The Great Vitamin Guide
Vitamins are vital to all people, but your needs may vary depending on your lifestyle. In this comprehensive vitamin guide, we review which vitamins are important for what, and in what foods you can find them.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that play an essential role in the body's various functions. Although not energising nutrients, they still have a major impact on the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. They are vital to us, but only needed in very small amounts. Most vitamins must be continuously added through our diet. We usually distinguish between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, where the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K need access to fat in order to be absorbed by the body. They can therefore be stored in the body, while any excess of water-soluble vitamins are expelled with the urine.
Vitamins for health and performance
Vitamins do not provide energy directly to the body, but without a sufficient intake of them, the body will not be able to benefit from the effects produced by proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Most B vitamins are in some way involved in the body's metabolism. Which function depends on the vitamin. A low intake of B vitamins can therefore affect our performance, as well as our performance and energy levels during workouts.
Vitamin C and D are key components of our immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the cells from free radicals, and vitamin D can make you more resistant to infections. In addition, they’re both needed for skeletal formation. A strong skeleton is essential for those with an active lifestyle, as it tolerates high levels of exercise without sustaining injuries. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are important for the production of red blood cells, which provide the muscles with oxygen, and are thus needed for performance. Other vitamins can affect our performance as well and without them, we may not be able to endure physical activity to the same extent. An active lifestyle may increase our vitamin needs, as we excrete more fluid and thus also vitamins, and since our metabolism of vitamins increases.
|Important for vision. Promotes skeletal development and immune system
|Liver, milk, carrots
|Increases calcium absorption. Promotes skeletal development
|Sunrays, oily fish
|Defence against oxidative stress
|Nuts, avocado, cooking oil
|Important for blood coagulation ability
|Liver, eggs, green leafy vegetables
|Important in carbohydrate metabolism
|Boosts the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates
|Important for burning carbohydrates during activity
|B5 (pantothenic acid)
|Component of metabolism, Promotes the production of nutrients
|Meats, whole grain products
|Involved in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of blood cells
|Boosts the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
|Egg yolk, green vegetables
|B9 (folic acid)
|Involved in DNA formation and the production of blood cells
|Egg yolk, spinach
|C (ascorbic acid)
|Antioxidant, promotes collagen formation and iron absorption
|Citrus fruits, rosehip
Multivitamins with minerals
We need vitamins and minerals every day in order for our bodies to function normally, even if the amounts needed are very small. Our needs vary depending on our body size, age, and gender, as well as on how active we are.
The purpose of multivitamins is to ensure an intake of all the vital vitamins and minerals in a convenient way, so it's important to make sure that your supplement actually does that. The key substances to be included in a multivitamin supplement are vitamins A, C, D, E, the B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12, as well as the minerals zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, chromium, and iodine.