Sports doctor, neurosurgeon, creator of a smart personalized health monitoring system bioniq health-tech solutions (BHS)
The fact that vitamins are vital for the body and they have a great responsibility, we know from childhood. But not everyone still understands how they work and why they are needed. Perhaps that is why, when it comes to food supplements, there are many myths and stereotypes around, invented by pharmacologists or simply those who have not figured out the right dosages, and therefore did not see any result. Vitamins are really indispensable in the process of life. These micronutrients ensure efficient functioning of metabolic processes, affect immunity and appearance.
How do vitamins work?
During evolution, nature deprived people of the ability to synthesize vitamins inside the body. Although some animals, this skill is still preserved. For example, goats can produce vitamin C themselves. And we don’t, so people need to get it from food. Balanced nutrition is the basis of health. Neglecting them, many of our ancestors hundreds of years ago suffered from serious illnesses associated with vitamin deficiency. One of these was scurvy – the lack of important micronutrients led to large-scale epidemics that killed thousands of people. It is believed that in the modern world this should not be, but, as recent studies show, there remains a significant number of people who lack certain substances.
Vitamins and trace elements – an integral part of the working enzymes. The structure of the enzyme itself consists of protein. When we use amino acids, they are first collected in a chain, then folded and form a ternary structure or, in other words, the same protein that is used in the body as a building material. It is during this process that the vitamins enter into action: they become the active center of the enzyme, without which the structure cannot work and is subsequently destroyed. Therefore, even such a microscopic part acts as an obligatory link in metabolic processes.
When to start drinking vitamins
Earlier, in the Middle Ages, life expectancy was significantly lower. Cases have been recorded in which people lived to an advanced age, but this, rather, was due to their genetic characteristics, rather than to real indicators of health status. Now, when we live much longer, there is an urgent need to be more attentive to your body. From this point of view, it can be compared with a car: the more carefully the car is operated, the longer it will serve its owner.
Eating well and getting micronutrients is one of the basic principles, and it is important to adhere to them. This is especially true of young people, since they, as a rule, do not lead a “regime” lifestyle: they have a snack on the go, go to bed late, do not always play sports, and all the more do not think about food additives. The paradox is that up to about 30 years old they will still feel healthy, but then a radical fork will begin: depending on the “initial” data, the body will age either slowly or quickly. Then the question of the balance of nutrition will find its relevance again.
Signs of beriberi
Such avitaminosis, as it was before, is now practically not observed. Hypoavitaminosis is often manifested – a pathological condition caused by a deficiency of a group of vitamins in the body. It is usually characterized by a decrease in immunity, appetite, and mood — symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from other diseases or simple ailments. Therefore, it is impossible to determine the deficit without a special laboratory test. Although when patients come to us, we already know in advance that, according to average statistical calculations, they will be deficient in vitamin D and some vitamins of group B – most often they are not enough for those who do not accept additional micronutrients.
But vitamins E, A and C are less often in short supply. We consume them more actively from food, so sometimes we do not even need artificial filling of gaps. It is the peculiarities of human nutrition that often limit the intake of vitamins into the body. In addition, any problems with digestion stand in the way of absorption of useful trace elements into the blood, which also creates another artificial barrier. So, any shortage of substances poses a more serious question for us: how much should a particular person need for his body to function properly? Just looking at the face, you will not tell. Only laboratory examinations help here.
The role of the sun and technology
Most often, vitamin D is deficient. This is explained by the peculiarities of its consumption. Nature has invented a complex mechanism: in order to develop this trace element, a person must not only be under the sun with unprotected skin, but also actively move in this state for several hours. When the vitamin is formed in the skin under the action of ultraviolet light, it needs to go into the bloodstream – this is ensured only by physical exertion. If we just lie on the beach, vitamin D is also produced, but then it instantly collapses, without bringing any benefit.
Everyone knows that to stay under the sun for a long time with unprotected skin is at least unsafe for health and, of course, not so easy – it is tiring. It is interesting that as a species we cannot exist in Russia at all. Here we are allowed to live the civilization and technologies that we have invented. According to the original idea, people had to populate only the southern regions – there we could generate the necessary amount of vitamin D. From the point of view of evolution, five thousand years is not enough to change this process. Therefore, we have to adapt to it.
What is vitamin D for?
