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Whats in my Vitamins?

Whats in my Vitamins?

updated

Okay, so I am trying to get myself together—for real this time. I am starting to notice that those wrinkles, bags, and bumps I thought would never, ever dare to touch me are now showing up in the most unflattering places. It is clearly time for war! Ideally, this would mean giving up my steady soda habit, my even steadier smoking habit, and possibly even gracing the gym with my presence. But…baby steps, right? So, for now, I am content to think that I am doing something good for myself by taking vitamins every day. It’s a start…

Totally pumped up on my new “healthy lifestyle,” I marched myself right on down to the local drug store to pick up my new arsenal. I plunked down $15 on a generic bottle of women’s multi-vitamins, choosing the bottle I did in part because of the price, and in part because it had the longest list of super important-sounding vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other things I can’t even categorize. So now I swallow two of these horse pills every morning, reminding myself that the inevitable gag I will face when these asteroids go down my gullet will be absolutely worth it.

But what, exactly, is in these behemoths? Are all these wacky roots and powders actually beneficial, or is this just a clever scam to rope well-intentioned slackers like me in? In the hopes of improving my knowledge of what I am putting into my body, I have decided to research every little thing they pack into these pills. The list is long, so this week I’ll start with the old standbys, then move on to the more “new-age” ingredients in the coming weeks.

Vitamin A

What It Does:

  • Helps build and maintain healthy teeth, bones, and soft tissues
  • Improves vision
  • Inhibits tumor growth

Where It’s Found:

  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Fish oils
  • Whole milk dairy products, such as milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese
  • Carotene is converted to Vitamin A in our bodies, so any veggie that has carotene (carrots, spinach, broccoli, and kale are good ones) will provide Vitamin A.

Vitamin C

What It Does:

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Helps decrease “bad” cholesterol levels
  • Protects against heart disease

Where It’s Found:

  • Citrus
  • Green peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D

What It Does:

  • Helps control calcium levels in the blood
  • Helps build strong teeth and bones
  • Strengthens immune system
  • May prevent certain types of cancer

Where It’s Found:

  • Green peppers
  • Citrus fruits
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Vitamin E

What It Does:

  • Strengthens intracellular membranes—this prevents tissue damage that is caused by oxidation
  • Helps protect against heart disease and some types of cancer
  • May help prevent cataracts
  • Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Where It’s Found:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Wheat germ
  • Nuts
  • Leafy green vegetables

Vitamin K

What It Does:

  • Regulates blood clotting
  • Improves bone health
  • Helps prevent calcification of arteries and other soft tissues

Where It’s Found:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cow milk
  • Spinach
  • Soybeans

Vitamin B-6

What It Does:

  • Helps metabolize amino acids
  • Promotes immune system health
  • Helps break down and use fats, proteins, and carbohydrates

Where It’s Found:

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Carrots
  • Chicken, fish, and meats
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Whole grains

Vitamin B-12

What It Does:

  • Maintains nerve cell health
  • Helps produce blood platelets and red and white blood cells
  • Aids in production of DNA and RNA

Where It’s Found:

  • Liver
  • Tuna
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs

Those are all of the “letter name” vitamins that are included in most multi vitamins. Tune in next week for the sequel: I’ll start things off with Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin…oh my!

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