Vitamins are a group of organic substances that can be found in a wide variety of natural food. Because these substances play a critical part in normal metabolism, not having enough of them can cause illnesses or medical conditions.
Being organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, which is an essential nutrient that the body produces in inadequate amounts, hence the need to source it 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. If you don’t take in enough vitamins, you increase your risk of developing diseases or medical conditions.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins may be fat-soluble or water-soluble, depending on how the body uses them. There are four fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K – all stored in fat tissue for up to as long as half a year.
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. As water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, it is important to replenish your stores regularly.
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 paired with the mineral, calcium, also plays a big role in immunity and bone health. Vitamin E helps your body make use of vitamin K, and this is involved in blood-clotting and bone health maintenance, and also plays a part in essential red blood cell formation.
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.
Consequences of Vitamin Deficiencies
Inadequate intake of vitamins leads to health risks associated with osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. A deficiency in vitamin B in particular can lead to irreversible nerve damage and anemia.
Too little vitamin C diminishes your ability to produce collagen, your body’s primary tissue. When vitamin C deficiency is severe, a person can have scurvy, with symptoms including gum disease, anemia, muscle and joint fatigue 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.