Your Vitamins: Explained

Photo credit: Hinge Photography

 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Sure, we’ve all heard that anecdote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but have we considered its relevance when it comes to our vitamins? Often we can prevent common sickness by starting a daily vitamin regimen rather than spending hundreds of dollars on doctor visits and prescriptions for what began as a common cold.

Even if you do take your vitamins faithfully like your mother always told you, you may not know why they are important or what they are truly doing for your well-being. Here we have broken down the ingredients of your vitamin bottles into facts that are easier to swallow.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that is not produced by the body. It must be ingested through supplements or from fruits and vegetables such as citrus or leafy greens. Vitamin C supplements are very easy to find on their own, but may also be found as an ingredient in multi-vitamins. It is difficult to “overdose” on Vitamin C due to its water solubility, meaning that any excess is flushed from the body.

Why take Vitamin C daily? Vitamin C helps the body to heal after being injured and helps to ward off free radicals which have a hand in degenerative diseases such as arthritis, heart disease and cancer. The recommended dosage of Vitamin C, for women over 18, is 75 mg/day.Women who are pregnant or breast feeding usually require more than the recommended 75 mg/day. We prefer Solgar’s Vitamin C capsules which contain 1000 mg per veggiecap.

 

Photo credit: Lilac Saloon

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin which is water-soluble. Women who are pregnant, or who may become pregnant, should take a supplement containing folic acid to help prevent against miscarriages, spina bifida, and neural diseases in their child. Folic acid may also prevent against certain types of cancer, heart and brain diseases, and memory loss. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables as well as some fruits.

Because this vitamin is so important during pregnancy, women should not rely solely on diet for her daily intake. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid and should be taken daily by women who are TTCing or pregnant. Our Daily Mom writer, Megan V., likes getting her folic acid via New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is fat-soluble and is not naturally found in many foods. Vitamin D must be processed through both the liver and kidney for the body to convert the vitamin into a useful substance. Vitamin D encourages immune health and proper functioning of cells in the body. Vitamin D and calcium together promote strong bone health.

The daily recommended dosage of Vitamin D for women (pregnant or not) is 15 micrograms (mcg). Cod liver oil, most fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and orange juice are among the best food sources for daily Vitamin D intake. Many people are not getting the Vitamin D needed from their diets, however, and need to supplement with a daily vitamin.

Check your multivitamin for Vitamin D (also known as ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol). Or you can take it on its own with this amazing Solgar Vitamin D3 supplement!

 

Photo credit: Hinge Photography

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids which are not found naturally in the body and must be consumed. Experts have found links between Omega-3 fatty acids and reduced inflammation, increased heart health, and lower risks of personality disorders, cancer and arthritis. It is important that pregnant women intake Omega-3 fatty acids in order to pass along benefits such as proper vision and nerve function to their babies. Many nutritionists suggest a diet that follows Mediterranean customs for proper Omega-3 consumption; eating foods such as fruits and vegetables, fatty fish such as tuna or salmon, olive oil, and garlic.

Supplements for Omega-3 fatty acids may be found on the shelves as Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil. We are loving the brand Nordic Naturals for our Omegas because they are completely purified from mercury and dioxins so you know that you are only putting the best products into your body.

 Calcium

While calcium is technically an element found in many different minerals, it is most popular as being the ingredient for strong teeth and bones. Calcium is essential for bone and teeth hardness and strength, nerve function, and releasing of hormones. Women who are not pregnant need 1,000 mg/day while pregnant women need as much as 1,300 mg/day. Dairy products are a good food source of calcium, as are leafy greens, salmon, and whole grain breads and pastas.

It is recommended that a person take no more than 500 mg of calcium carbonate at a time to assist with absorption. If your calcium supplement is 1000 mg, consider cutting it in half and taking each half with separate meals. These calcium citrate tablets from Solgar are just 250 mg each, which removes the hassle of having to cut them in half!

 


 Vitamin K2

Not only is Vitamin K2 helpful with its role in healthy blood clotting but it is often under appreciated for its many other roles. When K2 is combined with Calcium, they become an amazing cocktail for bone strengthening! One of K2′s forms is from your diet, though not a vegan diet. The short-chain form of K2, called menaquinone-4 is found in animal based foods such as butter and egg yolks.

Most people take it in supplement form because of its ability to stay in the body for a longer period of time and its convenience. The recommended daily dose is around 200 mcgs. Are you taking Vitamin K2? If you aren’t, we recommend these capsules by Solgar! K2 deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, brain disease, heart disease and cancer. If you are taking Vitamin D in supplement form you should be taking K2 to help it process correctly in your body! Spread the word about this little known vitamin and possibly save some lives!


Niacin

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin which you may not know yet. Let me introduce you to this amazing vitamin! Niacin is necessary for digestion, skin and nervous system function. It is found in your diet via legumes, nuts, lean meats, dairy products and eggs. If your diet is not rich in these foods you will want to look for a supplement, like these from Solgar. Need another reason to add Niacin to your diet or vitamin regimen? It lowers your bad cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol! Are you getting enough? The recommended daily dose is 14 mg! If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you will need a higher amount so that your baby is also getting the Niacin he or she needs!


 

{Other articles about vitamins and healthy living can be found in our THRIVE category}

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Kayla

Kayla lives in Atlanta and is currently pregnant with her first baby, a girl. Kayla is a shoe hoarder and fashion addict. She can be found scouring Pinterest boards, fashion magazines and online boutiques in her spare time.

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