Did you know that a Polish bio-chemist called Kazimierz Funk (1884-1967) created the first formulation of the concept of vitamins, or as he named them in 1912; Vital Amines or Vitamines? (Thanks Seven Seas!)
Now I really don’t know much about vitamins. I’m one of those people who will rely heavily on Vitamin C when there is a cold going round the office and after taking one Omega 3 tablet, vowed never to do it again (don’t even get me started!) so as you can see, this isn’t my speciality. But after a bit of research, I can tell you that most people should get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you want to start taking vitamin and mineral supplements to kick start a new healthy you, check out my list of vitamins, their functions, the sources of each vitamin, and how much you need every day…
- Functions: It strengthens immunity, helps vision and keeps skin healthy.
- Sources of Vitamin A: cheese, eggs, oily fish, milk, yogurt and low-fat spreads
- How much do I need? Women need 0.6mg per day, men need 0.7mg per day
- There are many B vitamins including; B1, B2, B3, Pantothenic Acid, B6, Folic Acid and B12.
- Sources of B vitamins: eggs, milk, meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables, wholegrains, rice and more
- How much do I need? This will vary between each B vitamin so do check the NHS website for more details
- Functions: protect cells and keep them healthy, maintains tissue and supports organs, helps wound healing
- Sources of vitamin C: oranges, red & green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes
- How much do I need? 40mg a day
- Functions: Keeps bones and teeth healthy
- Sources of vitamin D: most vitamin D is from sunlight on our skin but it can be found in some foods: oily fish, eggs, powdered milk, fortified fat spreads & breakfast cereals
- How much do I need? Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy diet
- Functions: helps maintain cell structure by protecting cell membranes
- Sources of vitamin E: nuts and seeds, wheat germ (found in cereals and cereal products)
- How much do I need? Women require 3mg a day, men require 4mg a day
- Functions: it’s needed for blood clotting so it helps wounds heal properly, and also helps build strong bones
- Sources of vitamin K: green leafy vegetables (broccoli & spinach), vegetable oils, cereals
- How much do I need? Adults need approximately 0.001mg a day for each kg of their body weight
- Functions: helps build strong bones and teeth, regulates muscle contractions and ensures blood clots normally
- Sources of Calcium: milk, cheese, and other dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, soya beans, tofu, soya drinks with added calcium, nuts, bread and fish
- How much do I need? Adults need 700mg a day
- Function: helps make the thyroid hormones which keep cells and the metabolic rate healthy
- Sources of Iodine: it’s found in seawater, rocks and some types of soil so good sources include sea fish and shellfish. It can also be found in plant foods like cereals and grains as well as cow’s milk in the UK
- How much do I need? Adults require 0.14mg of iodine a day
- Functions: it helps make red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body
- Sources of Iron: liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, wholegrains, soybean flour and most dark-green leafy vegetables
- How much do I need? Women require 14.8mg a day, men require 8.7mg a day
If you want to find out more information on these vitamins (trust me, there’s lots more to learn!) you can visit the NHS website.
Please do consult your doctor before buying vitamins. Too little or too much can be bad for your health and what I suggest above may not be right for you as an individual.