Vitamins are organic substances contained in various natural foodstuffs in minute amounts. Because of the crucial role these substances play in normal metabolism, a lack of them can cause a whole range of 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. Unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, however, vitamins don’t supply energy, but they help the body work and grow at best capacity.
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. If you don’t take in enough vitamins, you increase your risk of developing diseases or medical conditions.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins may be fat-soluble or water-soluble, depending on how the body uses them. Fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K – remain in the body for a maximum of about six months and are stored in fat tissue.
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 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.
Consequences of Vitamin Deficiencies
Without enough vitamin intake, you can be at risk of various medical issues, specially those linked to cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. Vitamin B deficiency in particular can cause anemia and permanent nerve damage.
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 leads to rickets, which manifests as bone pain and deformation, and overall poor growth in children, and as poor bone health, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases in adults.
If you’re really keen on learning about vitamins and their importance, just look online and you find tons of information. With the above, you can begin on the right track.