Get your vitamin fix

13 vitamins for life

Zero calories but amazing energy! Active even in minute quantities, vitamins play a vital role in many reactions within the body. In total, 13 vitamins have been identified to date and they are split into two categories: ‘liposoluble and ‘hydrosoluble.

•Liposoluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) are associated with fats in food and can mostly be found in oil, butter, meat and cheese. The body stores these fats in the liver and in fatty tissue, burning them up slowly as they are needed. Hypervitamintosis may exist, but overdosing on any vitamin taken normally through food is quite rare.

•Hydrosoluble vitamins (8 B group vitamins and vitamin C) are found in the water in food. These cannot be stored in the body, so you need to get a daily supply. There is no risk in getting too much of these; any surplus merely passes out of the body in your urine.Another important vitamin is vitamin C, particularly for teenagers as their diet often lacks fresh produce (fruit and vegetables).

vitamins do older people need?

With age, the risk of deficiency becomes higher... Vitamin D deficiency is particularly frequent, due to lack of exposure to the sun – 10 minutes a day will help. Vitamins A and E are also important as their antioxidant properties help your body fight the effects of aging. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 encourage the production of red blood cells and play a part in protecting the cardiovascular system.

Which vitamins do children need?

During growth spurts, it's very important that children get enough vitamins.D is particularly important as it helps calcium fix onto bones. One part of this vitamin is produced in the skin from sunshine, and the rest is all supplied through the diet. However, the types of food containing vitamin D are rare: oily fish, offal and some enriched dairy products.

Which vitamins do pregnant women need?

First of all, if you are pregnant you will have a special need for vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid), as it plays a part in the development of the foetus nervous system. This means women of childbearing age should increase their intake of vitamin B9, with green vegetables, pulses, fresh fruit and grain or cereals firmly on the menu.

Vitamin D also plays a major role in the development of the babys skeleton,
and you have twice as much need for it during pregnancy. Vitamin A is crucial in the first stages of the embryos development and when the foetus begins to develop. Normally, you can get the required amount of all these

vitamins from your diet.

This is why meat, fish and offal should feature in older peoples diets as sources of vitamin B6 and B12, together with green vegetables and cereals for their vitamin B9 content. Finally, vitamin C stimulates the bodys defenses and acts like an antioxidant.

A vitamin fix for everyone

Other groups of people also have particular needs: smokers for example, who have 30% more need for vitamin C. As for women who are constantly dieting, they often suffer from deficiencies in B vitamins and liposoluble vitamins as they exclude fatty foods from their diets completely.

Complete vitamin deficiencies are rare. But slight deficiencies can occur, causing tiredness and fragility when faced with external aggressions (stress, infections...). Eating too many refined foods, not enough vegetables or having a chaotic diet will all contribute to a low vitamin intake. You must therefore make sure you get a varied and balance diet at every stage of your life! Vitamin supplements are no doubt a possibility, but shouldnt be necessary under normal circumstances, if you are eating right and living healthy.


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