Vitamins are vital nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts in order to function properly. Vitamins are predominantly obtained through our diets, with the exception of vitamin D, and are required to stay free from illness or disease.

There are two types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are mainly predominantly in fatty foods and animal products, for example milk and dairy, eggs, liver, oily fish and vegetable oils. Our bodies don’t need fat-soluble vitamins every day as they’re stored in our livers and fatty tissues. As with all things, too many can do our bodies harm. Fat-soluble vitamins are: Vitamin A, D, E and K.

Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored and so therefore are required much more frequently. As such, when you consume too many water-soluble vitamins they are excreted in the urine and so when taken in large quantities can’t do the body harm. These vitamins are found in a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables, potatoes, grains, milk and dairy foods. Due to their water-soluble nature, these vitamins are often lost when boiled, so it may be worth grilling/steaming or consuming in a soup/stew. Vitamin C and B vitamins are classed as water-soluble vitamins.

Considering how nutrient deficient the Western diet is, most people lack optimum levels of vital vitamins like vitamin D, K, C and E.

These vital nutrients have a diverse biochemical functions. Vitamin D, for instance, synthesises hormones, helps with mineral metabolism and the regulation of cell and tissue growth. Vitamin C and E act as antioxidants and help protect the body against free-radical damage.

Supplementing with vitamins is an essential part of maintaining a healthy body to help prevent disease, plugging the gaps left behind by a vitamin-deficient diet. And while the mainstream keeps dispelling the benefits of supplements, the Daily Health will help you make sense between the facts and fiction when it comes to the health benefits of supplementation.

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