Vitamins and the Fitness Craze

Vitamins are chemicals that help the body to function. Vitamins come from natural sources such as plant and animal materials. With the exception of one of the vitamin K types, vitamins have to come in from external sources because they are not manufactured by the body. So vitamin sources are usually taken into the body by food sources or supplement.

Without vitamins, the body could not function. They are vital to health and essential to life. This is so true that a lack of vitamins can cause disease or illness in many cases. Vitamin deficiencies lead to all kinds of symptoms and illnesses, indications that the body isn't functioning properly.

There are two types of vitamins. Vitamins can be fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are stored by the body in the fatty cells or in the liver. Fat soluble vitamins are vitamins A, E, D and K. This way when the body needs them it just uses what's in storage. The body does not expel the fat soluble vitamins so the chance of a build up is possible if they are ingested in excess. Therefore it is important not to build up a large amount of these vitamins, as too much of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K can become toxic to a person’s system.

Water soluble vitamins are taken into the body and dispersed by water. These vitamins are not stored in the system. Water soluble vitamins are taken in by the body and circulated. The body uses what it requires and expels the rest. There is no chance of a build up of these vitamins; therefore water soluble vitamins don’t become toxic to the system if taken in mega doses.

Since vitamins are so essential to health and life, it is imperative that people eat well balanced meals so they take in all of the required vitamins in the necessary amounts. Getting vitamins through food is the best way for the body to get the nutrition it needs. Vitamin supplements are convenient to use if you are not sure that you’re daily vitamin requirements are being met through the food you eat.

How do you know what vitamins you need daily? And how do you decide which foods to eat to get the correct vitamins to keep your body healthy? The Federal Drug Administration publishes the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals. These lists of vitamins and minerals will help you decide the proper amounts of certain foods that people need to maintain health. The FDA’s lists will also instruct you about which foods contain what vitamins, so you will know what to eat each day. The FDA also requires that food items have labels that tell what percent of the minimum daily requirement their items ingredients contain. If people look at the labels they can get an idea of how they are doing to ensure they have the daily requirements of the various vitamins. Plus, researching the type and amount of vitamins in fresh fruit, vegetables and other types of food will help you determine whether or not you are getting enough nutrition from the food you eat daily.

Sometimes, for various reasons, people just can’t get enough nutrition from the food they eat, no matter how hard they try. Because of people’s busy life styles, preparing and eating nourishing food can be a challenge for even the most vitamin conscious people. And many people just don’t feel that they have the time to do eat right. People who know they are not eating well balanced meals from each of the food groups might decide to supplement their diet with purchased vitamins, whether they need them or not.

The problem then becomes one of balance. A person wanting to use supplements must know whether or not they are getting too many fat soluble vitamins from a combination of their regular diet and the supplement they take. Not paying attention to how much of what they take, they may be taking in much more of the fat soluble vitamins than they need. Remember, the fat soluble vitamins are not expelled from the body. Some people who are into the health and fitness craze may accidentally take too many of the fat soluble vitamins as well, thinking that the vitamins can't hurt them. Or others may think they have a vitamin deficiency because they feel run down. Whatever the reason, they put together their own basket of vitamins, mixing both water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. This approach may not lead to good health.

It is a good idea to do a little research and pay closer attention to the types of foods you eat every day, and the vitamins they might contain. If you do decide that you need a bit of help in the vitamin area of your diet, try taking a basic multivitamin to begin with. Or perhaps your diet is excellent and only missing a bit of a vitamin or two. You will then know which specific vitamin to add to your daily regimen. Vitamins are readily available at drugstores and vitamin specialty stores which came into being and became popular when the health and fitness craze began.