Despite my life consisting of vegetables which are full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, due to my lack of meat consumption and my minimal fruit eating habits, I am aware that perhaps I don’t consume ALL of the vitamins my body requires to function healthily. Not that I’m unhealthy, I feel rather good about my eating habits (most of the time) but I know I could always do better with increasing the vitamins and minerals I put into my body.
Holland and Barrett sent me 4 different vegetarian-friendly vitamins to try over a month and asked to see how I felt after taking them. I was also kindly sent a 2016 diary to note down any changes I was feeling whilst taking them. So, I kept a daily diary of what I was taking and how I felt that day. Below are my findings…
WHAT I WAS TAKING
- Week 1 – Radiance Multivitamins & Minerals (11th – 18th January)
- Week 2 – Radiance Multivitamins with Iron (19th January – 25th January)
- Week 3 – Vegan Multivitamin & Mineral (26th January – 1st February)
- Week 4 – ABC Plus Multivitamins & Minerals (2nd February – 8th February)
The first few days of taking the Radiance Multivitamins & Minerals, I didn’t really feel much difference in myself but I think that’s because these things take time. However, as soon as I moved onto the second week and started taking the Radiance Multivitamins with Iron I noted a few changes.
Firstly, noticed that I had more energy. That is because these tablets contain 100% the recommended allowance for iron which helps prevent fatigue. As I don’t eat meat, I don’t intake as much as I used to when I was and therefore my iron content is relied on spinach, kale and broccoli… And there’s only so much of that I want to eat a day. In addition to that, taking these vitamins means I am absorbing iron quicker due to the vitamin B12 .
By the third week when I started taking Vegan Vitamins, I saw a huge change in my skin. It was a lot clearer and less oily. I believe that this is due to the increased intake of Vitamin A, something which is found in sweet potatoes (which I sadly no longer enjoy), fish, liver and more. Not only had my skin improved by my mood had shifted from being anxious and feeling depressed (that’s what happens when you stop travelling and you’re waiting for a house move to happen) to being much cheerier and a lot less anxious. These vitamins also contained a higher percentage of Iron so my energy really had a boost.
The last week, sadly, saw my skin slip back into despair. I’m not exactly sure why. I was taking ABC Plus Multivitamins and Minerals which did contain less Vitamin A (87%), so it may have had something to do with that but it also could be just female hormones doing what they do best. The ABC vitamins were the largest of the capsules but also contained the most. Although, some of the favourites that I had before such as B12 were a lower in percentage.
Overall, I’d say my favourite of the four were the Vegan Multivitamins & Minerals. It contained all the iron, B12 and vitamin A I need (as well as many others!). Although ABC has a lot more vitamins and minerals some of them are lower than the Vegan capsules. Also, the capsules are HUGE making it a little harder to swallow.
I highly recommend topping up any lost vitamins with any of these supplements but I definitely will continue to take the Vegan Multivitamins & Minerals.
BENEFITS OF VITAMINS
VITAMIN A (Retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid)
Essential for vision Lycopene may lower prostate cancer risk. Keeps tissues and skin healthy. Plays an important role in bone growth. Diets rich in the carotenoids alpha-carotene and lycopene seem to lower lung cancer risk. Carotenoids act as antioxidants. Foods rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against cataracts
THIAMIN (vitamin B1)
Helps convert food into energy. Needed for healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain
Helps convert food into energy. Needed for healthy skin, hair, blood, and brain
NIACIN (vitamin B3, nicotinic acid)
Helps convert food into energy. Essential for healthy skin, blood cells, brain, and nervous system
PANTOTHENICACID (vitamin B5)
Helps convert food into energy. Helps make lipids (fats), neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and haemoglobin
VITAMIN B6 (pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine)
Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may reduce the risk of heart diseaseHelps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods. Helps make red blood cells Influences cognitive abilities and immune function
VITAMIN B12 (cobalamin)
Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. Assists in making new cells and breaking down some fatty acids and amino acids. Protects nerve cells and encourages their normal growth Helps make red blood cells
Helps convert food into energy and synthesise glucose. Helps make and break down some fatty acids. Needed for healthy bones and hair
VITAMIN C (ascorbic acid)
Foods rich in vitamin C may lower the risk for some cancers, including those of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, and breast. Long-term use of supplemental vitamin C may protect against cataracts. Helps make collagen, a connective tissue that knits together wounds and supports blood vessel walls. Helps make the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine Acts as an antioxidant, neutralising unstable molecules that can damage cells. Bolsters the immune system
Helps make and release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which aids in many nerve and brain activities. Plays a role in metabolising and transporting fats
VITAMIN D (calciferol)
Helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen bones. Helps form teeth and bones. Supplements can reduce the number of non-spinal fractures
VITAMIN E (alpha-tocopherol)
Acts as an antioxidant, neutralising unstable molecules that can damage cells. Protects vitamin A and certain lipids from damage. Diets rich in vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Supplements may protect against prostate cancer
FOLIC ACID (folate, folacin)
Vital for new cell creationHelps prevent brain and spine birth defects when taken early in pregnancy; should be taken regularly by all women of child-bearing age since women may not know they are pregnant in the first weeks of pregnancy. Can lower levels of homocysteine and may reduce heart disease risk May reduce risk for colon cancer. Offsets breast cancer risk among women who consume alcohol
VITAMIN K (phylloquinone, menadione)
Activates proteins and calcium essential to blood clottingMay help prevent hip fractures
Mineral (common names)
Builds and protects bones and teeth. Helps with muscle contractions and relaxation, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission. Plays a role in hormone secretion and enzyme activation. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure
Balances fluids in the body. A component of stomach acid, essential to digestion
Enhances the activity of insulin, helps maintain normal blood glucose levels, and is needed to free energy from glucose
Plays an important role in iron metabolism. Helps make red blood cells
Encourages strong bone formation. Keeps dental cavities from starting or worsening
Part of thyroid hormone, which helps set body temperature and influences nerve and muscle function, reproduction, and growth. Prevents goitre and a congenital thyroid disorder
Helps haemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells ferry oxygen throughout the body. Needed for chemical reactions in the body and for making amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones
Needed for many chemical reactions in the body Works with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and regulation of blood pressure. Helps build bones and teeth
Helps form bones. Helps metabolise amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates
Part of several enzymes, one of which helps ward off a form of severe neurological damage in infants that can lead to early death
Helps build and protect bones and teethPart of DNAand RNA.Helps convert food into energy. Part of phospholipids, which carry lipids in blood and help shuttle nutrients into and out of cells
Balances fluids in the body. Helps maintain steady heartbeat and send nerve impulses. Needed for muscle contractions. A diet rich in potassium seems to lower blood pressure. Getting enough potassium from your diet may benefit bones
Acts as an antioxidant, neutralising unstable molecules that can damage cells. Helps regulate thyroid hormone activity
Balances fluids in the body. Helps send nerve impulses. Needed for muscle contractionsImpacts blood pressure; even modest reductions in salt consumption can lower blood pressure
Helps form bridges that shape and stabilise some protein structures. Needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails
Helps form many enzymes and proteins and create new cellsFrees vitamin A from storage in the liver. Needed for immune system, taste, smell, and wound healing. When taken with certain antioxidants, zinc may delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration