Vitamins and Their Role in Good Health
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.
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 that provide a whole range of health benefits, including better eyesight, a stronger immune system, stronger bones, faster wound healing process, and several others. Inadequate vitamin intake can make you more likely to develop illness, from mild to life-threatening.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins are either fat soluble or water-soluble, depending on body storage. 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.
All thirteen vitamins have their own specific functions, but they can also work together to benefit your health. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and immune function, as well as better skin, teeth and bones.
Vitamin C contributes to optimal tissue development, promotes iron absorption, and improves immunity. Vitamin D paired with the mineral, calcium, also plays a big role in immunity and bone health. Vitamin E helps your body utilize vitamin K, and this improves bone health, blood-clotting mechanisms, and helps in the body’s production of essential 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. Insufficient vitamin B intake sets the stage for anemia and irreversible 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 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.
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.