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Vitamins and Minerals

Having a good balanced and varied diet which will give you all of your vitamin and mineral requirements is a perfect way to maintain your health. This is not always possible. Taking a multi-vitamin with minerals can help to provide some of the missing elements from your diet. Individual nutrients will be useful in treating a particular condition or imbalance. If your diet is lacking in particular nutrients this could leave the body open to increased illnesses, many of which are chronic. It is also about striking the right balance with your own individual requirements.
Standard Vitamin and Herb Disclaimer
Always seek professional advice if you are on any medication, have a long term illness, breastfeeding or pregnant. Always follow the recommended doses for vitamins, minerals and food supplements.

SupplementGeneral Description
Vitamin AThis is a strong antioxidant and maintains healthy tissues and a protective action on the respiratory tract. Promotes growth, bone formation, healthy skin and hair. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. Retinol is the naturally occurring form of vitamin A.

Please Note Pregnant women or if you are planning a pregnancy, should not take in excess of 5,000iu per day. Please consult your medical practitioner before taking Vitamin A.

AntioxidantsIncluding selenium, vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidants inhibit free radical damage. Anyone who lives in a polluted area, active people or smokers, would benefit from taking an antioxidant.

Beta CaroteneBeta carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A. It is an antioxidant, protecting the body from excess free radicals. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body.

Please Note Smokers are advised not to take high levels of beta carotene.

Vitamin B ComplexB vitamins are vital for stress tolerance as well as to aid the nervous system, they are best taken together as a B Complex, with individual ones used for more specific uses.

Vitamin B1
Is needed for normal functioning of the nervous system and muscles, which includes the heart muscles. B1 is required for converting carbohydrates, fat and proteins in the body. If you are a smoker, drinker, stressed or taking the contraceptive pill you may require B1.

Vitamin B2
Will aid reproduction and growth, working with other substances to help metabolise carbohydrates, fat and proteins. Benefical for vision, healthy skin, hair and nails. If you do not have many dairy products or red meat in your diet you might need to increase your B2 intake. If you are taking the contraceptive pill or have a stress condition then you may also benefit.

Please Note Sometimes B2 can cause a yellow colouration to the urine, this is harmless and will pass.

Vitamin B3
Required for healthy skin and normal mental functioning. Through the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan, it is made in the body. It is required for the production of energy from carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Please Note Should not be taken if suffering from diabetes or liver disease.

Vitamin B5
Pantothenic Acid
Needed for development of normal growth. It releases energy from foods, and is requireded for reactions involved in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. It has an important effect on the function of the adrenal gland and so is beneficial for the body being able to cope with stress. B5 helps build antibodies to fight off infections.

Vitamin B6
This is necessary for protein metabolism, the nervous system and immune functioning. It helps to form red blood cells and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), releases energy from amino acids and is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat. People who may require B6 are women on the contraceptive pill or HRT. Can be beneficial for PMS. If you smoke or drink, as these deplete B6 in your body, you may find a B6 supplement useful.

Please Note Should not be taken with anticonvulsant medicines.

Vitamin B12
Essential for a healthy nervous system, to improve concentration and red blood formation. Required for growth and production of energy from fatty acids. Vegetarians and vegans may require B12 (as it is not present in plant foods). When taken as part of a B complex it can be beneficial before and during menstruation.

CopperCopper is a mineral with a role in the pigmentation of the skin, hair and eyes. It helps the synthesis of proteins, nervous system and keeps up energy by aiding absorption of iron. Copper is required to convert the body's iron in to haemoglobin.

Vitamin C
Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C is water soluble. It is required for the production of collagen, a protein that forms a basis for connective tissue to enable healthy skin, cartilage, bones and teeth to form. It is also required for formation of the sex hormones and hormones in the adrenal gland. It maintains a healthy immune system and enables the body to fight off infections. A strong antioxidant, it protects against free radicals. People who smoke need twice as much Vitamin C as their body uses it to protect the body's tissues from the chemicals and smoke. It is recommended for anyone who; lives in a polluted area, is a drinker, or has a poor diet. Elderly people who have a poor diet or experience a loss of appetite. Anyone who has recurring infections and women taking the contraceptive pill.

