Vitamins are organic substances contained in various natural foodstuffs in minute amounts. Since these are essential to the normal metabolism of the body, not having enough can lead to 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 offer various health benefits, such as immunity boost, stronger bones, faster wound healing, enhanced eyesight, better use of food-sourced energy and many more. 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.
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. 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 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 aids in your body’s use of vitamin K, which affects bone health and blood-clotting mechanisms, and contributes to optimal production of red blood cells.
Of course, the B vitamins have their own work to do, most of which is related to metabolism, cellular maintenance, heart and brain health and hormone production.
Effects of Vitamin Deficiencies
Insufficient vitamin intake puts your health at risk, specifically in relation to heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Vitamin B deficiency in particular can cause anemia and permanent nerve damage.
Without enough vitamin C in your diet, you will have limited stores of collagen, which makes up 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.
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.
If you’re really interested about the importance of vitamins, there is a lot of information available today. With the above, you can begin on the right track.