Vitamin supplements are produced arificiali that serve to fill the voids of these essential substances for life.
Vitamins are organic compounds that our body uses in very small amounts for various metabolic processes. The best thing would be to take vitamins and minerals through a balanced and varied diet, but nowadays it is easy to see the cases of vitamin deficiency also due to the depletion of these micronutrients in food due to the processes of consevazione, treatment and processing.
People who may need vitamin supplements are women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, vegetarians, alcoholics, drug addicts and older people.What is a mineral?
Minerals are necessary chemical elements for living organisms, in addition to the four elements, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen present in organic molecules.
Depending on the level of daily needs, the minerals are divided into two main groups: macro minerals and microminerals. The former is required in relatively large quantities, in excess of 100 mg, and include:
Calcium (Ca) is necessary for the muscle, heart, digestive system, bones, blood
phosphorus (P) involved in the proper development of the teeth and skeletal skeleton
Sodium (Na) in the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and in the regulation of the acid-base balance and the electrolytic cell hydro
potassium (K) in the regulation of blood pressure in the transmission of nerve impulses and in acid-base and the hydroelectric cell
chlorine (Cl) important for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and for the regulation of the cell of acid-base
magnesium (Mg) requires for the production of ATP and important in the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems
Sulfur (S) in high concentrations at the level of nails, hair, skin and joints
Micro-minerals are needed in amounts ranging from 1 to 100 mg, and include:
Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals
People who can benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements are:
Pregnant women –
women – People who drink alcohol in excess of the allowed amounts.
. Drug addicts
– People in the controlled and reduced diet.
Among older people (especially to the chronically ill or disabled)
-Women with heavy menstruation
-People with food allergies
-People with malabsorption problems, such as diarrhea, celiac disease or pancreatitis.
Women who plan to become pregnant should consider taking folic acid supplements to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the baby. L ‘folic acid can also be found in some fortified foods, such as some types of bread.
Vitamins and food
Research indicates that most of the vitamins that you get from the foods you eat are qualitatively better than those contained in the pills. Although the vitamins present in the supplements are synthesized with the same chemical composition, however, it does not seem to be equivalent. The main exception is folic acid, the synthetic form that is actually absorbed better by the body compared to the natural form in foods.
Food is a source of complex vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that work together, a situation that does not occur in supplements.
Research has shown that a food component that has a particular effect on the body may not have the same effect when it is isolated and taken as a supplement. This could be because the vitamins and minerals in the food are also influenced by other components of the food itself.
Phytochemicals are an important component of food, which is essential to reduce the incidence of cancer and heart disease. Dietary supplements do not provide the same benefits of phytochemicals in foods.
For these reasons, the intake of vitamin and mineral supplements should not be considered as a substitute for a varied diet.
The use of vitamin supplements
It is commonly believed that taking high doses of some vitamins act as a cure or prevention of certain diseases. For example, vitamin C is recommended as a cure for the common cold and vitamin E is considered to be useful as an antioxidant that helps prevent heart disease.
After an exhaustive search, however, none of these claims has proven to be true. Large-scale studies have always shown a reduced benefit of taking high doses of supplements.
Vitamin and mineral supplements can be toxic in high doses
The intake of some vitamins at the level of the highest recommended doses can cause problems. For example, vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, which means they are stored in the body: high doses of these vitamins can be toxic.
The intake of folic acid in large quantities can hide the deficiency of vitamin B12. In extreme cases, for example, when the intake is 100 times the recommended one, it can interact with the work of anticonvulsants, such as those used in epilepsy.
With only five times the recommended daily requirement, zinc, iron, chromium and selenium can be toxic to the body.
Ingesting large amounts of zinc can reduce the absorption of iron and copper and can cause heart problems and anemia.
A high intake of fluoride (especially in childhood) can stain teeth and weaken them.
Very large doses of fish oil can lead to a decrease in blood coagulation.
Excessive intake of calcium inhibits iron absorption.
Municipality is also iron toxicity at higher doses causing gastrointestinal problems and nausea, or, in more severe cases, coma and even death.
High levels of vitamin B6 have been linked to some types of nerve damage.
Doses of vitamin C above one gram can cause diarrhea.
High doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects as well as damage to those of the central nervous system, liver, bones and skin.
It is also very important in this case a “controlled intake by your doctor or pharmacist.
Stress, fatigue and vitamins
Vitamin supplements are considered an antidote to stress, although in reality, the feeling of being under pressure does not automatically lead to a deficiency of the vitamin.
Often, the feeling of weakness is not linked to this deficiency, but for a state of stress, depression or insomnia.
Vitamins and minerals as a short-term measure
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements should be considered a short-term measure. Long-term use of some supplements in high doses may cause symptoms of toxicity. If you feel deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, it would be advisable to change your diet and lifestyle, instead of taking supplements.