Vitamins, along with minerals, are essential for the optimal functioning of the body, and each vitamin benefits the body in its unique way. Antioxidants in the form of a vitamin benefits the body by fighting cell degeneration caused by free radicals that exist in chemical, radiation, cigarette smoke, alcohol and pollution. Antioxidants can be found in Vitamin C, E and beta carotene, and each vitamin benefits different areas of the body.
Vitamin A has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, to promote the proper growth of bones, teeth, soft tissue and the nervous system. This vitamin benefits the nervous system and boosts immunity. Vitamin B1, the first of the B complex vitamins, helps convert carbohydrates and protein in to energy and improves the body’s resistance to stress; each B complex vitamin benefits the body in a similar fashion, and almost all of them boost the immune system, maintain the adrenal gland and the nervous system and help the body fight off infections.
Linus Pauling made Vitamin C famous by discovering its properties in preventing and easing the symptoms of colds and fighting infection. This vitamin benefits the heart and helps prevent heart disease. Teeth and gums are also maintained through sufficient consumption of Vitamin C. If you are taking iron supplements, include Vitamin C as well, since this Vitamin benefits the absorption iron.
Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium, strengthens bones and teeth and prevents osteoperosis. It also maintains the muscles. Vitamin K, found in egg yolks and many common foods, such as grains, promotes proper blood clotting, is beneficial for kidney functioning and prevents the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries.
Taking a multi-vitamin benefits most active adults, but one should be cautioned against overdoing it. Many argue that most of the vitamins people need are available in foods, and that since fat soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin K, can cause health problems in excessive doses, it is better to avoid the risk and not to take multi-vitamins. Others argue that stress and other factors, such as a diet insufficient in nutrients, make it necessary to take a multi-vitamin supplement.