Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements

Vitamins and Minerals are required for our bodies to function properly and we can obtain all that we need from a Healthy Balanced Diet.

Advertising would lead you to believe that you cannot get your required daily allowance just from what you eat. So they tell you that you need extra and the Health Food Stores and Supermarket selves are full to bursting with an ever-increasing array of miracle Supplements to keep you going.

Some studies have shown that the Vitamins and Minerals from a food source are in fact better than from a tablet or synthetic source. This is thought to be because when consumed as part of a Healthy Diet other components or trace elements within the food or food combinations may contribute to their effectiveness. This is in contrast to taking a Vitamin supplement because it tends to work in isolation.

Another factor to consider when taking these supplements is the dosage, it is usually many times higher than is required. Packaging stating that it is a “Mega-Dose” leads people to think that “More is Better” and they take these as a cure all with the notion that they will ward off illness. This is a fallacy.


There are two types of Vitamins, these are Water or Fat Soluble. And they interact with each other and the body in different ways.

  • These are B Group Vitamins (B1 Thiamin, B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B6 Pyridoxine, B12 Cyanacobalamin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Biotin) and C. These cannot be stored by the body and are replenished daily in a good diet and are used as required.

  • These are Vitamins A, D, E and K. These can be stored in the Liver or in Body Fat and stay in the body much longer than Water Soluble.

    For one example Vitamin C is Water Soluble and when the body has its requirements, any extra is simply secreted in the urine. That doesn’t mean to say that you can take as much as you like and your body will dump the excess because it will have some affects.

    Excessive amounts could cause Diarrhoea, Uric Acid could be excreted from the kidneys and lead to Kidney Stones, excessive amounts of Iron or Mercury could be absorbed and it could also interact with Medications and alter their effectiveness.

    This is the same for all Vitamins and Minerals when there is an imbalance it can lead to problems. The message is clear “Don’t take excessive amounts of any Vitamins and Minerals” as more is not necessarily better.

    This is not to say that taking supplements is bad. It would have to depend on factors such as, the type of Vitamin, the amount of (or combination with), whether or not it is beneficial or is there any particular reason for a deficiency (Drugs).

    It is not a clear case to say that there is no need for supplements in some cases. But before any are taken, especially in large doses, it would be best to understand why there it is necessary and is there any short or long term side effects from the dosage.

    What can be said about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements is that:

  • They should not be considered a replacement or cure to a poor diet.
  • They can be easily sourced from a proper “Well Balanced Healthy Diet”.
  • ”Mega-Dose’s” are completely unnatural and proper consideration and consultation should be taken before their use.
  • Look at it this way, a Cars engine needs Petrol (fuel) to move and it needs Oil to function properly. If it has too little or too much Oil, that can cause problems. Our Bodies are similar, we need Food (fuel) for Energy and we need Vitamins and Minerals to function properly. If we have too little or too much, that can cause problems.


    Vitamin ALiver, Eggs, Cheese, Milk, some Fish. Not in Low-Fat Dairy Products
    Carotene (A)All orange, yellow and green fruits and vegetables, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Broccoli
    Vitamin CMost fruit and vegetables. Oranges, Broccoli, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Cabbage
    Vitamin DExposure to the Sun, Kippers, Salmon, Herrings, Liver, Milk, Butter, Cheese
    Vitamin EWheatgerm Oil, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Legumes, Wholegrain cereals
    Vitamin KSpinach, Lettuce, Soya beans, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Peas, Beans, Cabbage
    B1 ThiaminPork, Kidneys, Liver, Wholemeal Bread, Lean Meat, Chicken, Fish
    B2 RiboflavinLiver, Kidneys, Milk, Yeast Extract, Eggs, Yogurt, Cheese, Some Breakfast Cereals
    B3 NiacinLiver, Kidneys, Tuna, Salmon, Legumes, Dried Fruits, Mushrooms, Wholemeal Bread
    B6 PyridoxineLiver, Kidneys, Banana, Lentils, Eggs, Tuna, Turkey, Lean Meats, Potatoes
    B12 CyanacobalaminRichest Sources are Liver and Kidneys, Oysters, Tuna, Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
    FolateLiver, Green Vegetables, Wholemeal Breads and Grains, Peas, Peanuts
    Pantothenic AcidLiver, Yeast, Chicken, Pork, Lentils, Peanuts, Avocado, Lean Meats, Eggs, Milk
    BiotinLiver and Kidneys, Oats, Legumes, Rice Bran, Fish, Avocado, Milk, Oats

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    These are also known as “Essential Minerals’. We can acquire most of these through the foods that we eat. Excellent sources of these Minerals can be found in Fruits, Vegetables, meats, Nuts, Beans and Dairy products. These are vital in the production and growth of Bones, Hair, Blood, Nerves, Skin, Enzymes, and Hormones. They assist in normal Bodily functions such as, Nerve transmission, Blood circulation, Fluid regulation, Energy production and Muscle contraction.

