When we are children our parents start out telling us to take our vitamins. When asked why, they reply that they are good for us. However, most parents could not tell you exactly what vitamins do in our bodies. As parents, we know that vitamins and minerals are important, they make us stronger, they keep us healthy, but how? What exactly are these vitamins doing inside us? What are they fixing, making healthy?
We here at Rebuild Your Vision know how important it is to have a better idea of what the vitamins actually do, so here’s a little breakdown and explanation for you. After all, someday you may be having the same conversation with your children. Wouldn’t you like to have an answer for them?
What Are Vitamins?
You could think of vitamins as the maintenance crew for your body.
When your home needs maintenance you call in the landscapers, handymen, or house cleaners; vitamins do the same kinds of work inside our bodies.
Vitamins, like our bodies, are carbon-based. They are molecular compounds which our bodies cannot produce, but which we must have to live healthy lives.
Since our bodies cannot produce vitamins we need to get them from the foods we eat or from supplements. When life was slower paced and most mothers could stay home and cook for their families, many people got all the vitamins they needed from the foods they ate.
Today, most parents have to work in order to keep up with our ever more expensive lifestyles. More and more people are turning to supplements because they just don’t have the time to prepare all the food needed to provide the vitamins we need. There is also the fact that many of our young adults just don’t know how to cook. Parents used to teach this skill to their children, but with more mothers having to work outside the home, they are not able to pass down this skill.
Medical science has found that the human body needs at least 13 different vitamins to work properly.
Why Do Most Supplements Contain Both Vitamins and Minerals?
Minerals, like vitamins, cannot be produced by your body. Minerals come from the earth or water. Plants absorb minerals from the earth and we in turn absorb the minerals from the plants when we eat them. The plants we are talking about include vegetables and leafy greens. Although, animals get the vitamins and minerals from other plants as well.
However, our fast-paced lives make it difficult to eat enough of the vegetables and greens we would need to supply our daily minerals. Trying to get all the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need from the food we eat would mean eating three large meals a day as well as several health snacks.
In most families today we are lucky if we sit down and share even one meal a day. In many cases our schedules just don’t match well enough for more than that. While many prepared foods have vitamins and minerals added to them, we still can’t be sure that we are getting all that our bodies really need.
Some minerals we need only very small amounts of, while others require larger amounts on a daily basis. Researchers now know that there are over 17 vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in order to stay healthy.
Should We Be Taking Vitamins Every Day?
Some of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need cannot be stored. When we take a supplement one day some of the vitamins will be used immediately by the body, others will be stored in fat cells, and others still will be flushed from the body.
You may be wondering why you can’t just take a pill containing the vitamins that can’t be stored. The problem with that is you have no way of knowing how much of the stored vitamins and minerals your body has on hand.
You’re wondering why you can’t just take one dose per week. There are actually some vitamins that are dangerous to your body if taken in too large a quantity at one time.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are designed to provide what your body needs everyday for optimal health.
If I Feel Better, Can I Stop Taking Daily Vitamins?
Of course you can, we’re not your mom, and we can’t make you take your vitamins. However, without the daily amounts of vitamins and minerals your body will not be able to get its work done.
Vitamins and minerals have many jobs to take care of throughout your body. If you fail to supply the vitamins and minerals those tasks do not get done, or get done poorly. And like my mother always used to say, “You feel good for a reason… so don’t fix it, if it doesn’t need to be fixed.”
You may still feel fine for a few days after stopping your vitamins, but without a daily dose you may begin to catch colds more often, feel tired faster, or simply not feel good. These are some of the early signs that your body is not getting the support it needs. Even if you begin taking your vitamins again it may take several days for you to feel good again.
Is it Better to Take Vitamins in the Morning or at Night?
Some of the minerals, like calcium, work better during the night while you are sleeping. However, you can choose to take a daily vitamins at either time. What ever works out best for you with your schedule. The important thing is that you remember to take them. If it is easier for you to take them before bed rather than in the mornings when you may be more concerned with other things, that’s fine.
Read the label and decide what works the best for you. Some daily vitamins recommend that you take them with food either before or after eating. If your mornings are hectic, consider taking them with a snack before bedtime instead.