Micronutrients: Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins supply us with the building blocks of life. They are remarkable micro-compounds designed to initiate and assist in myriads of biochemical processes which sustain life. Technically, vitamins fall into the category of micronutrients in that only minute amounts are needed by the body. Vitamins are intrinsically linked to enzymes, which are catalysts that activate the chemical chain reactions required by every body system. For this reason, vitamins may also be referred to as coenzymes.
Two types of vitamins exist: fat soluble and water soluble. It is important to continually replenish water-soluble vitamins in that they are continually excreted and cannot be stored. They include vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in liver and fatty tissue; however, these vitamins also need continual replacement. These include vitamins A, D, E and K. Ideally, our diets should provide us with adequate supplies of vitamins. Realistically, this is far from the case. RDA requirements may be enough to ward off deficiency symptoms, but they rarely address disease, stress, environmental toxins, etc. For this reason, vitamin supplementation is recommended, especially for those who suffer from ill health or require extra endurance.
Today, a vitamin revolution is underway. Vitamins are now being intensely studied for their role in not only the prevention of disease but treatment as well. Amidst controversy, more and more data is emerging suggesting that vitamin therapy may play an integral role in the treatment of disease. Combining certain vitamins with herbs and other natural compounds can be very effective in the treatment of various diseases and disorders. Moreover, taking a good, powerful vitamin and mineral supplement on a daily basis is the first health practice we should incorporate into our daily routine.