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. 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. Inadequate vitamin intake can make you more likely to develop illness, from mild to life-threatening.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins may be fat-soluble or water-soluble, depending on how the body uses them. 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 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.
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
Inadequate intake of vitamins leads to health risks associated with osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. A deficiency in vitamin B in particular can lead to irreversible nerve damage and anemia.
Without enough vitamin C in your diet, you will have limited stores of collagen, which makes up your body’s primary tissue. 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.