The fact that vitamins are vital for the body and they have a great responsibility, we know from childhood. But not everyone still understands how they work and what they are for. Perhaps that is why when it comes to nutritional supplements, there are many myths and stereotypes around that have been invented by pharmacologists or simply by those who have not figured out the right dosages, and therefore did not see any result. Vitamins are truly indispensable in the process of life. These micronutrients ensure the effective functioning of metabolic processes, affect immunity and appearance.
How vitamins work
During evolution, nature has deprived people of the ability to synthesize vitamins within the body. Although in some animals this skill is still preserved. For example, goats themselves can produce vitamin C. And we do not, so people need to get it with food. A balanced diet is the foundation of health. Neglecting them, many of our ancestors hundreds of years ago suffered from serious diseases associated with vitamin deficiency. One of these was scurvy – a shortage of important micronutrients led to large-scale epidemics, which killed thousands of people. It is believed that in the modern world this should not be, but, as recent studies show, there remains a significant number of people who lack a certain substance.
Vitamins and minerals are an integral part of the working enzymes. The structure of the enzyme itself is made up of protein. When we consume amino acids, they first assemble into a chain, then fold up and form a ternary structure or, in other words, the same protein that is used in the body as a building material. It is during this process that vitamins come into effect: they become the active center of the enzyme, without which the structure cannot work and subsequently collapses. Therefore, even such a microscopic part acts as an indispensable link in metabolic processes.
When to start drinking vitamins
Previously, in the Middle Ages, life expectancy was significantly lower. Cases have been recorded when people lived to an advanced age, however, this was more likely due to their genetic characteristics rather than real health indicators. Now, when we live much longer, there is an urgent need to be more attentive to our body. From this point of view, it can be compared with a car: the more carefully the machine is operated, the longer it will serve its owner.
Eating properly and getting micronutrients is one of the basic principles, and it is important to adhere to them. This is especially true for young people, as they, as a rule, do not lead a “regimen” lifestyle: they have a bite on the go, go to bed late, do not always go in for sports, and even less think about food additives. The paradox is that until about 30 years they will still feel healthy, but after a radical fork in them begins: depending on the “initial” data, the body will age either slowly or quickly. Then the issue of nutritional balance will regain its relevance.
Signs of vitamin deficiency
Such vitamin deficiency, as it was before, is now practically not observed. Hypoavitaminosis is more often manifested – a pathological condition caused by a deficiency of a group of vitamins in the body. Usually it is characterized by a decrease in immunity, appetite, mood – signs that are difficult to distinguish from other diseases or simple ailments. Therefore, without a special laboratory test, it is impossible to determine the deficit. Although when patients come to us, we already know in advance that, according to average estimates, they will be deficient in vitamin D and some B vitamins – they are most often lacking for those who do not take additional micronutrients.
But vitamins E, A and C are less likely to be in short supply. We consume them more actively from food, so sometimes we don’t even need to fill in the gaps artificially. It is the features of human nutrition that often limit the intake of vitamins in the body. In addition, any digestive problems get in the way of absorption of beneficial trace elements into the blood, which also creates another artificial barrier. So, any shortage of substances poses a more serious question: how much does a particular person need in order for his body to function correctly? Just looking at your face, you can’t say. Only laboratory examinations help here.
The role of the sun and technology
Most often, vitamin D is in short supply. This is due to the peculiarities of its consumption. Nature came up with a complex mechanism: for the development of this microelement, a person must not only be in the sun with unprotected skin, but also actively move in this state for several hours. When a vitamin is formed in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, it needs to go into the bloodstream – this is provided only by physical activity. If we just lie on the beach, vitamin D is also produced, but then it collapses instantly, without any benefit.
Everyone knows that staying under the sun with unprotected skin for a long time is at least unsafe for health and, of course, not so easy – it’s tiring. Interestingly, as a biological species, we cannot exist in Russia at all. Here we are allowed to live the civilization and technologies that we invented. According to the initial idea, people should only populate the southern regions – there we could generate the necessary amount of vitamin D. From the point of view of evolution, five thousand years is not enough to change this process. Therefore, we have to adapt to it.
What is Vitamin D for?
Vitamin D has more than 2 thousand different types of receptors located in the tissues of the body. It acts as a neurosteroid and enhances a person’s cognitive abilities – improves the functioning of the nervous system. It also increases immunity: data show that the incidence in children decreases 5–6 times with regular use of a sufficient amount of vitamin D. This does not mean that a person forever forgets what flu is and how to treat it. But the duration of the disease is clearly reduced: for example, instead of 15 days, you will have to spend at home only three. In addition, the vitamin is directly related to muscle strength and sex hormones, and it also affects the condition of the skin and calcium metabolism, strengthening bone tissue.
Is it possible to prescribe vitamins to yourself
Incorrect dosages can lead to an excess of the substance in the body, although in the case of vitamin D it is less likely than with vitamins E or A. First of all, we are talking about the fact that a person takes on extra costs, without which it would be completely possible dispense with knowing the exact amount of trace element needed by a particular patient. In addition, an overdose of vitamin D is dangerous for children – it leads to excessive calcium deposits. But even if there is no acute danger, a chronic overdose may appear, which, according to medical data, can lead to the formation of kidney stones and other diseases. But to exceed the daily intake of vitamins through food is almost impossible. Most likely, the indicators will continue to remain low, even if you carefully monitor the diet.
In order to avoid negative consequences, it is best to immediately contact a medical laboratory. Tests need to be done for both adults and children, and in the dynamics – 1-2 times a year, it is necessary to update the results in order to monitor whether the amount of the substance in the blood changes. You can take an analysis for vitamins in the complex, or you can understand it in stages, examining one by one. Compared with conventional blood chemistry, such tests are significantly higher: 1-3 thousand rubles. for the definition of one substance. This price is due to sophisticated high-tech research methods. But the longer the test is done and more expensive, the more likely it is to show a more accurate result.
Is it true that in autumn we need more vitamins than in summer
In the modern world, the amount of vitamins in the blood is completely independent of the season. If we lived in a confined space and ate only our own products grown in the garden, then this theory could have a right to exist. But since in summer and winter we use the same products, except for the period of seasonal fruits, which lasts only a couple of months, there is no difference. Meat, fish, cereals, vegetables do not differ from each other, whatever the weather outside. The time of day also practically does not affect the intake of vitamins. With the exception of some substances, which, in fact, are not vitamins, but still stimulate many processes. For example, magnesium for the relaxation effect is best taken in the evening, and ginseng in the morning for vigor. And for the basic trace elements there is no specific schedule.