Vitamins: An Introduction

Vitamins and minerals are part of our daily lives. But how much do we really know about them? This article will give you a brief introduction to some, a re-acquaintance to others.

It is best to obtain your vitamins and minerals, aka micronutrients, from whole, organic foods. This may not give us all that we need though, and supplementation is often required.

There are two types of vitamins, those that dissolve in fats and oils, and those that dissolve in water. These are called fat soluble or water soluble, depending on what they dissolve in.

Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body, so build up and therefore toxicity can occur. These are vitamins A, D, E, F, & K.

The water soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are not stored in the body. They are made of the B-group, C, & P, and are lost through perspiration as well as urination. It is necessary to maintain a daily intake of these vitamins in order to avoid deficiencies in them.

We are used to the RDA as our way of figuring out what we need of each vitamin on a daily basis. This stands for the Recommended Daily Allowance, and has been in use since the 1940's. It is a standard dependent on only estimations, and assumes that we know all there is to know about micronutrients. These differ from country to country, and are the minimum requirements to avoid deficiency.

New standards have been proposed to update the RDA, this was back in 1993. This breaks vitamin requirements into different calculations, as follows: The RDA is still in there, but as Recommended DIETARY Intake, there's also the Adequate Intake Levels (AI), the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR), and the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UI). To learn about these in further detail, please follow the link!

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