Perry Adam Lieber Shares the Most Important Vitamins For Your Health
While some people overlook them, an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is necessary for optimal health. Vitamins affect our bodies in many ways. They help with bone health, wound healing, and the immune system. They also help us convert our food into energy and repair damage to our cells. If we do not consume enough vitamins in our diet or multivitamin supplements, we may encounter nutritional deficiencies and other serious health problems.
Health and fitness expert, Perry Adam Lieber of Santa Barbara, CA, shares the benefits of vitamins for your body and mind, offering some ideas for whole food sources for these key compounds.
Vitamin A, also known as retinol or retinoic acid, affects immunity, reproduction, cell division, growth, and vision. It is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants are important because they protect cells against the influence of free radicals. Free radicals are produced when the body digests food or is exposed to radiation and tobacco smoke.
Vitamin A is available from many food sources as well as by supplementation. Foods such as cheese, eggs, oily fish, milk, and yogurt are good sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A can also be obtained by eating foods rich in beta-carotene, which the body can use to make vitamin A. These foods include yellow, red, and green leafy vegetables like red peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach.
If you do not get enough vitamin A in your diet, you could run a greater risk of skin inflammation, delayed growth, infertility, and respiratory infections.
Vitamin B6, or homocysteine, is necessary for carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. It is also helpful for the production of neurotransmitters and red blood cells. Vitamin B6 is involved in regulating mood and improving the symptoms of depression. It promotes brain health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. It can help with symptoms of PMS and treat pregnancy-related nausea.
Vitamin B6 also has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. These benefits include preventing clogged arteries and minimizing the risk of heart disease. In animal studies, subjects that were deficient in vitamin B6 had higher cholesterol levels.
Vitamin B6 cannot be synthesized by the body, so it must be ingested in food or supplement form. Meats, fish, peanuts, soybeans, wheat germ, bananas, and oats all contain beneficial levels of vitamin B6.
The consequences of not getting enough vitamin B6 are many. People may develop anemia, heart rhythm abnormalities, depression, confusion, and a depressed immune response.
Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is another important member of the B vitamin family. Vitamin B12 is responsible for the health of blood and nerve cells. It is also involved in making DNA. It can help to prevent megaloblastic anemia, a serious condition that makes patients feel weak and tired.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods and is added to many fortified foods. Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, milk, and other dairy products are excellent sources of vitamin B12. It is also used to fortify foods like breakfast cereals.
Without vitamin B12, people are vulnerable to developing pernicious anemia. A deficiency can also lead to conditions of the small intestine like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the best-known vitamins. It helps with the immune system and the cardiovascular system as well as the eyes and skin. It can help to prevent certain prenatal health problems. Vitamin C may be the most versatile vitamin with the most benefits for the entire body.
Foods rich in vitamin C include citruses like oranges and grapefruits, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and leafy greens like spinach. It is also readily available in supplement form, though many doctors believe that this nutrient, among others, is better absorbed through whole food sources rather than through a supplement.
People who do not get enough vitamin C in their diets are prone to a disease called scurvy, which leads to hemorrhaging and abnormal bone and tooth formation.
Vitamin D or calciferol helps the body absorb calcium. It helps to prevent osteoporosis or the weakening of bones during old age. Muscles need vitamin D, as does the immune system.
Most people get vitamin D from fortified dairy and dairy alternative products like soy milk and fatty fish and eggs.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, a greater chance of developing multiple sclerosis, and type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin E is sometimes overlooked, but it is important for human health. It is a fat-soluble antioxidant that fights free radicals and boosts the immune system. It is also used in cellular functions.
It is found in many foods, both in natural form and through fortification. Vegetable oils are some of the best sources of vitamin E. Nuts and green vegetables are useful. It is also fortified in breakfast cereal, fruit juice, and margarine.
According to Perry Adam Lieber, people who do not get enough Vitamin E may experience Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and nerve damage.
Vitamin K helps blood clot. It is found in leafy greens and other vegetables. It is unusual in that it is not included in most supplements. Vitamin K deficiency is very common in infants, leading to supplementation upon birth.
Understanding How Vitamins Affect Your Health
Perry Adam Lieber recommends that all people check on their vitamin intake and ensure that they are getting all of the recommended vitamins in their diet. If they are not getting enough vitamins, a supplement may be indicated.