Vitamins are essential for the body and they are required in very small quantities. They are needed for normal metabolism, growth and well being. Each vitamin also has its own specific functions. Vitamins are not made in the body so they must be obtained from our diets.
There are 13 major vitamins divided into two groups, either fat-soluble or water-soluble.
The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are stored in the body, whilst water-soluble vitamins such as B and C are stored to a much lesser extent. Regular intake is therefore important.
Minerals are also required in small quantities and are required for growth and well being. Like vitamins, each mineral has specific functions, and minerals are also not made in the body. Minerals are absorbed from the earth by plants and then enter our bodies through food.
There are 18 elements classed as minerals or trace elements that are recognised to have some role in metabolism. The difference between minerals and trace elements is the amount required in a balanced diet; minerals are required in greater quantity than trace elements.
RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
RDA is the quantity of a nutrient that is needed regularly to keep most people fit and healthy. So if something is giving you 10% RDA of a particular nutrient, it is giving you one tenth of the average daily intake of that nutrient required for a group of healthy people.
We can define our nutritional needs and understand that a healthy and balanced diet will help with our wellbeing, but it is not always possible to put the good intentions into practice. We lead busy lifestyles, constantly juggling work, family and interests. We all know the vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit and vegetables can be lost through overcooking, or storage, if shopping weekly. Furthermore, everyone relates to putting a lot into a day and eating fast foods or unhealthy snacks. Foremost it is important to ensure we have a nutritious and balanced diet, but just to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need a supplement can help.