Nutrition: we know that it’s one of the most important parts of our life and wellness, but sometimes it is difficult to get the vitamins and minerals we need for a healthy diet.
Many people are turning to multivitamins and supplements to get the nutrients they need quickly and easily. But this raises the question: what vitamins should you be focusing on?
By the end of this article, you’ll have a good understanding of what nutrients your body needs and where to find them. Let’s get started.
Why Worry About Vitamins?
Before we talk about what vitamins you should be focusing on, let’s talk about what vitamins can do for you and why you should think more about your nutrient intake.
One of the most desirable benefits of proper vitamin intake is that it supports healthy energy levels.
For many of us, energy is difficult to come by, but your nutrition plays a vital role in your energy levels.
You might know that your body’s primary source of energy is macronutrients. There are three of them: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. This is where all of your calories come from and where your cells get their fuel. The energy is broken down into ATP that your cells can use as energy to function.
Your body needs vitamins and nutrients to break down that energy and convert it into a usable form. In this way, vitamins and minerals (or micronutrients) are vital for energy production, and getting proper nutrient intake can help boost energy.
Supports Body Function
Your body also needs nutrients for each of its parts to function properly.
For example, your body needs vitamin B-12 to produce healthy red blood cells. Without healthy amounts of B-12, your body doesn’t make enough healthy red blood cells (also called anemia), which can result in low oxygen levels due to insufficient red blood cells available to transport oxygen. The same problem can also happen from iron deficiency.
One of the most important things that nutrients help with is immune function. Your body needs different nutrients to have a properly functioning immune system that defends you against pathogens.
What Specific Vitamins Should I Focus On?
We’ve established that proper nutrition is absolutely critical for keeping a lack of energy away and supporting your health — but what are the best vitamins for energy and vitality? Let’s take a look.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important nutrients your body needs. They are a healthy kind of fat called polyunsaturated fats. Two of the most crucial Omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Your body doesn’t create any Omega-3s on its own, but they are incredibly important for your health, playing a role in cardiovascular function, cognitive health, and immune function.
In fact, about 15% of heart-related deaths in the US can be attributed to low EPA and DHA intake, making these fatty acids critically important for supporting your health, especially for older adults. They can support balanced cholesterol and help you maintain the health of your heart for vitality in the long run.
You can find Omega-3s mostly in fatty fish and fish oil, but also in certain types of algae and algae-based supplements like ours here at iwi life. Our EPA supplement is sourced from algae and is clinically proven to help your body 1.7X more Omega-3s than conventional fish or krill oil.
Vitamin D, specifically D3, is another critical vitamin to take for your health. For starters, Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Without D3, your body wouldn’t be able to get all the calcium it needs, even if you’re eating a good amount of it.
Because of this, D3 is important for maintaining healthy bone strength — but it does more than just that. Vitamin D also supports normal regulation of certain proteins in your immune system, supporting your body’s effort in fighting pathogens and keeping you healthy.
Vitamin C, also called L-ascorbic acid, is critical for the functioning of the immune system. It helps your body fix broken down tissues, create collagen, and plays a role in brain function by supporting the regulation of certain neurotransmitters.
One of the biggest roles this nutrient plays is with your immune system. Vitamin C is what starts the process of your body creating antibodies, and it’s also important for maintaining the health and function of your white blood cells. Without enough vitamin C, your immune system just wouldn’t be as strong as it should be.
You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits.
Vitamin E is an important type of nutrient called antioxidants. Antioxidants are key for mitigating damage in your body caused by free radicals. Free are molecules that have lost an electron and end up taking electrons from molecules in your body, causing damage.
Vitamin E and other antioxidants give the free radicals the electron they’re looking for, so they don’t cause damage to your cells. This works to protect your cell membranes, keeping your body functioning properly and energetically.
Zinc is another important vitamin for vitality. Although your body doesn’t require large amounts of this mineral, it is still of the utmost importance. Zinc is commonly known for supporting healthy, beautiful skin, but its benefits go beyond that.
Zinc is also important for the formation of DNA and for cell growth. It helps to heal tissue that has been damaged, create proteins your body needs, and maintain healthy immune system function.
If you don’t get enough zinc from whole grains, seeds, and nuts, you can find it in dietary supplements or vitamin supplements.
If it’s energy you want, you need to make sure to get plenty of B vitamins.
There are many important B vitamins that your body needs:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps with cell growth.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) creates coenzymes that break down food for energy.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps support healthy cholesterol levels.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supports the nervous and immune systems.
- Vitamin B9 (folate, folic acid) converts carbohydrates into energy.
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) helps produce red blood cells.
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency specifically, it could cause anemia, leading to fatigue, tiredness, and low energy in general. You can find the vitamin B complex in foods like red meat, seafood, lentils, and eggs.
This important mineral is critical for protein synthesis, muscle function, supporting the nervous system, maintaining blood pressure, and much more. It’s a crucial mineral for maintaining the various functions in your body and getting valuable energy where it needs to go.
Magnesium comes from foods like avocados, nuts, tofu, and even dark chocolate. You might also want to get magnesium from a quality multivitamin or magnesium supplement.
Where Can I Get These Important Nutrients?
Now that you know some of the vitamins that are important for energy and vitality, let’s talk a bit more about where you can get these nutrients to make sure you get enough of them every day.
A Healthy Diet
One of the most important things you can do is maintain a balanced diet. Any dietitian will likely tell you that if you eat the right foods, you can get many of the nutrients you need. But that raises the question: what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet?
First, you need to focus on your macronutrients, making sure to get plenty of whole grains and complex carbohydrates, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats.
Foods like lentils, leafy greens, fatty fish, citrus fruits, nuts, eggs, and avocados all supply you with these crucial macronutrients in a healthful way — they might even help you with some weight loss too.
A Robust Multivitamin
But for many people, achieving this highly nutritious diet is fairly difficult. It can be like jumping through hoops to get all those veggies in every day. This can be especially difficult for people with restricted diets like vegans, keto eaters, lactose-free people, or people with gluten intolerance.
That’s where multivitamins and supplements come in. Especially if you have a plant-based diet, getting enough omega-3s, vitamin D, and B vitamins is incredibly difficult. So a supplement made with nutrient-rich algae can be especially helpful for you, as it’s packed with all of those important nutrients that are difficult to find in other plants.
A multivitamin is a great way to get the extra nutrients and fill in the gaps. Whether you’re worried about iron deficiency anemia, low D3 levels, low Omega-3s, or just want to bolster your nutrient intake, multivitamins are a great move.
There are so many important vitamins that your body needs to maintain healthy energy throughout your day and your life, but it can be difficult to eat a diet that gets all of them in. That’s where high-quality vitamins and supplements come in.
If you’re looking for high-quality, environmentally conscious, plant-based supplements that can fill your nutritional needs, check out iwi life.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life | American Society for Nutrition
Plan Your Plate | National Institutes of Health
Vitamin deficiency anemia | Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Zinc | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.