A Student’s Guide To Popping Pills: The Vitamin Way

“Don’t forget to take your vitamins,” shouts your mother.

mom-shouting-at-daughterIs this a phrase you have heard your parents tell you over and over again? For me, vitamins were never something I prioritized throughout my time while living at home. But, now that I am in college they seem to have take a front seat in my life. I suppose it was really my boyfriend who finally got through to me.

Vitamin C, fish oil, glucosamine, and superfood supplements are just a few of the main vitamins and supplements he incorporates into his everyday morning routine. After realizing that these were of high importance to him, I decided to do some research of my own to learn more. It turns out, those little pills do wonders for your body, inside and out.

While there is nothing wrong with taking a general multi vitamin, it may be best to take a look at your eating patterns. These will help you narrow down which vitamins you need more or less of. Below are a few of the vitamins I believe are important.

Healthguidance.com writes this on the importance of vitamins:

“The body needs a minimum amount of vitamins and minerals each day to remain healthy and function properly. A balanced diet normally supplies sufficient vitamins. However, serious disorders can still develop if the diet does not meet your body’s needs. Symptoms of a deficiency in vitamins and minerals usually appear when the lack is already in a relatively advanced level.”

If you are a vegetarian, or are considering becoming one for your New Year’s resolution, these are some of the important vitamins you will want to include in your diet.

Vitamin D Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B12 are the most important ones writes Livestrong.com:

“People following a vegetarian diet do not consume–or consume less–foods of animal origin, and may choose to do so for many different reasons. Different types of vegetarianism include lacto-ovo vegetarian diets, which allow dairy products and eggs, while lacto-vegetarian diets only allow dairy products. Vegan diets are stricter and only include foods of plant origin. The stricter the vegetarian diet, the more planning is required to avoid vitamin deficiencies, notes MedlinePlus”

Vitamin D is found mostly in dairy products and so taking this vitamin is very important if you will not be consuming this food group. While you may think you can just stand out in the sun to obtain your recommended amounts, this is not so simple.

“Vitamin D can also be synthesized after sun exposure, but this process is not possible with sunscreen use and for Americans living at latitudes above 37 degree north,” writes Livestrong.com

Vitamin B2, also called Riboflavin is found in meat, dairy, eggs, beans, etc. This vitamin is also involved in the production of red blood cells and in releasing the energy from carbs.

Vitamin B12 is found mostly in animal products. It is important to take because this vitamin is required to process and metabolize  carbs, fat and protein. It promotes the formation of red blood cells as well.

Dietitian Marjorie Nolan RD, a nutrition counselor and personal trainer in New York City writes this about B Vitamins,

“Most people don’t realize how important all that is for brain health. The B vitamins aid memory.”

Now, I try to take my vitamins everyday. I am no saint about it but I lay them out in the morning and put them next to my breakfast and glass of water to help remind myself. Now that I know what these pills are actually doing, it is more encouraging to take them. While being on a college budget, we do not always get the healthiest foods put into our bodies. These vitamins can help out where we lack proper food intake like those leafy green vegetables and expensive fish like salmon.

As a student, Livestrong.com writes that Vitamin A is important because it wards off infections and disease. It also promotes healthy eye sight, an added benefit.

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. If you cannot seem to fit this in on the college dining plan, taking Vitamin C would be a good one to take as well. Vitamin C is great for growing your nails and hair, but don’t “overdose” because you can breakout with acne. Yikes!

Glucosamine is a great supplement to take for your joints, especially those of you who are runners. It will actually rebuild cartilage in your bones and help arthritis. Some believe it is no better than the placebo, but make that decision for yourself.

GNC, Vitamin World, and Vitamin Shoppe are all popular places to purchase vitamins like the ones mentioned in this article. You can also buy them at a health food store or online. Always be sure to talk with your doctor, rather than just taking or buying every vitamin in sight.

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Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg is a junior at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism. At school, Kait can be found interviewing people or hitting the gym. As the Colleges Against Cancer president, Kait helps to fight cancer and she educates her peers on the disease. Apart from school she works two jobs, enjoys traveling, and cooking for her roommates.