The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet
Vitamins are a group of organic substances that can be found in a wide variety of natural food. Since these are essential to the normal metabolism of the body, not having enough can lead to medical conditions.
Being organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, which is an essential nutrient that the body produces in inadequate amounts, hence the need to source it 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 offering an entire variety of health benefits like better eyesight, stronger bones and immunity, better energy absorption from food, and more. Without enough vitamin intake, you could be vulnerable to many different diseases or medical conditions.
Types of Vitamins
Depending on how the body stores or uses them, vitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. 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.
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. As water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, it is important to replenish your stores regularly.
All thirteen vitamins have their own specific functions, but they can also work together to benefit 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 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.
Consequences of Vitamin Deficiencies
Inadequate intake of vitamins leads to health risks associated with osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. Vitamin B deficiency in particular can cause anemia and permanent nerve damage.
Too little vitamin C diminishes your ability to produce collagen, 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.
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. With the above, you can begin on the right track.