Vitamin Breakdown: What Does Each Supplement Actually Do?!

Vitamin Breakdown: What Does Each Supplement Actually Do?!
Al Sears MD

Since we were children, we've been told to take our vitamins. But have you ever really thought about what it is that these vitamins are doing for your body and overall health? The thing that I cannot stress enough is, vitamins are NOT a substitute for food! You need to be eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet to maintain proper healthy and vitamins are not able to give you all the nutrients you need on their own. There is a reason they are called supplements.

So, what is the purpose of taking vitamin supplements on a daily basis? Different people have different dietary needs and the vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and herbs found in supplements can aid people in filling out their daily needs.

Here are a few of the more common vitamin supplements on the market, what they do for you, and perhaps who should consider taking them.


Image: Celiac.org

Thiamine (Vitamin B1): Key to nerve function, energy, and metabolism. Thiamine has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease but results are inconclusive so far.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Also important for energy and metabolism, Riboflavin also keeps vision normal and is a key ingredient in healthy skin.

Niacin ( Vitamin B3): Yes, energy and metabolism are both effected by Niacin, but it is especially important for the functioning of the nervous system and digestive system. People with digestive issues may benefit from adding a Niacin supplement into their diet.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): Pyridoxine is part of an enzyme needed for protein in your metabolism and also is a key red blood cell producing agent. It is found in poultry, meat, fish, and fruits and veggies but people who stay away from meat may find Pyridoxine to be useful.

Folic Acid: Part of an enzyme that is needed to create DNA and new red blood cells, Folic Acid can be found in leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and liver. It is now also added to most refined grains. People who often eat processed foods may need an additional supplement of Folic Acid.

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12): Important to the function of making new cells and key to nerve function, Cobalamin is not found in any plant foods, but mostly in meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Vegans, vegetarians, and people with a lactose intolerance may want to take a Vitamin B12 supplement daily.

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): Necessary in the immune system's overall health, Ascorbic acid aids in the absorption of iron and helps people stay healthy. It is found only in fruits and veggies, especially citrus like oranges and grapefruits.

Source: WebMD