The right balance and adequate levels of essential nutrients is vital for various complex processes in our body. The needs for vitamins vary depending on the organism.
Vitamin D is not present in sufficient amounts in diet for humans. The best source of vitamin D is sunshine exposure, which the body uses to manufacture the vitamin.
We need a different amount of each vitamin to keep healthy since each vitamin has a different function in the body.
In this blog, you will learn what vitamins are, their functions, and which foods are good sources.
What are vitamins?
Our bodies require 13 important vitamins to function. Vitamins are organic substances that are mostly found in the foods we eat. A small amount of these are required for the body to function well.
All of these essential vitamins are crucial for bodily functions like digestion, nerve function, vision, bone health, and immune system. There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and the body does not store them; the kidneys flush out any excess vitamins. We require a consistent daily intake of these vitamins in our food because they don’t stay in the body. The eight B vitamins (the B vitamin complex) and vitamin C make up the water-soluble vitamins.
All the B vitamins and vitamin C are water-soluble.
Thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate (folic acid), vitamin B12, biotin, and pantothenic acid are the eight B vitamins that make up the “B complex.” A wide range of meals from both plant and animal sources include b vitamins.
The role of vitamin C as an antioxidant that is to strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C also has a significant impact on the development of teeth and bones, the strength of blood vessel walls, and the manufacture of collagen, which holds cells together.
Iron is more easily absorbed and used when vitamin C is present. Citrus fruits are the most popular source of vitamin C, but other foods that contain it include strawberries, potatoes, broccoli, green and red bell peppers, Brussel sprouts, and kiwifruit.
Fat-soluble vitamins are kept in the body’s liver and fatty tissue, unlike their water-soluble counterparts. There are potential health hazards linked with having too many fat-soluble vitamins in the body because excess levels are stored in the liver.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble.
Primarily obtained from animal sources of food, vitamin A can also be produced by the body from beta-carotene present in plant sources of food, such as carrots, spinach, and beets, if necessary. This vitamin has a variety of functions, including immune system control, cell division, reproduction, bone and tooth development, and eye health.
Vitamin A is also an antioxidant. However, ingesting excessive amounts of vitamin A over time may be hazardous. When there are sufficient levels of vitamin A in the body, beta-carotene won’t be converted into the vitamin by the body. Foods containing beta-carotene do not result in vitamin A toxicity because of this natural mechanism.
Because of its significant impact on human health, vitamin D, also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” has gained popularity recently. Functionally, vitamin D controls how much calcium stays in our blood and helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, bringing both to our bones and teeth.
Additionally, vitamin D aids in the communication between the brain and body via the neurological system and affects how muscles work. Additionally, this vitamin has been associated to lessening depressive symptoms.
Diet, sunlight, and supplements are the three main sources of vitamin D. The food sources of vitamin D are limited, however they include cod and oily fish (herring, sardines, and salmon), milk and other fortified dairy products, and mushrooms. In response to direct sunshine, the body has the unusual capacity to manufacture vitamin D through the skin. One approach to enhance our daily intake of vitamin D is to go outside.
The main role of vitamin E is to act as an antioxidant, preventing the oxidation of vital fatty acids, red blood cells, and vitamins A and C. Vegetable oil, fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts (almonds and hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower), and fortified cereals are all sources of vitamin E.
Vitamin K plays a key role in preventing excessive bleeding by helping the formation of blood clots. Leafy greens are the main dietary sources of the vitamin. Another vitamin whose production by the body is unique is vitamin K. It is created by bacteria in the digestive tract during digestion. There is little need to supplement vitamin K because the body makes plenty of it.
Who should take supplements?
The human body only requires small amounts of vitamins, whether they are fat- or water-soluble. There is really little need for supplements when you consume a healthy, balanced diet. However, some medical problems, diseases that cause malabsorption, poor dietary habits, pregnancy, and a lack of sunlight may necessitate vitamin and mineral supplements.
Additionally, these groups of people could benefit from dietary supplements:
- Vegetarians may want to think about consuming more B12
- After the first few months, mothers who are nursing should think about taking supplementary vitamin D supplements.
- Taking folate and other prenatal vitamins can be beneficial for women who are thinking about getting pregnant.
- Multivitamins could be helpful for elderly persons who don’t eat enough or don’t follow a balanced diet.
- Anyone who avoids the sun should think about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Because our bodies are complicated, eating whole, real foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories is the greatest approach to receive the vital vitamins you need. You probably don’t need to take additional vitamins if you’re healthy and eat a balanced diet.
It is always advisable to discuss vitamin supplements in your daily diet with a qualified nutritionist or your primary care physician. Your drugs may become inactive or hyperactive as a result of interactions with supplements. Vitamins can be a costly investment that may not even be very effective. Talk to a primary care doctor and get the right care today.
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