Vitamins are organic substances present in small amounts in natural foodstuffs. Because of the crucial role these substances play in normal metabolism, a lack of them can cause a whole range of 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. But in contrast to proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins supply no energy, although they are do help the body work and grow at optimal levels.
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 may be fat-soluble or water-soluble, depending on how the body uses them. 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.
Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, include vitamin C and the B vitamins (B6, B12, riboflavin, biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamine), which are distributed by the blood all over the body. Because your body doesn’t keep these water-soluble vitamins, you need to replenish your stores on a regular basis.
All the thirteen vitamins have their own individual functions, but they can work as a group as well in improving your health. Vitamin A gives you better skin, bones and teeth, aside form good eyesight and immunity.
Vitamin C also strengthens immunity, encourages good tissue development and helps the body in absorbing iron. Vitamin, D coupled with calcium (another mineral), is vital to bone health and immunity as well. Vitamin E helps your body utilize vitamin K, and this improves bone health, blood-clotting mechanisms, and helps in the body’s production of essential 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.
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.
Without enough vitamin C in your diet, you will have limited stores of collagen, which makes up 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.
If you’re really interested about the importance of vitamins, there is a lot of information available today. This article can help you start off on the right foot.