We asked the experts whether you really need vitamins or not? Do you need them to include in health and beauty routine? If yes, How?
What’s a vitamin?
Basically, a vitamin is an essential nutrient your body can’t produce enough of all on its own. That’s where food, supplements, and other sources (like getting vitamin D from the sun) come in. There are two kinds: fat-soluble vitamins are stored for long periods of time in the fat tissues of your body, as well as in the liver, while water-soluble vitamins pass through your body pretty quickly and need to be replaced more often. Without them, your bod can get into some serious trouble.
Can I survive on vitamin supplements?
No way.”It’s not good enough to eat like crap and then expect your vitamins to take care of everything. In other words go ahead and take ’em in case what you’re eating isn’t meeting your daily vitamin needs (because, chances are, it’s not)—and that goes double if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or someone surviving mostly on pizza from your dorm’s cafeteria.
Real talk! Vitamins: worth it?
Definitely. Get started with a multivitamin—a made-for-women daily formula is a smart choice, and while there’s generally no difference between the brand-name bottle and the generic, comparing nutrition facts is always a good idea. It sounds like common sense, but always pick the vitamin that comes closest to meeting 100% of your daily recommended needs, which simplifies the process. Put your multi-vitamin somewhere you won’t forget to take it and always swallow it with food and water to help improve absorption.
What you shouldn’t do, is create your own vitamin cocktail by taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You could end up with an excess, and overdoing it with fat soluble supplements can wreak havoc on your liver and kidneys.
You won’t start feeling the positive effects of a multivitamin immediately—so be patient! Over time, it’ll do wonders. Here are a few things sure to make an impression:
Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D Do a Body Good
“Sometime between the ages of 20 and 25, you’ll stop putting on bone mass and start losing it. Even if you’re still in your teens, it’s important to get enough vitamin D and calcium, which helps prevent osteoporosis later in life—not to mention keeps your bones in great shape for that 5K you’re training for or a night out on the dance floor in platform heels.
Then there’s ever-important iron, which aids in transporting blood throughout the body by helping to create healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Periods factor into things, too—when you’re losing blood every month, your iron needs increase. Without enough, you’ll become physically wiped out (or more so than you already are…!), and you can even develop iron-deficiency anemia.
B Vitamins and Omega-3s Are Brain Boosters
The iron that’s keeping your muscles from becoming fatigued? It’s also helping your brain function at optimum levels, so whether you’re preparing for an exam or marathoning your way through season two of House of Cards, getting your recommended daily intake will keep your energy levels, cognition, and focus up and running. The same goes for vitamin B, which helps form important brain chemicals, like dopamine (which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior—surely you’re familiar with the ol’ work hard, play hard ethic) and serotonin (which regulates mood, sleep, learning, and memory).
Omega-3 fatty acids are another necessity to keep your mind sharp. They help improve communication between cells while also preventing and treating inflammation throughout the brain and body. “If you want to skip the multi but are looking for a vitamin with the most benefit for you buck, it’s all about the omega-3s, in the long and short term,” says Ryba Matty. And their awesomeness extends far beyond the brain and into some of our most pressing beauty concerns.
Vitamins for Vanities
Breaking out? Start snacking on colorful veggies and take those omega-3s—they can actually reduce the size of a pimple by decreasing the inflammation. Same goes for puffy under-eyes, bloating, and other swell-prone spots. From acne to eczema to psoriasis mega-3s help your body from the inside out.
Getting enough antioxidants—like vitamins A, C, and E—is also a skin win. These power players help increase cell turnover, build collagen, and combat against the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. Sure, you don’t have to worry about that now, but preventative measures are super important and you’ll certainly thank yourself later. Antioxidants have also been linked to whiter teeth and brighter whites of the eyes, both of which go a long way toward helping you look alert and refreshed, makeup or not.
As for stronger hair and nails, you’re going to want to go with the B squad: B-complex vitamins—biotin, niacin, and cobalamin—add shine and thickness to your strands while also increasing keratin (a basic protein found in your hair, skin, and nails).
And yes, you should be in it for the long haul: Just like it’s important to start a good skincare routine at a young age, making vitamins a habit now will help things down the road.
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