CalciumCalcium is a mineral needed for the development and maintainance and the development of healthy bones and teeth. It helps nerve transmission, muscle function, blood clotting and regulation of blood pressure. Calcium is best taken with Vitamin D to improve calcium absorption. It helps to metabolize iron and helps the body adsorb vitamin B12.

Post-menopausal women, vegetarians, vegans, growing kids and teenagers may benefit from calcium. It is also used by the elderly, helping to prevent bones from becoming thin and brittle. Anyone who is under stress may need extra calcium as this causes calcium to be excreted in the urine.

Please Note If you are thinking of taking calcium but are on diuretic drugs, please consult with your doctor. Some diuretics can increase the calcium level of the blood.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D maintains blood levels of calcium and phosphorous. It helps the absorption of calcium to build bone and prevent bone loss. Vitamin D also increases the excretion of phosphorus from the kidney, but not calcium. Vitamin D may be formed by the sun on the skin. It may be needed by elderly people with a poor diet, vegetarians, vegans or post menopausal women. It also may be required for anyone who needs to cover their skin.

Vitamin EVitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant it protects against environmental toxins, helping to protect cells from free radical damage. It is also beneficial for the heart, circulatory and reproductive system and aids in the development of nerves and muscles. It is a great skin healer and will help prevent scarring on the skin. Anyone who smokes, or women who take the contraceptive pill will need extra vitamin E, as both are reported to lead to deficiency.

Please Note Do not take if you are taking anticoagulants, as vitamin E acts as a natural anticoagulant. If you suffer from high blood pressure, please discuss with your doctor before supplementing with vitamin E.

Folic AcidRecommended for women planning a pregnancy and in the early stages of the pregnancy. It is part of the B complex vitamins. It is needed for the development of the fetus and to help reduce the risk there might be of birth defects.

IronIron is a trace mineral. It is essential for haemoglobin and myoglobin - oxygen carring proteins. Haemoglobin is present in red blood cells and transports oxygen to the body's cells. Myoglobin is in the muscles, it stores oxygen, which is used during physical activity. Women lose twice as much iron as men. Increased levels are usually required by women who have heavy menstrual periods, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Vegetarians and children may require increased iron. Organic iron or ferrous iron are the best form to take.

Please Note Please keep iron supplements out of reach from children, they are at a higher risk of iron poisoning if taken in excess. Only give dosage stated for the age of the child.

MagnesiumMagnesium helps the function of the nerves and muscles. It is needed for the metabolism of calcium. When it is taken with calcium or vitamin B6 the absorption of magnesium is improved. It is required for every biochemical process in the body including energy production and hormonal activity. Anyone who suffers from stress or does a lot of physical activity will also benefit taking magnesium. Women taking the contraceptive pill or who have PMS symptoms (stomach cramps and sugar cravings), may be affected by blood magnesium levels dropping before a period.

Please Note Magnesium is toxic to people with renal problems or atrioventricular blocks. It can also interfere with tetracycline antibiotics, so it is best to take a few hours apart.

ManganeseManganese is a trace mineral. Taken for the development of the skeletal and connective tissues, sex hormones and reproduction. It is needed for healthy nerve function. It is also involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It helps to reduce nervous irritability and fatigue.

SeleniumSelenium is a trace mineral. It is an antioxidant, protecting and maintaining a healthy heart and muscles, it also helps to prevent cell damage and studies have shown that selenium can help protect against age related diseases. It is required for a healthy immune system and maintains healthy skin, eyes and hair. It is usually taken with vitamin E. The deficiency is more common where the soil is deficient, as it is in the UK. Selenium also binds to heavy metals in the body to assist in their removal. Vegetarians, elderly and smokers would benefit from selenium.

ZincZinc is necessary for enzymes involved in reproduction, metabolism, the detox of heavy metals, wound healing, the immune system, functioning of the thymus gland and to maintain healthy smell, taste and vision. Teenagers, dieters, people who drink a lot of alcohol and anyone who has lost their sense of taste or smell would benefit from taking zinc.