    Minerals that are necessary for human health are;

  • IRON.
  • Iron assists in the production of Energy by carrying oxygen to the cells and takes carbon dioxide back to the lungs through the blood. It has a major involvement in the energy system and that is why you feel tired if you have an Iron deficiency.

    Women have a larger Iron requirement than men because of their menstrual cycle. Women can lose up to half their monthly amount of Iron during this time, so it is imperative that they have an adequate amount in their diet. Most Women don’t eat enough Red Meat, compared to Men.

    Excessive amounts can have an effect on the Immune system, Cell growth and Heart function. But these are rare as initial responses may be Diarrhoea and Gastrointestinal problems. Too much Iron would not normally occur through normal dietary intake but more likely an overdose of Iron pills.

  • Calcium is probably the most important mineral that we need. As it strengthens bones and helps with proper nerve and muscle functions. We all need Calcium in our diets but after childhood its importance seems to suffer as we feel that our growing has finished and most Milk and Dairy Products, which are excellent sources of Calcium are looked at as a Child’s Food.

    This attitude is ignorance, as Calcium is necessary throughout our entire lives to help build and grow strong bones. Calcium loss and low intake, especially in Women is the major cause of Osteoporosis. Once women experience menopause they have a hormone decrease, which in turn increases the loss of Calcium from their bones. It is essential for Women to keep their Calcium supply high and to stay active and do some weight bearing exercise to assist in calcium absorption into the bones.

  • ZINC.
  • Zinc helps with various functions within the body. It supports the immune system, it is essential for growth and normal development and helps the body make protein and to use carbohydrates. Too much Alcohol consumption can affect Zinc levels as it can be lost in the urine.

  • Potassium is important to balance the sodium obtained from salt. It is mostly found in the lean muscle tissue of the body and trained athletes usually have a greater quantity. It is inside body cells, while the sodium is on the outside. The kidneys regulate its distribution and it controls the amount of water in and around the cells. It also plays an important role in the transmission of nerve impulses, which cause muscle contraction.

  • Magnesium is involved in the enzyme system and controls the way the body uses proteins, fats and carbohydrates and also assists in bone growth. It is very unlikely to have too much magnesium as long as the kidneys are functioning properly.

  • Iodine helps in the development and function of the Thyroid Gland and the metabolic rate of the body. In children it is essential for growth and the development of the nervous system.


    IronLean Meats, Egg yolk, Leafy green vegetables, Wholemeal bread, Legumes and Nuts
    CalciumMilk, Cheese, Yogurts, Canned Fish with Edible Bones, Wholegrain cereals, Legumes
    ZincOysters, Crab, Soy beans, Sardines, Lamb, Red Meats
    PotassiumMeats, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Legumes, Cereals
    MagnesiumCereals, Bran rice, Dairy products, Spinach, Banana
    IodineSeafood’s and Shellfish are the best sources, Smaller quantities in Fish, Meat and Milk

  • Basically we can get all of our required Vitamins and Minerals in a Well Balanced Diet. Plenty of variety and a lower consumption of alcohol will ensure that all the required nutrients are supplied. Don’t fry food or over cook vegetables as some of the nutrients can be lost. A quick Steam or Microwave ensuring that they still have some crispness will suffice.

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    Protein Supplements have been around for years and I have spent my hard earned dollars on them. I just wished I knew then what I know now and I would have been better off.

    Before you part with your hard earned dollars take a good look at the ingredients and make sure that you are buying a quality product. Don’t be caught up in the hype of its promises of superior muscle growth or super recovery.

    Most of these so called Supplements are nothing more than a recipe including a form of Powdered Milk (either skim or full cream), some Soya Bean protein, Sugar and some Vitamins.

    You could make the same yourself by mixing up a batch of flavoured Powdered Milk and swallowing that with a multi-vitamin tablet. The only thing you might gain from drinking this is some Weight because you wont gain any Lean Muscle from it.

    You would be better off spending the money on a Healthy Diet with Lean Cuts of Red Meat for protein and Fresh Vegetables for nutrients (and train hard)

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