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How to Improve Your Health with Vitamin Supplements

Updated on October 6, 2016

Want Strong Eyes? Focus on Vitamin A

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I try to make sure I take Vitamin A every morning because of issues with my eyes. This supplement not only helps my eyes, but also my skin and hair.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary for good vision, healthy skin and the body's ability to heal from infections, scrapes and cuts.

Vitamin A is also referred to as retinol, and is beneficial in the treatment of conditions that affect the eye, can help reduce acne, and can improve the health of a person's hair.

Apricots, green and orange vegetables and fruits such as bok choy, broccoli, cantaloupe and sweet potato are rich sources of Vitamin A.

Benefits of Vitamin A include healthy eyes and strong vision, properly formed blood cells, good circulation, healthy skin, as well as healthy hair.

People who are exposed to excessive sunlight, people who drink too much alcohol or coffee, as well as people who smoke are all at risk for a Vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant essential for the body's immune system and the health of the skin and eyes.

Vitamin E works inside the body to protect the bloodcells from damage, which makes it helpful when it comes to treating and preventing diseases.

Although studies are still determining the specific benefits of Vitamin E, this supplement can be used to reduce the appearance of scars, help scar tissue heal, promotes healthy vision, boosts the immune system and helps prevent skin cancer.

Vitamin E is common in many foods, and most people don't need to worry about a deficiency in this nutrient.

Those who have digestive conditions that interfere with the body's absorption of vitamins as well as people who are underweight should monitor their Vitamin E levels.

The Sun is a Great Source of Vitamin D!

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As someone who doesn't like to consume too much caffeine, I take Vitamin B on a daily basis to give me energy.

Do you take vitamins?

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The B Vitamins

Think of the B Vitamins as "B" for beneficial. The B Vitamins include Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B1 is folate and folic acid. It is naturally occurring in the body and helps promote normal growth and the digestion of protein in the body.

Foods rich in Vitamin B1 include lima beans, soybeans, peas, bananas, carrots, oranges, tomatoes, beets, squash, yogurt, spinach, sunflower seeds, pork, tuna and veal.

People who follow a diet consisting of mostly processed foods are at risk for a Vitamin B1 deficiency.

The next B Vitamin is B6, which helps produce serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a necessary chemical in the brain that helps control a person's mood.

Taking Vitamin B6 can benefit people suffering from depression, as well as women going through menopause or PMS.

Foods that are rich in Vitamin B6 include low fat beef, crabmeat, peas, kidney and lima beans, as well as brown rice.

The third and final B vitamin is B12, which can be found in foods like chicken, turkey, fish, and nuts. Vitamin B12 is a recommended supplement for vegetarians as they are most likely to be deficient in this nutrient.

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that helps maintain healthy blood cells in the body. Vitamin B12 has been studied as a possible cure or preventative treatment for Alzehmeir's disease, heart disease, breast cancer and sickle cell anemia.

Vitamins and Supplements: An Evidence Based Approach

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also referred to as ascorbic acid, is found in orange fruits and vegetables in high quantities and in almost all fruits and vegetables in lower amounts, and is essential to the body's immune system.

Because of the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the average diet today, Vitamin C deficiencies are increasingly more common. If you eat a balanced diet though, you likely are getting enough of this vitamin. Taking a Vitamin C supplement may be necessary for people with a heart condition, hypertension or malnutrition.

This nutrient works with the body to help tissues and bones grow and remain strong. Those with low levels of Vitamin C are putting themselves at risk for diseases like osteoporosis and scoliosis.

Not only does Vitamin C help strengthen the bones and tissue in the body, it also helps fight and prevent colds and high blood pressure.

Vitamin C is necessary for the absorption of iron in the body, another essential nutrient that helps the body function properly.

Iron

Iron is a nutrient that helps supply oxygen to the blood cells in the body.

Many people are deficient in iron and don't even realize it. People who don't ingest enough iron are at risk for conditions like anemia, confusion and a foggy mind. If you are lethargic all of the time and don't know why, it could be due to an iron deficiency.

