They are considered “essential” dietary nutrients – meaning our bodies don’t make them and therefore they must be obtained through our diet or supplements. They are termed “Micro” meaning they are required in the body in small quanties, compared to “Macronutrients” (Proteins, Carbohydrates, Water, Essential fats). Vitamins play a vital role in biological function such as good health, muscle growth and proper fat burning by regulating metabolism. Inadequate vitamin consumption results in muscle weakness, tissue deterioration and suppression of the immune system.
Vitamin A is essential for the growth, for the production of Growth Hormone and maintenance of skin, the lungs, womb etc. Vitamin A is a powerful anti-viral vitamin, because in inclusion in cell walls makes them stronger and more resistant to viral attacks. Therefore Vitamin A is helpful in cancer prevention and treatment of pre-cancerous conditions.
Vitamin D main function is regulation of calcium absorption. It is responsible for getting calcium into the blood stream and delivering it to the bones for building purposes. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to decreases in bone strength and density. It is fat-soluble and so is stored in the body. With exposure to the sunlight, the body can produce its own.
Vitamin E is best known for its antioxidant effects, it is necessary for normal immunity and antibody response. As an antioxidant in our fat layers, it neutralises free radicals and works with other nutrients to improve our resistance to infections
Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12 main role is to help turn food we eat into energy. B vitamins are important co- enzymes in cellular respiration (energy metabolism). It promotes proper nerve cell function as well as muscle function. Exercise requires more vitamin B2 as this helps control acidity generated when muscles work hard.
Folic Acid is found in liver and leafy green vegetables and is made by intestinal bacteria. It is concerned with nucleoprotein synthesis and red blood cell formation, so a lack of it causes anaemia.
Biotin is found in yeast and liver and is a co-enzyme for certain enzymes that incorporate carbon dioxide into various compounds. Lack of it causes dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)
Vitamin C has a multitude of beneficial effects. It is a powerful antioxidant and has immune-supportive effects in addition to its role in ligament and tendon synthesis. Vitamin C is important in energy production, and fights colds and infections and gives energy.
Minerals are extremely important for normal body functioning. Minerals are important for brain condition, muscular contraction, fluid balance and energy production. Many minerals also serve as building blocks for body tissues eg: calcium and phosphorous for bones.
Calcium provides the rigid structure of the skeleton, so it is particularly necessary for children whose bones are growing. It helps the blood to clot and helps maintain the right acid-base
Chromium is a vital constituent of the “glucose tolerance factor”, a compound produced in the liver, which helps transport glucose from the blood to the cells. Since it works with insulin to help stabilise your blood sugar level, the more uneven your blood sugar level the more chromium you use up.
Iron is a vital component of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from cells. The symptoms of iron deficiency include pale skin, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea and is likely to occur in women.
Magnesium works together with calcium both in maintaining bone density and functioning of nerves and muscles. It is involved as a co-factor in many enzymes in the body. It is involved in protein synthesis. A lack of Magnesium causes muscles to go into spasm.
Phosphorous is essential for life. It is required for the formation of nucleic acid and energy carrying molecules. It is also vital for bones and teeth.
Zinc’s role is the protection and repair of DNA. It also boosts the immune system and makes the antioxidant enzyme SOD. Is also helps balance hormones and control inflammation.
Selenium’s primary function is to act as an antioxidant. It is an integral component of a very powerful antioxidant enzyme “glutathione peroxidase”. This gives it its protective properties against cancer and premature aging as well as assisting in the production of thyroid hormones, which control the body’s metabolic rate.