A vitamin is an organic compound and these are essential to help your body grow and remain healthy. What this means in simple terms, is that a vitamin is a natural chemical. Of the essential vitamins, there are thirteen major ones, the lack of any one of them can mean you are deficient in a certain vitamin.
Vitamins come in two distinct types, those soluble in fats and those soluble in water. Of the major vitamins, A, D, E and K are the ones soluble in fats and Vitamins B and C Are water soluble. The water soluble vitamins are not stored by the body and so these need to be topped up regularly.
On the whole, if you have a normal well balanced diet this should provide your body with the vitamins it needs, but if your diet is not fully balanced then you may need to supplement the vitamins you receive in your diet. This shows that vitamin supplements can be useful. Some of the following may suggest if you may need help with your vitamin intake.
Vitamin B12 is found in meats so this is something vegetarians need to look out for. Vitamin C and B can be lacking in elderly people. People working on night shifts could have a lack of vitamin D as your body produces this during sunlight hours. Overworked people, people under pressure and people suffering from stress could be lacking in vitamin B and C. People on diets can also have a lack of these 2 vitamins. Vitamin B can be lacking in heavy drinkers and vitamin C deficiency can be a problem area for heavy smokers as well as heavy drinkers.
The usual way to get vitamins into your body is orally. Some vitamins can be taken by injection such as vitamin B12 but it is important that this is only carried out by a fully qualified medical practitioner. By taking vitamins orally they have to pass through your digestive system and the strong acids in your stomach can destroy much of the usefulness of the vitamins so you have to ensure you take the recommended dose, not more or less, but the recommended dose.
You must remember that even though you may have a healthy and well balanced diet, the natural processes of your body can destroy some of the value of the vitamins you absorb. If you want to help preserve their effectiveness than eating fresh foods and only cooking foods lightly will help increase the usefulness of the vitamins.
Vitamin supplements can be used to help boost any vitamin deficiencies you may have and extra vitamins are most easily obtained, (and used), in tablet form. Vitamin tablets can either be multivitamins or single vitamin types.
The decision as to what you take is up to you, unless of course you have been advised to take a vitamin supplement by your doctor. Vitamin C is often taken in the winter and the time leading up to it. This has been shown to help keep the common cold at bay.
You must only take vitamins to help supplement a well balanced diet and do not go overboard, so take vitamin supplements in moderation. Take only as much as you need and no more, and if your diet is as good as it should be, then you may not need any vitamin supplements.
You must remember that they are, as the name suggests, supplements and they are not designed to replace a well balanced diet. Be sensible and use vitamin supplements carefully.