Vitamins & minerals

Vitamins and minerals are vital substances that are easily destroyed when cooking food. But is just one multivitamin enough to avoid a deficiency?

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins belong to a number of organic substances (substances that contain carbon). There are 13 vitamins and they are all essential (vital), which means that we must regularly get these vitamins through the diet because the body can not produce them. These 13 vitamins can be divided into two categories: water soluble and fat soluble. The fat-soluble can be stored in excess in the body fat, while an excess of the water-soluble vitamins disappears from the body with the urine. This division of vitamins into fat-soluble and water-soluble stems from how chemists in the past obtained the various vitamins: some dissolved easily in water while others needed to be leached out with ether.

The fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods and are best absorbed by the body if taken together with fat. The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, E, K and D. Vitamin D is actually a hormone with many powerful health effects, but is still considered a vitamin. The body can produce vitamin D provided we get enough sunlight, which is unfortunately not possible during autumn, winter and early spring as the sun never reaches so high that the UVB rays reach us. An extra intake of vitamin D in the form of supplements is thus necessary for optimal health.

The eight different B vitamins and vitamin C belong to the water-soluble vitamins, which means that the deficiency symptoms come quickly in the event of a deficiency of these. The exception is vitamin B12 which is stored in the liver. Adults survive for a shorter period without vitamin B12, while infants and those with absorption difficulties (eg the elderly) quickly become deficient.

 

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