Vitamins and Their Role in Good Health
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. 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 offering an entire variety of health benefits like better eyesight, stronger bones and immunity, better energy absorption from food, and more. 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.
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. Considering that your body does not retain water-soluble vitamins, you have to make sure that your stores are constantly replenished.
Each of the thirteen vitamins comes with is own particular functions, but they can also work as a team to improve your health. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and immune function, as well as better skin, teeth and bones.
Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, boosts immunity and promotes good tissue development. Vitamin D, together with calcium (another mineral), also has a role in bone health and immunity. 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.
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. 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 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.