You were told to take your vitamins as a child for good reasons. Now as you take that extra step in your health and fitness journey, it’s time to learn what it is those mighty vital vitamins are doing for you now, and how to make the most of them. The vitamin aisle is crowded, confusing and overwhelming in its promises – so which do you choose and why?
We’ve collated information on the most important of all A, B, Cs – your A to Ks, to be exact. With our comprehensive guide, you will then know exactly what it is they can do for your health, how your body and physical performance can benefit from them, and the best time to take them to reap the rewards.
Why Take Vitamins And Minerals?
In this day and age, more and more people are lacking essential nutrients – there’s a reason we suggest eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day. Becoming deficient in any of the essential vitamins or minerals causes a breakdown of the metabolic pathway that produces optimum performance – not what you fitness enthusiasts want!
Bodybuilders, yoga queens and those simply living an active lifestyle need even more nutrients than the average sedentary person. So if you think that just grabbing the first vitamin in sight will work for you – think again.
What Is A Vitamin?
Vitamins are organic and are more complex than minerals. In fact, all vitamins are required by our body in order to survive. Believe it or not, vitamins control the chemical reactions within our body to convert food into energy and living tissue. Vitamins can be water soluble, meaning they should be taken daily as they cannot be stored in the body (vitamin C and all B vitamins), or they can be fat soluble, which can be stored in the body (A, D, E and K).
Vitamins are vulnerable to heat, therefore, food preparation, processing and storing must be appropriate in order to get the best nutritional value out of a meal. Juicing is a great way – there’s no heating involved, plus you can add protein powder for extra nutrition gains!
What Is A Mineral?
Unlike vitamins, minerals are inorganic and are much simpler in chemical form. There’s also no need to worry about the stability throughout food preparation – you can boil, steam or bake your foods without the risk of singeing those all-important minerals.
Minerals are available in two forms, major (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and sodium) and trace (iron, iodine, zinc and copper) – and guess what? The dosage requirements are in the name. For major minerals, we need dosages greater than 100 mg per day and for trace minerals, we simply need “trace” amounts of daily minerals to suffice.
It doesn’t end there. Just like vitamins, minerals are different –their effect and requirement between genders is also dissimilar. A bit like the daily caloric intake requirements, men and women need different nutrients for their bodies to function properly.
Vitamins and minerals formulated for men (Alpha Men) typically provide ingredients which support testosterone levels. On the opposite side of the scale, vitamins produced for women (Active Woman) focus more on skin, hair and nails. Don’t forget the little beasts (we mean children), multivitamins are beneficial for children too – maintaining growth and development is key in their early stages, not to mention their focus and cognitive function at school.
Hopefully, by now you know and appreciate the true value of what vitamins and minerals mean to your body. Protein, carbohydrates and energy drinks are a great way to boost your performance, but without the essential nutrients, your match-play may get cut short.
Check out our A-K guide to take the guesswork out of choosing the right supplement for you.