Vitamins are essential nutrients that our body needs for normal physiological operation.
We need vitamins in our diet because our bodies can’t produce them in sufficient amounts to meet our Referenced Daily Intake (RDI). So, these are called essential nutrients. Source of these nutrients can be from animal and plant foods and some dietary supplements.
There are 13 vitamins that our body essentially needs, A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins B1, (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyroxidine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folate) and B12 (Cobalamin). Vitamins can be of two forms. Fat-soluble which dissolve in fats and oils and water-soluble which can dissolve in water. Vitamins A, D, E and K are Fat soluble while other nine are water soluble. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble nutrient that is stored in the liver. Excess fat-soluble nutrients are stored in body’s fatty tissues while excess water-soluble vitamins can be removed from your body through urine and so must be replenished regularly.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A plays an important role in Vision, immune system, bone growth, cell functions etc. Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant. Young children might need an extra Vitamin in their body and also in certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease and some liver diseases. Vitamin A is highest in liver and fish oils and also found in carrots, kale, eggs, butter, etc. The deficiency of Vitamin A can cause night blindness, dry eyes, skin issues like dry scalp, skin flakes, etc.
Vitamin B1: Vitamin B1, referred to as Thiamine, is used to maintain heart and nerve function. It helps in digestion of the food and extracting the energy from the food. Vitamin B1 is water-soluble and is used in every cell of the body. The main sources of Thiamine are rice, Nuts, fish, lean pork, etc. The deficiency of Vitamin B1 can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, enlarged heart, nerve damage, etc.
Vitamin B2: Vitamin B2, referred as Riboflavin is helpful in maintaining energy supply throughout the body. Riboflavin is water soluble, so it should be replenished every day and it acts as an antioxidant. It aids us in our day to day functionality and breaking down fats and carbohydrates. Various sources of Riboflavin include Mushrooms, beef, lamb, eggs, cheese, and nuts. The deficiency of Riboflavin causes anemia, red eyes, sore tongue, mouth inflammation, etc.
Vitamin B3: Commonly called as, Niacin, as like other B Vitamins, helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats into energy. It also plays a huge role in gland and liver function by providing certain hormones in adrenal glands and removing harmful chemicals from the liver. Niacin helps in tackling migraine headaches. The various sources of Niacin are Turkey, Mushrooms, liver, tuna, avocado, etc. The deficiency of Vitamin B3 causes vomiting, fatigue, depression, etc.
Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5, also called Pantothenic acid, again a water-soluble nutrient, helps us treating the conditions of fatigue, vomiting, burning feet, hair loss, asthma, etc. It also helps us in treating mental disorders like stress and depression. Vitamin B5 is helpful for the formation of fats, antibiotics whilst helping in the growth of adrenal glands. The best source of Pantothenic acid is beef liver, mushrooms, legumes, salmon, raw milk, eggs, etc.
Vitamin B6: Commonly referred to as Pyridoxine, helps in maintaining healthy nervous and immune system and also helps in normal brain development. Normal healthy food is enough for the synthesis of Pyridoxine for a normal healthy person but for people with kidney ailments, may require Pyridoxine supplement. The various sources of Vitamin B6 include turkey breast, tuna, pistachio seeds, avocado, etc. The deficiency of Pyridoxine can cause morning sickness, swollen tongue, weakened immune function, Crohn’s disease, etc.
Vitamin B7: Commonly known as Biotin, helps you to keep calm, aid in adrenal function and maintain the healthy nervous system. It can help treat Crohn’s disease, hair loss, alopecia. The source of vitamin B7 includes organ meat, peanuts, salmon, cheddar cheese, The deficiency of Biotin can cause hair loss, dry eyes, sore tongue, depression, insomnia, hallucinations, etc.
Vitamin B9: Vitamin B9, also called Folate, helps prevent premature aging, aids in Red Blood Cell formation and circulation. The vital function of vitamin B9 is to help in fetal growth. Folate is found in several plants and animal foods. The main source of vitamin B9 is Beans, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, beets, broccoli, citrus fruits. The deficiency of B9 includes weakness, hemolytic anemia, weight loss. In a pregnant woman, vitamin B9 deficiency can cause serious or fatal birth defects.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12, called Cobalamin, is the most crucial vitamin of the B12 family. It helps in DNA synthesis, neurological function, and Red Blood Cell Formation. As per RDI, the average adult should consume 2.4 micrograms a day. Vitamin B12 can’t be synthesized within the body by itself, so we should take proper supplements. The source of Cobalamin includes beef, poultry, dairy products, ham, lamb, etc. The deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause numbness, difficulty walking, weakness, fatigue, difficulty thinking.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is also called L-ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is present in many plant foods. It acts as a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C produces Collagen, which is an essential component of corrective tissue, which plays an important role in the healing of the wound. vitamin C helps in absorption of Iron, reduce LDL, Low-density lipoprotein, aka bad cholesterol and triglycerides. The source of vitamin C includes red pepper (sweet), citrus fruits, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, spinach. The deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, joint pain, poor wound healing, bleeding gums, etc.
Vitamin D: Some people call vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin where making ourselves exposed to sunlight can get maximum out of it. Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption to the bones. Its prominent for developing strong bones. It aids in cell replication and an autoimmune condition. Sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, egg yolk, mushrooms, etc. The deficiency of vitamin D causes a weakened immune system, cancer, autoimmune disease.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol. It plays an important role in the maintenance of cardiac and skeletal muscle. Vitamin E can help prevent heart diseases and hypertension. The various sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, nuts, fruits, and grains. The deficiency of vitamin E is rarely observed but little effect on skin disease but there is no conclusive evidence though.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K stops excessive bleeding by aiding in the blood clot. It also helps in maintaining calcium levels. Vitamin K has not used a dietary supplement. Prothrombin is produced by vitamin K which helps in blood clotting. Sources of vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, spring onions, cucumber, etc. The deficiency of vitamin K is rare but it prolongs the blood clotting time.
People taking supplements should care about not taking more than the prescribed dose.
“All About Vitamins & Minerals\” By Ryan Andrews retrieved from https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-vitamins-minerals