Vitamins and minerals: what are they used for?

Vitamin A, B, C, D… Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc… Do you confuse these nutrients and their benefits? Are you sure you get the right ones for you?

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients found in our food. They contain no calories, but they contribute to the regulation of the body’s various systems, making them essential to proper body function. Unfortunately, diet alone can’t always provide enough of each—especially when their therapeutic action is desired. That’s why supplements can be precious allies. See the table below for a brief summary of their functions and their uses.

Vitamins

Vitamin A

This vitamin is mostly found in food from animal sources, but we also produce it from beta-carotene from vegetables.

Functions Food Sources
Essential for the good immune system function and for good vision.

Important for skin, mucous membranes, bones and teeth.

Antioxidant.

 

Vitamin A

Offal (such as liver), fish, milk

Beta carotene

Sweet potato, carrot, dark green vegetables

Found in these Adrien Gagnon products

All multivitamins, Feminex Calcium

B Complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Biotin)

Each has its own use, but all work hand in hand and are often found in the same foods.

Functions Food Sources
Help metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy.

Many are useful for our nervous system.

Help maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.

Help the body cope with stress.

Some participate in red blood cell production.

B vitamins in general and Biotin

Whole grain cereals, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, eggs, liver, poultry, fish, legumes

Folic Acid

Dark leafy vegetables, avocado, beet, yeast, legumes

 

Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

B Complex 100, all our multivitamins, Feminex Calcium, Feminex Iron, Wheat Germ Oil, Royal Jelly, Brewer’s yeast, Super Energex

Vitamin C

Contributes to maintenance of healthy skin, mucous membranes, ligaments and bones.

Functions Food Sources
Helps healing of wounds.

Helps the body cope with stress and infection.

Antihistaminic against allergies.

Important for our circulatory system.

Antioxidant.

 

Citrus, pineapple, berries, kiwi, sweet pepper, broccoli, cantaloupe

 

Careful: cooking easily destroys Vitamin C

Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

Vitamin C 1000, chewable Vitamins C, all multivitamins, Feminex Calcium

Vitamin D

Functions Food Sources
Essential for bone and tooth health, because it is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption.

Recent studies have shown that it could have a preventive action on different cancer types and that it could help immune functions as well.

 

Dairy products and enriched soy products, liver, eggs

 

Best source: summer sun exposure or a supplement during winter months

Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

Vitamin D 1000 UI, all multivitamins, Feminex Calcium, Vitali-T

Vitamin E

Functions Food Sources
Essential for cardiovascular health.

Important for all cell membranes, particularly those of the immune system.

Contributes to wound healing.

Antioxidant.

Dark green vegetables, whole grain cereals, wheat germ, vegetable oils, nuts, shrimp
Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

Vitamin E, all multivitamins, Wheat Germ Oil, Feminex Calcium

Vitamin K

Vitamin K has long been known for its participation in the blood clotting process (e.g., following a wound). Other health benefits are being studied studied. In fact, this is one of the most studied vitamins these days. It holds many surprises!

Functions Food Sources
Essential for blood clotting.

Important for bone health.

Many studies on this vitamin are under way.

Green vegetables, green cabbage, dairy products
Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

All multivitamins

Minerals

Many minerals are essential to our health. Similar to vitamins, all are important for different body functions. Here are the major ones.

Calcium

Of all minerals, calcium is the most abundant in the body. It is estimated that in spite of the addition of calcium to many foods, we are generally missing it in our North American diet.

Functions Food Sources
Essential for the health of bones and teeth.

Protects against osteoporosis (weakening of the bones).

Essential for heartbeat rhythm.

With vitamin D, may help prevent some cancers.

Algae, dark green vegetables, oranges, black berries, almonds, dairy products, enriched soy drinks, fish (especially when consumed with the bones), legumes
Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

Calcium-Magnesium products, all multivitamins, Feminex Calcium, Glucosamine with Calcium and Magnesium

Magnesium

Functions Food Sources
Because it is involved in almost all body systems, Magnesium is essential to our basic biochemistry.

Essential for heart health.

Important for the health of bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.

Dark green vegetables, avocado, banana, wheat germ, nuts, fish, sea food, legumes, dairy products

 

Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

ACTIVE+ Muscle-Aid, Calcium-Magnesium products, all multi-vitamins, Magnesium 300, Magnesium Chloride, Feminex Calcium, Glucosamine with Calcium and Magnesium

Iron

The most common vitamin or mineral deficiency is iron deficiency, which leads to anemia and symptoms such as fatigue and paleness of the skin. Careful: before taking an iron supplement, make sure to consult with a health practitioner in order to know your iron levels and your precise iron needs.

Functions Food Sources
Component of red blood cells.

Prevents anemia.

Essential for energy production.

Avocado, beet, dried fruits, whole grain cereals, Blackstrap molasses, almonds, legumes, fish, meat
Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

Feminex Iron (tablets), Feminex Iron Tonic (ampoules), Multi Adults, Multi Active Women

Zinc

Zinc is essential for approximately 300 vital processes in the body.

Functions Food Sources
Important for the immune system, the nervous system and for the hormonal system.

Important for prostate health.

Contributes to wound healing.

 

Mushroom, algae, whole grain cereals, pumpkin seeds, legumes, seafood, fish, meat, poultry
Found in these Adrien Gagnon products:

Calcium-Magnesium + Vitamin D and Zinc, all multivitamins

Why should I take my vitamin and mineral supplements with a meal?

In general, supplements are better absorbed and better used by the body when taken with foods that contain many other nutrients. Those nutrients act with the supplements for more efficacy.

References :

Different web pages from Passeport Santé, http://www.passeportsante.net/, consulted on March 15, 2011. French only.

Gagnon, Roseline, La Nutrithérapie, Atlantica, Douce Alternative, 2001. French only.