Vitamins are organic substances contained in various natural foodstuffs in minute amounts. Because these substances play a critical part in normal metabolism, not having enough of them can cause illnesses or medical conditions.
As organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, an essential nutrient that the body does not produce enough of, thus the need to obtain them from food. Unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, however, vitamins don’t supply energy, but they help the body work and grow at best capacity.
There are thirteen essential vitamins offering an entire variety of health benefits like better eyesight, stronger bones and immunity, better energy absorption from food, and more. Inadequate vitamin intake can make you more likely to develop illness, from mild to life-threatening.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins are either fat soluble or water-soluble, depending on body storage. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, and this means that they are stored in fats, where they stay for up to about six months.
On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins, namely vitamin C and the vitamin B series (B6, B12, pantothenic acid, folate, biotin, thiamine and niacin) are all distributed all over the body through blood circulation. Considering that your body does not retain water-soluble vitamins, you have to make sure that your stores are constantly replenished.
Each of the thirteen vitamins comes with is own particular functions, but they can also work as a team to improve your health. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and immune function, as well as better skin, teeth and bones.
Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, boosts immunity and promotes good tissue development. Vitamin, D coupled with calcium (another mineral), is vital to bone health and immunity as well. Vitamin E aids in your body’s use of vitamin K, which affects bone health and blood-clotting mechanisms, and contributes to optimal production of red blood cells.
The B vitamins, for their part, play a role in optimal metabolism, brain function, hormone production, cardiac activity, central nervous system functions, and cellular maintenance.
Results of Vitamin Deficiencies
Insufficient vitamin intake puts your health at risk, specifically in relation to heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Insufficient vitamin B intake sets the stage for anemia and irreversible nerve damage.
Too little vitamin C diminishes your ability to produce collagen, your body’s primary tissue. In extreme vitamin C deficiency cases, people can be afflicted with scurvy, which is characterized by overall weakness, gingivitis, anemia and skin hemorrhage.
Finally, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, which can be seen as autoimmune diseases and poor bone health in adults, and as poor bone health and growth in kids.
There is so much information you can read these days about the importance of vitamins. With the above, you can begin on the right track.