The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet
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.
As organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, an essential nutrient that the body does not produce enough of, thus the need 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. 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 also strengthens immunity, encourages good tissue development and helps the body in absorbing iron. Vitamin D, together with calcium (another mineral), also has a role in bone health and immunity. 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.
Of course, the B vitamins have their part to play, mostly in relation to better central nervous system functions, hormone synthesis, cardiac operation, basic cellular maintenance, brain activity and body metabolism.
Effects of Vitamin Deficiencies
Insufficient vitamin intake puts your health at risk, specifically in relation to heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. A deficiency in vitamin B in particular can lead to irreversible nerve damage and anemia.
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.
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 keen on learning about vitamins and their importance, just look online and you find tons of information. The above can put you on the right track.