How vitamin supplements actually work

We all know that vitamins are essential for our good health. But many of us do not know what a vitamin actually is or how it contributes to our wellbeing. An organic substance, vitamins are derived from various energy sources such as supplements, food or from the sun and interact with other processes in our bodies to give us nutritional benefits.

Sailors in the 18th century spent long periods of time on the oceans away from the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables, and this led to the development of the disease scurvy. Other illnesses were also rampant on board these long voyages, and the lack of vitamins meant the sailors were too weak to combat ordinary sickness.

Sailors began to notice that limes seemed to bring some benefit in combating scurvy; what they were ingesting was ascorbic acid which is the basis for vitamin C. But vitamins weren’t identified scientifically until the early 19th century.

There are two main groups of vitamins; either fat or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are retained in the body for longer so it is easy to take too many of them. The water soluble group which includes vitamin B, C and biotin are passed out of the body faster and more of these can be taken. It’s important to know what vitamins you are taking so that you are giving your body the essential nutrients needed.

It can be difficult to maintain the right balance of vitamins to help in achieving optimum health. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is one of the best ways of ensuring a good balance of vitamins. In today’s modern world and the new technology being applied in agriculture to maximize production, it’s possible that some people might need supplements to achieve the right nutritional balance.

Many vitamins and minerals can be obtained from fresh vegetables and regular servings of fruit; sufficient time spent in the sun can also be of benefit but the dangers of prolonged exposure to solar rays should be kept in mind. A doctor should be able to suggest the best way of obtaining the best nutritional balance in your diet.