Background

Importance of Vitamins & Minerals in our diet

When researching Vitamins & Minerals the importance of good diet is very apparent and key to your health. Where possibile you should get all the Vitamins & Minerals from your diet. However I do accept that there are times where supplementation is a requirement. See “Do I need vitamin supplements?” from the NHS website.

The implications of difficency

When you are living with conditions like Fibromualgia & CFS (ME) it is very important to ensure we do not develop a difficency of the Vitamins & Minerals essential to life. Difficency can make our symptoms worse and we could develop new symptoms we automatically attribute to Fibromyalgia when really they are caused by a lack of Vitamins & Minerals. Quite simply if your body is not getting enough of these Vitamins & Minerals the risks to your health are serious and in the very worst of cases fatal.

Who this page is for

This page is written primarily for UK Adults with Fibromyalgia & CFS(ME). It page is not written for children and all the quantities displayed are for adults only. Guidelines for Children are different so for nutrition information and for information on Vitamins & Minerals (Including free schemes for a Vitamins & Minerals) visit the “Healthy Start website” from the NHS.

Information sources

When it comes to Health you need to take advice from Health Professionals not a website you stumble on. Our primary source of information on Vitamins & Minerals is the World Health Organisation. When it comes do defining the recommended daily Intake of Vitamins and Minerals (RDI) they base their figures on the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) Food and Nutrition Board of the United Sates Institute of Medicine. Any RDI/RDA information here is based in this information. Otherwise advice and guide levels are based on information published by the National Health Service (NHS), the Food Standards Agency & the Department for Health

Introduction

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods such as animal fats, including butter and lard, vegetable oils, dairy foods, liver and oily fish. While your body needs these vitamins every day to work properly, you do not need to eat foods containing them every day. This is because your body stores these vitamins in your liver and fatty tissues for future use. These stores can build up so they are there when you need them. However, if you have much more than you need, fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful.

Fat-soluble vitamins are:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
  • Water-soluble vitamins

    Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, so you need to have them more frequently.
    If you have more than you need, your body gets rid of the extra vitamins when you urinate. As the body does not store water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins are generally not harmful. However, this does not mean that all large amounts are necessarily harmless. Water-soluble vitamins are found in fruit, vegetables and grains. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they can be destroyed by heat or by being exposed to the air. They can also be lost in water used for cooking. This means that by cooking foods, especially boiling them, we lose many of these vitamins. The best way to keep as many of the water-soluble vitamins as possible is to steam or grill foods, rather than boil them. Water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C, the B vitamins and folic acid.There are also many other types of vitamins that are an important part of a healthy diet.

    What are minerals?

    Minerals are necessary for three main reasons: building strong bones and teeth controlling body fluids inside and outside cells turning the food you eat into energy Minerals are found in foods such as meat, cereals (including cereal products such as bread), fish, milk and dairy foods, vegetables, fruit (especially dried fruit) and nuts. Essential minerals include calcium and iron, although there are also many other types of minerals that are an important part of a healthy diet.

    What are trace elements?

    Trace elements are also essential nutrients that your body needs to work properly, but in much smaller amounts than vitamins and minerals. Trace elements are found in small amounts in a variety of foods such as meat, fish, cereals, milk and dairy foods, vegetables and nuts. Examples of trace elements are iodine and fluoride.

    More about:

    Vitamin A
    B Vitamins & Folic Acid
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin K
    Calcium
    Iodine
    Iron

    Links

    Healthy Eating information from the NHS
    Do I need vitamin supplements? (NHS Website)
    FSA nutrient and food based guidelines for UK institutions
    Vitamins & Minerals on the NHS Website
    Safe Upper Levels for Vitamins and Minerals Document from the Food Standards Agency (PDF)