Vitamins: What Are They and Why Should You Be Taking Them?

| Patient Education

We’ve all heard the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but have you ever stopped to think where that saying came from and if it’s true? What we know now that our ancestors didn’t, is that apples are full of vitamins and nutrients that work positively towards our health.

As medicine has grown more advanced, we now have the capabilities to produce vitamins that, alongside fruits and vegetables, pack a serious punch of essential nutrients.

But along with any advancement, there can be confusion. When there are thousands of vitamin brands to choose from, how do you know what to take, how much, or how frequently?

Let’s dive into that and answer some common questions regarding vitamins.


What’s the difference between vitamins and minerals?

Simply, vitamins are organic compounds that can be found naturally in food or even sunlight. Whereas minerals are inorganic elements that are also found naturally in soil or water and are absorbed by plants and then eaten by animals. Let's take a look at some common vitamins & minerals you might be familiar with.

Vitamins vs. Minerals

Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin D

Minerals:

  • Calcium

  • Sodium

  • Potassium

An older person utilizes a pill box with the days of the week to keep track of their vitamins.

While a healthy, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients a person needs, it can be hard to achieve.

If you are a picky eater, have allergies/intolerances, or are finding yourself too busy to cook balanced meals, vitamins and supplements are a great solution to ensure you are providing your body with the fuel it needs. Work with your primary care doctor at Schneck to determine if vitamins are something you should include in your daily routine.


What are multivitamins?

You’ve likely heard of multivitamins, they’re a powerful supplement that typically includes 26 different essential vitamins. It’s a great “all in one” solution for those that are needing a supplemental way to get their vitamins. However, multivitamins can never replace a healthy, balanced diet and should never be used as a “band-aid” for poor eating choices.

In most cases, a multivitamin is prescribed for those who suffer from a nutrient deficiency, either due to age, pregnancy, or an inability to absorb nutrients from food due to a disease.

It’s important to realize that not all multivitamins are the same and some include misleading phrases on their packaging. That’s why it’s critical to work with your primary care doctor to understand your body’s specific needs and find a reliable brand to take.


What vitamins should I be taking?

Vitamins and minerals are not “one size fits all”. Factors such as age, weight, diet, genetics, and medical conditions will impact what vitamins you should be taking. This is because these impact how well you absorb nutrients or if your body contains adequate or inadequate amounts of certain vitamins or minerals.


Find out what vitamins are right for you

To ensure you are getting the benefits from vitamins and minerals you are seeking, you should first work with a primary care doctor to understand what your individual needs are.

Your primary care doctor will review your medical history and perform exams to understand what deficiencies you may be experiencing. Get started by scheduling your annual wellness check, or if you don’t currently have a provider at Schneck, finding a doctor.


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