The 20 Essential Vitamins and Nutrients

multi vitaminThe following vitamins and nutrients are essential to your health and wellbeing. In order to operate as the well-oiled machine you were designed to be, you need to mind what you’re putting into your body. Don’t be a luxury vehicle that settles for unleaded. Fill up with premium by getting a high-quality multivitamin that contains the following vitamins and nutrients.

  1. Vitamin A is good for your skin, eyes and immune system, working closely with vitamin D and thyroid hormone.
  2. Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients.It’s a pretty diverse vitamin, protecting our immune systems, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, aiding in prenatal health problems and even skin wrinkling. Vitamin C can’t be produced by the human body and most supplements don’t have an adequate amount of it so get it in your diet!
  3. Vitamin D is another immunity booster. It aids in calcium absorption, lowers blood pressure and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and various cancers. Too little vitamin D and you may find yourself feeling a little down in the dumps.
  4. Vitamin E may help reduce the effects of environmental pollutants – fighting free radicals and slowing the aging of cells and tissues.
  5. Vitamin K aids in blood clotting and, oddly enough, body odor. Vitamin K protects against osteoporosis, kidney stones and cystic fibrosis.
  6. Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps metabolize glucose so if you’re one that hits the carbs hard (you carb lover, you!) you’re probably short on thiamine.
  7. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is a helper vitamin that aids in metabolizing other nutrients and vitamins (like B6, niacin and folic acid) and plays a key role in energy metabolism.
  8. Niacin protects your heart by giving you more HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol).
  9. Vitamin B6 helps synthesize your fight or flight hormones, may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and aids in PMS relief.
  10. Folic Acid is essential for women of childbearing age because it can prevent brain and neurological damage in babies.
  11. Vitamin B12 is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin there is and it’s involved in the metabolism of every cell in your body. It comes from animal products or supplements so vegetarians beware. Oh and older people can’t absorb vitamin B12 so even if you’re a meat eater, you best be taking a multi daily.
  12. Biotin works to lower blood glucose levels (which is super beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes!).
  13. Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5) ensures your body is producing the estrogen and progesterone you need and the liver needs pantothenic acid for breaking down certain drugs and toxins.
  14. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body and aids in immune function, temperature regulation and energy metabolism. Athletes, vegetarians and people with celiac disease or who have had ulcers are generally iron deficient.
  15. Magnesium has close ties to blood insulin. If you’re deficient you risk building up an insulin resistance, putting you on the fast track to metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
  16. Zinc and leptin have a special bond. You know leptin as the hormone that makes you feel full and satiated. Regulate leptin by getting enough zinc and your battle of the bulge might just get a little easier. Zinc levels tend to be lower among alcoholics, crash dieters and older people.
  17. Potassium and sodium do quite the dance across your cell membranes. Potassium is both a mineral and an electrolyte, working to keep your fluid levels balanced and your pH in check.
  18. Selenium is another nutrient that helps the body detox from the effects of environmental pollutants by producing enzymes that do the dirty work. You can get excited about selenium’s work on thyroid hormones, too, because they’re the hormones tied to your metabolic rate, helping you blast your fat.
  19. Copper is good, good, good for the thyroid! Don’t overdo it though or you will give yourself a zinc deficiency – the two work together.
  20. Chromium is another one that helps take glucose out of the blood. If you’re not getting enough chromium it can lead to insulin dysfunction and high levels of blood lipids – hello diabetes and cardiovascular distress – beware if you’re predisposed.

BONUS VITAMIN! Drum roll, please…… Calcium!

calcium in milkI didn’t forget about calcium. It’s so important it needs its own shout out, not to mention its own jar in your cupboard. You’re going to find calcium in any multivitamin, high or low quality. No one leaves out calcium on account of how important it is. Calcium is tied to bone health, strong teeth, nerve function, energy release, insulin secretion, muscle function and heart health. But here’s the thing – your body can only absorb 300 mg of calcium at a time. If your multi has 450 mg per capsule, you’re flushing 150 mg out and into the toilet unless you break your supplement in half and take half in the morning, half at night. But in addition to your multivitamin, you should really be taking a calcium supplement as well because your body needs a whopping 1,000 – 1,200 mg every day. Unless you are having dairy at every meal, you really need to consider adding a calcium supplement midday.

 

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