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The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet

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 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

Depending on how the body stores or uses them, vitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. 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. As water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, it is important to replenish your stores regularly.

Essential Functions

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, 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.

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.

Results 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. 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.

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. With the above, you can begin on the right track.