The Role of Vitamins and Supplements in our Health
In modern world, it is basically impossible to go through your day without seeing an advertisement that promotes certain vitamins and supplements.
Some advertisers take this further by misleading customers about the benefits of their products and how they could improve quality of life in endless ways.
Due to the poor regulation of these products, it is extremely challenging to determine whether a dietary supplement is truly beneficial or just another scam.
For this reason, we decided to write this article so we can cover the most common vitamins and supplements that you’ll need.
Why do you Need Vitamins and Supplements?
Inside every cell of the body, hundreds of biochemical reactions take place every second.
These reactions serve multiple purposes, including the synthesis of necessary compounds that intervene with metabolism, breathing, and other physiological functions.
Furthermore, metabolic cascades need substrates and enzymes as mediators, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and coenzymes.
While all vitamins are involved in some biochemical reactions, not all supplements serve the same purpose since we may simply take them to improve digestion (e.g., fiber supplements).
The Major Vitamins and Supplements you Need to Consider
Vitamin A is an umbrella term used to describe numerous compounds known as retinoids, which mediate many physiological and biochemical reactions.
By interfering with the action of several hormones, such as T4, insulin, and cortisol, vitamin A has diffused metabolic effects on the cell, including a vital role in the different stages of wound healing.
This compound stimulates the growth of epithelial cells, fibroblasts, granulation tissue, angiogenesis, and collagen synthesis, which are all crucial steps for wound healing and the reduction of scarring surface area.
In one study, researchers found that local and systemic supplementation with vitamin A increases dermal collagen deposition, thus accelerating wound healing in acute injuries and improving its appearance in chronic scars.
Vitamin C is an essential compound that cannot be synthesized inside the body.
Consequently, the unique source to get vitamin C is through dietary intake (e.g., fruits, vegetables).
Sadly, the vast majority of the general population does not get sufficient amounts of this vital compound through their diet, hence the need to take supplements.
Vitamin D is an important compound that ensures numerous biochemical reactions to keep your body functioning.
The unique feature of vitamin D is that it exerts its action like a hormone rather than a vitamin, which allows it to reach multiple organs and provide many health benefits.
In fact, every cell of the body contains vitamin D receptors in their nuclei.
In general, people get vitamin D through dietary intake or via complex biochemical cascades that involve the skin, liver, and kidneys.
Unfortunately, many people are deficient in vitamin D, which augments the risk of several maladies.
Here are some benefits of taking vitamin D supplements:
- Increase bone mineral density
- Boosted weight loss and basal metabolic rate
- Optimized cardiovascular functioning
Iron is an essential mineral that’s mostly associated with the production of red blood cells.
However, iron also intervenes in several other biochemical functions, including immune optimization, energy production, and wound healing.
Copper mainly aids wound healing by promoting angiogenesis and producing stabilization extracellular matrix proteins.
Researchers believe that introducing copper to wound dressings could potentially accelerate the process of acute wound healing.
Zinc is an essential mineral that mediates several biochemical reactions and helps in the formation of connective tissue.
Unfortunately, our cells are unable to naturally produce zinc, thus leaving dietary intake as the unique source of getting this mineral.
Here are some benefits of zinc:
- Optimizes the immune system
- Accelerates the production of red blood cells
- Protects the cells against oxidative stress
As we mentioned earlier, the cells are an active hub of biochemical reactions.
They need vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to run smoothly.
According to reports, the body houses 37 thousand-billion-billion reactions every single second!
If you consider the enzyme to be the hero of biochemistry, coenzymes are the sidekicks that increase the rate of reactions.
Deficiencies in coenzymes are often problematic as it could lead to life-threatening complications, and in milder cases, debilitating dysfunctions.
Coenzyme Q10 is a dietary supplement that increases the rate of mitochondrial biochemical reactions to produce Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP).
For reference, ATP for the human body is like gas for your car. Both entities cannot survive without fuel.
Coenzyme Q10 is a crucial element of several metabolic cascades that include the three major macronutrients (e.g., carbohydrates, protein, fat).
L-Arginine is an amino acid that’s crucial for several structural and biochemical functions.
The main role of this amino acid is to mediate the production of nitric oxide (NO), which is a molecule that regulates the diameter of blood vessels.
L-Glutamine is another amino acid that mediates wound healing and scar formation.
While researchers are still debating about the exact mechanisms involved in the action of L-Glutamine, many studies confirmed its effectiveness in this area.
According to researchers, L-Glutamine is an excellent choice for post-operative healing, especially when started early on.
In one animal-based study, they concluded that:
“Administration of glutamine supplements accelerated the wound healing process, and it seems that glutamine is effective in the initial stages of healing.
Therefore, the authors recommend oral glutamine for patients with a burn injury”
Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and coenzymes all play a role in the optimal function of our cells.
Each of these compounds has a specific role to fulfill, and consequently, deficiencies often lead to serious complications.
Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on the importance of supplying your body with the essential supplements, therefore not being subject to misleading advertisements.
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