Vitamins - A Physical Necessity

Vitamins are a physical necessity for life. Vitamins are various chemicals and minerals that are required by the body for its development and functioning. The body cannot function properly without the necessary amount of these requirements. Vitamins fall into two categories: water and fat soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are chemicals that are stored by the body for use when it needs them. This category of vitamin is stored in the fatty cells or the liver. They sit there until they are required. If a person takes in more than the body uses, the fat soluble vitamins build up in the fat cells and the liver. This build-up can have adverse effects for the individual. Water soluble vitamins are carried in the blood stream. The body uses what it needs of them when it needs them. If the body doesn't require the water soluble vitamins, they are expelled during urination. There can never be a build up of water soluble vitamins. Certain vitamins act as catalysts in the body's chemical reactions. A catalyst is an agent that triggers a chemical action but is unchanged by that chemical reaction.

People who eat a well-balanced diet, with the required amount of food from each food group, take in enough of both fat soluble and water soluble vitamins. They don't have a build up of fat soluble vitamins or a deficiency of either. The Federal Drug Administration determines the amount of each vitamin that is required on a daily basis and publishes the information. Food items carry labels that show what ingredients are in them and what percent of the recommended daily average they are so people know what they are eating. People who are always on the go and eating at fast-food places and people who just don't eat the right foods can take vitamin supplements to provide the vitamins that they don't acquire in their normal diet.

Foods are not as nutrient dense as they were even a few years ago. This is because farming practices have changed. The US government recommends 5-7 servings or more of fruits and vegetables per day. But most people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Therefore, vitamin supplements should be added to insure that the proper amount of vitamins are consumed. The food we eat may be fewer nutrients dense than it used to be due to farming practices, as well as the way food is processed. Processing food, such as canning and freezing food, reduces the amount of nutrients available to us from the food itself. Preserving the food lowers its vitamin and mineral content, in other words. Fresh food is healthier for us. However, even fresh food may not be as nutritious as it used to be. Mass food production means that food like fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe. These foods would be healthier if they were left on the vine to ripen, but are picked earlier due to shipping issues. Also, our supermarkets are full of produce that is grown in foreign countries. These foods are picked early as well, before they have the ability to ripen properly and develop their full nutrient potential.

Processed foods have lower vitamin contents than fresh foods do. And healthy elements are lost at times when food is processed. For example, white flour has the wheat berry removed. Removing the wheat berry also removes many of the wheat’s essential nutrients. Though white flour can be enriched with vitamins, flour with its natural wheat berry is much healthier, and contains the essential element of fibre, which is important for digestion and elimination.

Vitamins aid in cellular function and efficiency, and are an important part of keeping the body healthy. So if you don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables per day, you might just need to add a vitamin supplement to your daily diet to insure proper cell function.

Consuming the right amount of many vitamins has been proven to improve a person’s general health, as well as a type of prevention or cure for some types of diseases. For example, taking or consuming vitamins B6 and B12 is a way to prevent heart disease. Antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin A, C, and E prevent cell damage and several other diseases. And Vitamin D keeps bones strong and healthy.

Vitamin supplements can be purchased in a number of places. They can be found at any drugstore or pharmacy and can be purchased without a prescription. There are also vitamin specialty stores in almost every locality. These stores carry vitamin supplements and vitamin products and sometimes health foods. These kinds of specialty stores became prevalent when physical fitness became a craze. Part of being physically fit was having the proper vitamins and eating right. These specialty stores can also be found on the internet.