Vitamins are organic substances present in small amounts in natural foodstuffs. Because these substances play a critical part in normal metabolism, not having enough of them can cause illnesses or medical conditions.
Carbon is a main component of vitamins, being organic compounds; and because the body produces insufficient amounts of them, it is necessary to obtain them from food. However, unlike proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins do not give you energy, although they do help the body grow and function optimally.
There are thirteen essential vitamins that provide a whole range of health benefits, including better eyesight, a stronger immune system, stronger bones, faster wound healing process, and several others. 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. 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, which include vitamin C plus the B vitamins – B6, B12, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, folate and biotin – are circulated around the body through the blood. Considering that your body does not retain water-soluble vitamins, you have to make sure that your stores are constantly replenished.
All the thirteen vitamins have their own individual functions, but they can work as a group as well in improving your health. Apart from stronger bones, teeth and immunity, vitamin A also gives you better eyesight and glowing skin.
Vitamin C contributes to optimal tissue development, promotes iron absorption, and improves immunity. Vitamin, D coupled with calcium (another mineral), is vital to bone health and immunity as well. 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.
Effects 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.
When you take too little vitamin C, your system will not produce enough of the body’s primary tissue known as collagen. In prolonged cases of vitamin C deficiency, a person can develop scurvy, whose symptoms include gingivitis, skin hemorrhage, anemia and general weakness.
Lastly, vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, or the softening and weakening of bones in children, and the existence of autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and poor bone health in adults.
There is so much information you can read these days about the importance of vitamins. This article can help you start off on the right foot.