A vitamin deficiency doesn't go away immediately after taking the supplements.
This era of information technology has made everyone more health conscious. The global pandemic of COVID-19 and the increasing medical expenses have added fuel to the fire. People are more concerned now a day about diseases and illnesses. They strive to keep themselves stronger as it is well said that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, keeping the body strong enough to fight hundreds of pathogens like COVID is vital to surviving. Moreover, everyone is getting older and weaker with the passing years.
Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping a good sleep schedule, staying away from smoking and other bad habits, and keeping your mind stress-free are the most important factors that maintain good health and keep your immune system strong. Vitamins help in all these domains directly or indirectly.
What are the vitamins?
Vitamins are one of the essential nutrients required for the body's normal functioning. Other essential nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, dietary fibre, minerals, and water.
To learn more about vitamins and nutrition, see our information page here.
What do different water and fat-soluble vitamins do?
The body needs all the vitamins to synthesise many materials and for the functioning of many enzymes.
- Vitamin A is essential to synthesise a substance called rhodopsin which is required for the normal function of rod cells of the eye to see in dim light. Also, it keeps the skin healthy.
- Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphorus in bones and teeth and maintains muscle health. Vitamin D deficiency can weaken your bones, teeth and muscles.
- Vitamin E is vital for the function of the immune system and keeps our eyes and skin healthy.
- Vitamin K is vital for normal blood clotting and wound healing function.
- Vitamin C helps in the normal production of connective tissue and helps to cope with stress. It is also necessary for normal wound and fractures healing.
- Vitamin B1 helps maintain brain health and breaks down food to produce energy.
- Vitamin B2 and B3 help in the normal functioning of the eyes, nervous system, and skin
- Vitamin B6 and B12 help the body produce an iron-containing protein called haemoglobin, which is necessary to produce red blood cells.
- Vitamin B7 helps to produce fatty acids in the body.
- Vitamins are also required to improve athletic performance.
Overall, balanced quantities of vitamins in the body are vital for improving the quality of life.
Although a balanced diet can provide all the necessary vitamins for better health, a person may become deficient in one or more vitamins. This can be due to dietary choices, poor nutritional balance, a problem with vitamin absorption, bad food choices, and ignoring a specific food ingredient for a long time. This is why many people take vitamin supplements to overcome vitamin deficiencies and improve athletic performance. But spending a lot of money buying these vitamin supplements gives rise to two very critical and natural questions.
"Do these vitamin supplements work?" and if they work, "How long do they take to work?"
The answer to the question "Do vitamin supplements work?" depends upon the deficiency in the body. Taking supplements makes a big difference if the body is deficient in one or more vitamins. But if the body is not lacking vitamins, the body will either store or excrete these vitamins. In that case, taking excess vitamin supplements will be of little use.
How long do vitamins take to work?
Anything we eat is of no use until it is absorbed in the blood. All the nutrients first go to the blood and are transported by the blood to the target cells to perform their function. Vitamins start working immediately after they are absorbed, but we cannot feel that cellular effect. Observable results take a while to appear following consistent use. It may take from 1 week to 6 months to observe tangible vitamin intake results depending upon the following factors.
Absorption of Vitamin
The absorption of vitamins starts immediately after intake. Water-soluble vitamins like B vitamins are absorbed more rapidly than fat-soluble vitamins, which require fats to absorb from the intestine. Also, the absorption of each vitamin is different. Your digestive health significantly impacts vitamin absorption.
Deficiency level of vitamin
If there is a severe deficiency of a particular vitamin in the body and deficiency is obvious. Taking a vitamin supplement will produce magical results within a week or two. If the body is not deficient, then the results of taking supplements will not be so obvious despite the fact that they work in preventing the deficiency.
To take a Vitamin Deficiency Test, click here.
Bioavailability of vitamins
Bioavailability is the extent to which a nutrient is absorbed in blood circulation. The bioavailability of each vitamin is different. The bioavailability of key vitamins is given below.
- Vitamin A: 75-100%
- Vitamin D: 55-99%
- Vitamin C: 70-90%
- Vitamin K: 20%
- Vitamin E: 50-80%
- Vitamin B: 40-50%
Other nutrients and material
Sometimes certain nutrients in the diet can affect the absorption or working of another. One nutrient can interfere with the absorption and bioavailability of the other nutrient. Therefore, the composition of vitamin supplements and other food ingredients is crucial.
The age factor
All the normal physiological processes of the body slow down with age. So intake of the same quantity of vitamins by a young adult and an older person will produce different results keeping all other factors the same.
Gender effect on the working of vitamins
Gender has a significant effect on the availability and function of different vitamins. For example, the function of vitamin D is affected in menopausal women. Also, the daily requirements of vitamins are different for males and females.
The complexity of the human body
Let me tell you one thing, even if everything mentioned above is fine, different human bodies behave differently to the same quantities of vitamins. The human body is not a machine; it works in great complexity.
So, an exact answer to the question "How long do Vitamins take to work?" is never a single-line answer. A lot of factors govern the working of vitamins, and still, the human body can behave differently.
To view our information page about vitamins and supplements, see here.
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