Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins – for whom?
Depending on their composition, vitamins in the form of food supplements can be meant for
- pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant
- the elderly
- people with reduced immunity
- people who are very active physically.
What do they contain?
There are many different vitamin preparations available on the market. These usually contain
- vitamin A – is responsible for the growth and healthiness of bones and teeth, the health and pleasing appearance of the skin, the functioning of the liver and the thyroid gland, the immunity of the body, and the reduction of blood cholesterol levels
- B-group vitamins – is needed for maintaining muscle health, affects carbohydrate digestion, reducing stress, stabilising appetite levels, and influences the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system
- vitamin C – is of great importance for the functioning of the immune system, is responsible for combatting infections and wound healing, takes part in the production of collagen, and the metabolism of fats, cholesterol and bile acids, and has bactericidal effects
- vitamin D – is essential for maintaining the health of bones and teeth, regulates the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, affects the production of insulin and the heart rate, and stimulates the bone marrow to produce immune cells
- vitamin E – one of the strongest antioxidants protecting cells against oxidation and destruction, acts as anticoagulant, delays the ageing processes, retains oxygen in the body, and accelerates wound healing
- vitamin F – supports slimming, helps maintain hair and skin in good condition, relieves acne lesions, protects the skin against the adverse effects of sunlight, and improves the functioning of sebaceous glands
- vitamin K – supports wound healing, has a positive effect on the liver and blood system, has an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effect, and takes part in blood coagulation processes
- vitamin P – influences the proper blood circulation in the body, lowers cholesterol levels, improves the immunity of the body, and has a relaxing effect on smooth muscles of blood vessels.
What else do vitamin preparations contain?
Vitamins are normally supplemented by so-called micro and macro-elements, i. e. chemical elements present in the body in trace amounts, but also necessary for its proper functioning. Micro- and macro-elements also occur in food, but in many situations they may need to be supplemented. Thus, in vitamin preparations, one can find
- calcium (the building blocks of bones and teeth, essential for the proper functioning of the heart),
- chlorine (an important component in gastric juices and saliva, and a contributor to the regulation of water management in the body),
- magnesium (an essential element in proper vision, the proper functioning of the muscles, and the blood-coagulation processes),
- phosphorus (a participant in glucose combustion, playing an important role in anabolic and catabolic processes),
- potassium (a guarantee of proper body-water management and the functioning of the muscles and nerves, being one of the components of digestive juices),
- sodium (an influence on the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, and in ensuring the acid-base balance),
- iron (the most-important component in haemoglobin, and an essential ingredient in the proper functioning of the immune system),
- zinc (an essential element in the synthesis of insulin and semen in men, being involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats),
- copper (a participant in the formation of red blood cells, bones and collagen, playing an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids),
- manganese (a very-important factor in male fertility, regulating the functioning of the central nervous system, an element of the bones and skin),
- iodine (an essential determinant in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, affecting the pace of metabolic processes),
- chromium (a regulator of cholesterol and fatty acids, and a participant in the metabolic processes of proteins),
- selenium (a contributor to the elimination of free radicals and heavy metals, as well as in the metabolism of thyroid hormones).
Are vitamins safe?
Before being put on the market, each vitamin preparation undergoes a series of tests to verify its safety and its effects on the human body. It is worth being aware that both vitamin deficiency (avitaminosis) and excess (hypervitaminosis) have an adverse effect on health. Therefore, supplementation with vitamin preparations should only be in specific situations, and always in the doses recommended by the manufacturer on the packaging of the particular product. The diet should be the primary source of vitamins and micro- and macro-elements.