Iron supplements are recommended for pregnant women, women who suffer from heavy periods, as well as people with diseases that affect the kidney.

Anemia, caused by low iron levels, is a serious condition that can cause extreme fatigue, easy bruising, cramps in the legs and an increased heart rate.

If you have symptoms of anemia, seek care from your health care provider. Don't try to treat it on your own.

Vegetarians may be at risk for low iron due to the fact that the best sources of the nutrient include chicken, beef, turkey, ham and fish.

If You Want to Live a Long Healthy Life, Vitamins are Essential

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Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I make sure to take this ginseng supplement. It can boost the immune system and ward off illnesses.

Food Over Supplements

Vitamins are important, but food is essential. Never try to use vitamins as a way to avoid diet changes that are necessary. Vitamins work best when used in addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

"[Vitamins] can plug nutrition gaps in your diet, but it is short-sighted to think your vitamin or mineral is the ticket to good health -- the big power is on the plate, not in a pill," explains Roberta Anding, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and director of sports nutrition at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Nutritionists and doctors agree that although vitamins have their place, they should never be used as a substitute for food. Food accomplishes things in the human body that no pill or cocktail can accomplish.

NOTE: The author of this article is not a medical doctor. Although the information contained in this article was obtained from credible sources, it is NOT meant to substitute for the advice provided by a medical physician. Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any vitamin regimen.

Supplements That Aren't Vitamins

  • Milk Thistle - A flower like herb, Milk Thistle has been found to protect the liver and boost the immune system. This supplement has been found to be effective as an anti-inflammatory. Unconfirmed studies have been conducted to test the effects of Milk Thistle on allergies.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar - A naturally occurring liquid from fermented apples, apple cider vinegar is highly concentarted and packed with nutrients. The benefits of this supplement include lower blood pressure and cholestoral, lower blood sugar levels, and a faster metabolism.
  • Elderberry - A naturally growing fruit, the elderberry can be found in supplement form and is effective in treating symptoms of colds and flus. This supplement can help reduce fevers, headaches, sore throats, coughs and body aches when the immune system is compromised.
  • Ginseng - An Asian root, ginseng has long been utilized because of its numerous health benefits. Ginseng can help boost the immune system, prevent colds, and increase endurance. This supplement also has mental benefits, like increased concentration and focus.
  • St. John's Wart - This flowering plant has been used for ages to treat and prevent common ailments. St. John's Wart has been found to help fight depression, improve mood and decrease symptoms of menopause and PMS.
  • Resveratrol - Naturally found in grapes, resveratrol is found in higher amounts in wine, which is why people link a glass of red wine to lower rates of heart disease. For those who do not like to drink wine however, resveratrol comes in a supplement form and is beneficial for the heart.

Supplements Should Never Take the Place of Food

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© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal Romano

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    • profile image

      Tiffany 2 years ago

      I take dha and citranatal bcalm it helps to with my nausea as it is 2b6 25 mg and then the actual vitamin.. It is prescribed to me.. Works great

    • lyns profile image

      lyns 3 years ago from USA

      You are welcome. lyns 7/2/2014

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Nice little side piece on how food is better than vitamins. They should be strictly used as secondary supplements.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Sounds like you have your bases covered! I am hoping to do a follow up hub in the next few days on lesser known supplements, like milk thistle and apple cider vinegar, where I explore the benefits of each and how they work.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Kathleen, I didn't know that Vitamin A and retinol are one in the same. Good to know. I take a B-complex and 1,000 mg of Vitamin C every morning. I also incorporate apple cider vinegar into my diet. I sprinkle that and olive oil on salad rather than use bottled dressing. It's delicious and doesn't cover up the flavor of the veggies.

      Good hub, Kathleen!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful information shared by you!

      Important to mention that supplements should never take the place of food.

      Thanks and voted up as useful!

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Thank you so much lyns!

    • lyns profile image

      lyns 3 years ago from USA

      Great hub on vitamins and there purpose thanks for sharing, voted up A/ lyns