Supplements

Vitamins & Minerals | Your A-K Guide

Vitamin A

Vitamin A sometimes goes by the name retinol – but what does it do? Vitamin A is essential for supporting your vision, skin and your immune system – perfect for that pre- and post-winter sniffles. It doesn’t stop there. As an antioxidant, vitamin A helps skin to repair, stay moist and produce enzymes which stabilise collagen production – ladies, take note! If you’re looking for strong, silky locks, panic over –simply check your shampoo, you’ll be surprised to discover vitamin A is often an ingredient.

We’ve already given you one clue – but do you know which natural sources provide vitamin A? Obviously, carrots help us see in the dark, but along with orange and yellow vegetables, vitamin A is found in liver, eggs, oily fish, spinach, broccoli and full-fat dairy products. Let’s not forget all good sources of beta-carotene in your diet are advantageous, as your body will turn this into vitamin A – magic hey? Sources of beta-carotene include leafy green veg, sweet potatoes, red peppers and apricots, to name just a few.

The daily recommendation for vitamin A is 0.7mg a day for men and 0.6mg a day for women.

Vitamin B

Commonly known as the vitamin B complex, the 8 B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) offer their own positive qualities which contribute to developing healthy skin, eyes and your immune system. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps your body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food and forms haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body – great for those cardio lovers! For more information on all B vitamins, click here.

Natural sources of vitamin B include green vegetables, wholegrain foods, fruit, eggs, cereals, meat and poultry – or if your keen to maintain your B vitamin levels, take one vitamin B capsule per day.

vitamin c

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins for immune health, aiding those dreaded colds and other infections which are bound to crop up around the winter months. Its list of health benefits is sizeable, helping to protect and maintain the health of cells as well as your skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage – perfect for those taking part in regular weight-lifting sessions.

Fruit and vegetables are the best natural sources of vitamin C, which is why it’s so important you get your greens and berries to maintain an active lifestyle. Top dietary sources include: oranges, peppers, strawberries, broccoli and sprouts (yes, sprouts!)

The daily recommended dose for adults is 40mg of vitamin C a day. One of the reasons supplements are so important is that vitamin C can’t be stored in your body, so you need to make sure you get it every day – no excuses.

Vitamin D

As the days grow shorter and cooler, you’ll hear more people talking about the importance of your daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D benefits your body in many ways, from keeping your teeth and bones strong to support your mental health.

Did you know vitamin D supports the regulation of the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body, which in turn are required for keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy? Now you do.

A lack of vitamin D has been linked to tiredness, low mood and a lack of motivation, something you should most definitely avoid on leg day!

A healthy, balanced is your first port of call when ensuring your body is getting all the essential nutrients that it needs. However, we understand there’s only so much you can eat. Typically, adults need 10mcg of vitamin D a day, which may be consumed from dietary sources, including oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks, but most notably, your free source is from the sun. Depending on where you live, many people get a healthy dose from the sun through the spring and summer months. For those in colder climates, or in the winter months’ healthcare professionals recommend supplementing the deficit – we’re here to help.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is one of the most overlooked nutrients and many of us are unaware of its numerous health benefits. This powerhouse of a cell has antioxidant properties that prevent cells inside our body from oxidative damage, not to mention it maintains our immune system, skin, hair and eyes – what else could you want?

The best natural sources include plant oils, wheat germ and nuts and seeds. We recommend 15 mg per day for both men and women.

vitamin e nuts

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an integral role in healing your wounds – make sure you top up before 5-aside, those Astro-grazes need all the care and attention possible!

Research has also linked vitamin K to strong, healthy bones. Leafy veg, oils and grains are all top sources of vitamin K, though smaller quantities may be found in meat and dairy. Adults need approximately 1mcg a day of vitamin K for each kilogram of their body weight.

When should you take your vitamins?

It’s a good question. For many of us, eating three times a day is a given, but we don’t consider this in terms of these being the times when our body needs its vitamins, proteins, carbs and various other nourishment.

Given that fresh fruit and vegetables are often scarce in the winter months, boosting your immune system requires extra care and attention – the good news? We’ve an extensive selection of health-boosting vitamins to keep you on track.

As mentioned earlier, vitamin D, of which you get most of your daily consumption from the sun, is definitely one you need to supplement when the shorter days set in and common colds and viruses are more abundant.

Looking at your supplements on a micro level, the time of day can have an impact on the effectiveness of your vitamin intake. For the morning, vitamins B, E, A and C provide a boost of energy and work well on an empty stomach before your breakfast.

At lunchtime, with your food, multivitamin supplements are best. When combining, vitamin A is effective with vitamins C and E, along with zinc.

If you are taking vitamins in the evening with your dinner, vitamin D increases your absorption of calcium. It should also be taken when eating oily fish, or in other words, omega-3.

 

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-reid-8b619b122/. She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.


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