supply the body with energy from the foods we eat, and may reduce your risk of developing heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol.
Lack of healthy B levels can lead to anaemia—a lack of healthy red blood cells. Because a large percentage of B vitamins come from animal products, vegetarians and vegans are more susceptible to vitamin B deficiency.
Vitamin B is water-soluble and gets absorbed by the body immediately. Water-soluble vitamins are excreted through urine, meaning they need to be replenished regularly. For expecting mothers, vitamin B9, or folic acid, is essential for healthy development in the fetus.
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Vitamin C is another essential vitamin to keep you healthy. Essential means your body can’t produce it on its own, so you have to get it through your diet. It’s another water-soluble vitamin that supports immune function, collagen production, antioxidant production, and healing wounds.
Vitamin C boosts your immune system with antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radicals. High levels of free radicals in the body are attributed to chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Vitamin C can also help you manage your blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease, prevent iron deficiency, and reduce your risk of dementia as you grow older.
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Unlike vitamin C, Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning intake is dependent on your gut absorbing dietary fats. Vitamin D’s nutritional role in the body is plentiful. Not only does Vitamin D help strengthen your bones and muscles, but it also helps reduce inflammation while supporting immune system functioning.
Vitamin D is also important to oral health because it helps our bodies absorb calcium, lowering your risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Low vitamin D levels are also associated with obesity, indicating they assist in maintaining a healthy weight as well.
Additionally, a lack of vitamin D is associated with a significantly higher risk of depression, showing that vitamin D is not only essential for your physical health but your mental health as well.
Vitamin E is another fat-soluble vitamin with high antioxidant levels. Vitamin E can be found in certain foods like seeds, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Studies have shown positive results between vitamin E and diseases like Alzheimer’s, liver disease, preeclampsia, and prostate cancer. A healthy diet typically supplies you with enough vitamin E, which is included in many types of supplements.
Probiotics are good bacteria or yeast that live in the body. When you get an infection, it indicates more bad bacteria than good bacteria, throwing the body out of balance.
The good bacteria in your body help manage the bad bacteria, making it an important part of your body’s immune system while reducing inflammation Probiotics help your body digest food, keep bad bacteria from making you sick, create vitamins, and support a healthy gut.
Probiotics can also help control diarrhoea, soften stool, relieve irritable bowel disease, prevent yeast infections, UTIs, eczema, and more.
Omega-3 fatty acids have a lot of scientific research backing them. Omega-3 fatty acids may improve eye health, lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, and improve cognitive functioning.
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats and are another essential nutrient, meaning you have to get them through your diet or supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids help your bodily cells function as they should. In general, it’s better to obtain omega-3s by eating fish; however, if dietary restrictions prevent you from doing so, supplements are your next best thing.
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Magnesium is another essential mineral needed to maintain healthy bodily functioning, as it assists in many Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve functioning throughout the body, including your heart, making it an important part of maintaining a healthy heart. It also plays a critical role in maintaining your bone density, especially as you age.
People who have trouble falling or staying asleep may find solace in taking magnesium, as it plays a key role in deep, restorative sleep by regulating certain neurotransmitters that calm your nervous system. If you experience muscle cramps or spasms, fatigue, or insomnia, these may be indicators of low magnesium levels.
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Iron is an essential mineral that supports blood health. It’s required in order to produce healthy red blood cells and support hemoglobin’s functioning. Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells that works closely with iron to move oxygen throughout the body.
Some benefits of healthy iron levels include improved immune efficiency, more energy and stamina, better cognitive functioning, and better sleep. Iron is especially important for pregnant women, who need increased iron levels during gestation.
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Calcium is most commonly associated with healthy bones and teeth, but it does so much more. All living things require calcium, which can be found in foods like dairy, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fortified products.
In addition to healthy bones, calcium assists in muscle contraction, blood clotting, lowering blood pressure, and improving cholesterol levels.
Staying healthy is complicated, but knowing the pivotal role that vitamins and supplements play in ensuring bodily harmony is a step in the right direction. From bolstering immune defenses to fortifying bones, each nutrient offers a unique contribution to our well-being.
While these supplements can certainly be valuable allies, they are most effective when integrated into a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. As you strive to cultivate health, recognise the importance of vitamins and supplements in supporting your body.
Author’s bio: Ashley Nielsen earned a BS degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favourite music.
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