Vitamin D has more than 2 thousand different types of receptors located in the tissues of the body. It acts as a neurosteroid and enhances the cognitive abilities of a person – improves the functioning of the nervous system. It also boosts immunity: data show that the incidence in children is reduced by 5–6 times with regular consumption of sufficient amounts of vitamin D. This does not mean that a person forgets about what flu is and how to treat it. But the duration of the disease is definitely reduced: for example, instead of 15 days, you will have to spend only three days at home. In addition, the vitamin is directly related to muscle strength and sex hormones, as well as it affects the condition of the skin and calcium metabolism, strengthening bone tissue.
Can I prescribe vitamins to myself
Incorrect dosages can lead to an excess of substances in the body, although in the case of vitamin D it is less likely than with vitamins E or A. First of all, it’s about the fact that a person takes on extra expenses, without which it would be possible do without knowing the exact amount of the microelement needed by a particular patient. In addition, an overdose of vitamin D is dangerous for children – it leads to excessive calcium deposits. But even if there is no acute danger, then a chronic overdose can occur, which, according to medical data, can lead to the formation of kidney stones and other diseases. But to exceed the daily intake of vitamins through food is almost impossible. Most likely, the indicators will continue to maintain low values, even if very carefully monitor nutrition.
In order to avoid negative consequences it is best to immediately contact the medical laboratory. It is necessary to conduct tests for both adults and children, and in the dynamics – 1–2 times a year, it is necessary to update the results to see if the amount of a substance changes in the blood. You can take an analysis of vitamins in the complex, and you can understand in stages, exploring one by one. Compared with conventional blood biochemistry, such tests are significantly higher: 1-3 thousand rubles. for the definition of a single substance. This price is due to complex high-tech research methods. But the longer and more expensive the test, the more likely the more accurate result it is able to show.
Is it true that in the fall we need more vitamins than in the summer
In the modern world, the amount of vitamins in the blood is completely independent of the season. If we lived in a closed space and ate only our own products grown in the garden, this theory could have a right to exist. But since in summer and in winter we use the same products, except for the period of seasonal fruit, which lasts only a couple of months, there is no difference. Meat, fish, cereals, vegetables do not differ from each other, whatever the weather outside the window. The time of day also has virtually no effect on vitamin intake. With the exception of some substances that, in fact, are not vitamins, but still stimulate many processes. For example, magnesium for the effect of relaxation is best taken in the evening, and ginseng – in the morning for vigor. And for basic microelements there is no specific schedule.
Do pharmacy multivitamins work?
There will be no bad effects on the course of pharmacy multivitamins. But no matter how many take them – with a probability of 99%, they will not affect the general condition of the body and individual indicators in the blood. The fact is that the average capsule consists of components, most of which are not needed by a specific patient. Therefore, if the body gets extra calcium in a small dosage, it has no effect on the person. The remaining 10–20% of the components of the capsule, which the patient is in short supply, these small dosages also do not compensate.
For example, the average complex contains 400 mg of vitamin D, but the daily rate of an adult person ranges from 2 thousand to 10 thousand mg, so everything below is a waste of time. Dosages are directly dependent on height, weight, physical activity, and if the correct proportions are observed, the vitamin in the blood should be between 50–100.
Vitamins foreign and domestic
Unfortunately, foreign vitamins are much more effective than Russian, because our legislation strongly regulates the dosage of the substance. And American and European vitamins are not limited to low rates. But due to the fact that the foreign market is oversaturated with competitors, you should pay close attention to the quality of the product and not fall for marketing gimmicks. These include, for example, the form of the drug: a capsule, tablet or liquid substance. There is no difference between them, but with liquid vitamins it is worth being careful: most often they are not combined with each other as well as the granules in capsules.
Are there any beauty vitamins?
Hair and skin are built from protein. In order for them to be healthy, it is necessary, first of all, to build their food so that the amount of building material is acceptable. Calculate this is easy: for 1 kg of weight per day you need to use 1.5 grams of pure protein. In addition, we must not forget about vitamins D and C, because they provide the construction of collagen, as well as monitor the level of iron in the blood. Use collagen alone is not necessary. In fact, it is an ordinary protein that is useless while observing nutrition.
Together, these components cover most of the problems that arise in modern girls living in megalopolises. However, such a vitamin complex may not be enough if a person has internal problems with the vital organs. So, yellowing skin often signals that you need to pay attention to the liver. Questions of this kind are solved only on an individual examination by a doctor.