Beginner’s guide to vitamins
The VITL Nutrition Team
This is your one stop shop for everything you need to know about your vitamins!
You did it! Congratulations on taking the first step in prioritising your health. Taking vitamins and supplements can be a minefield. Understanding what you should take, how much, and when are all questions that may arise before you start taking supplements. Not to mention the array of products on the market and the (mis)information that goes along with them. Here at Vitl we want to make sure your health is as simple as possible. We take out the guesswork and are led by science to ensure that your Vitl journey is smooth, convenient and most importantly beneficial so that you can unlock your full potential and live life to the fullest.
So what should you know about vitamins before taking them? Please read on below.
What are they?
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, small nutrients that are essential for the healthy functioning of your body. They are involved in hundreds of reactions, play a role in hormone production, cell division, immune function and help each organ function as it should (to name just a few!). There are two different types of vitamins: water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B vitamins such as folate, vitamin B12 and biotin, and they must dissolve in water before they can be absorbed. Any unused water soluble vitamins will be primarily excreted through the urine as they cannot be stored in the body. The fat soluble vitamins are vitamin D, E, K and A, and they tend to accumulate in the body, which is why consumption of these vitamins needs to be closely monitored. There are a number of minerals which are inorganic elements found in soil and water. You may be familiar with some of these like calcium, magnesium and sodium. There are also a few trace minerals that are fundamental for the proper function of our body such as zinc, copper and iodine.
Why do I need them?
Taking vitamins is an excellent way to fill gaps in our diets caused by different environmental and lifestyle factors. For example, smoking will increase your vitamin C requirement significantly. Soil degradation due to over-farming in the last 50 years has caused a depletion of vitamins and minerals in the food we eat (predominantly fruit and vegetables) and the processing of our food often leaves it much less nutrient dense than before. E.g. turning wheat into white flour removes approximately 40 nutrients that are beneficial for our health. This is a small indication of why eating ultra-processed or highly modified foods are detrimental to the nutritional value of our food and our health in the long term. So, unfortunately, even if you eat a healthy balanced diet, reaching optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals is a challenging task! That's where we come in - Vitl can help fill those gaps. That being said, we want to make it clear that taking supplements shouldn’t replace a healthy diet, so keep getting those 5 a day!
When will I notice a difference?
The answer to this question varies a lot! As we are all biochemically unique, with different diets and lifestyles, the amount of nutrients we need day to day is different to our neighbour. You may be experiencing a small deficiency in iodine for example if you don’t eat fish or iodised salt which may be impacting your energy levels. By supplementing with various vitamins and minerals based on your lifestyle and symptoms you may notice a difference as quickly as 2 weeks or for other health areas, such as skin and hair growth, it may take up to 2-3 months. Our recommendation is to keep supplementing for at least 3 months before evaluating; consistency is key here!
Certain things stop or prevent the efficient absorption of vitamins and minerals, for example coffee, black tea and red wine contain ‘tannins’ which block the absorption of iron. If you are a green tea drinker, be wary of having a cuppa straight after a meal as the catechins within the tea can block folate from being absorbed. We recommend waiting at least an hour after a meal before having coffee and tea. Most supplements are better absorbed when taken with food when the digestive system is already in action; always read the directions on the label carefully. Another tip for those taking medication - some supplements may interfere with the workings of certain medication, so it’s important to check with your GP or healthcare provider before taking vitamins.
We are very excited to have you onboard! Let us know how you get on and we are always willing to help with any questions you may have. Get in touch with our Nutrition experts at: email@example.com or alternatively our lovely Customer Delight team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might also be interested in: