What are Vitamins and Why do we Need Them?

Before we cover the above question I want to make a statement.

Due to various factors, vitamins have been seen by most modern medical scientists as only needed in small amounts and not that important. The thinking is that we get enough in our food. You will never get a Doctor prescribing Vitamin C for example.  This vitamin has saved lives today, let alone in the time of sailors getting scurvy. Just getting a small amount of Vitamin C in potatoes literally saved men’s lives when sailing in the wide open sea miles away from any land.

However we are seeing vitamins are now being seen as so essential that we need to supplement as we have learnt more about how our bodies work. Kidney and Livers have been healed by having large enough amounts of Vitamin C.

Why do we need more than the RDA?

Our lives are firstly full of stress in various forms. Our food does not contain the nutrients that we need due to numerous factors like being picked too soon. Poor soil and insecticide’s being used. Genetically modified crops cause the amount vitamins to be reduced.

Vitamins are a group of substances that are needed for normal cell function, growth, and development.

There are 13 essential vitamins. This means that these vitamins are required for the body to work properly. They are:

Vitamins are grouped into two categories:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are absorbed more easily by the body in the presence of dietary fat.
  • There are nine water-soluble vitamins. They are not stored in the body. Any leftover water-soluble vitamins leave the body through the urine. Although, the body keeps a small reserve of these vitamins, they have to be taken on a regular basis to prevent shortage in the body. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.

Some “vitamin-like factors” are also needed by the body such as:

  • Choline
  • Carnitine

Function

Each of the vitamins listed below has an important job in the body. A vitamin deficiency occurs when you do not get enough of a certain vitamin. Vitamin deficiency can cause health problems.

Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains and fortified dairy foods may increase your risk for health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and poor bone health (osteoporosis).

  • Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin.
  • Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. The more protein you eat the more pyridoxine your body requires.
  • Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
  • Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that promotes a healthy body. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It is also essential for wound healing.
  • Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine 3 times a week is enough to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D for most people at most latitudes. People who do not live in sunny places may not make enough vitamin D. It is very hard to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. You need calcium for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It helps the body form red blood cells and use vitamin K.
  • Vitamin K is needed because without it, blood would not stick together (coagulate). Some studies suggest that it is important for bone health.
  • Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • Niacin is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also has cholesterol-lowering effects at higher doses.
  • Folate works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Any woman who is pregnant should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as spina bifida. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid.
  • Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • Riboflavin(vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells.
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change carbohydrates into energy. Getting enough carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.
  • Choline helps in normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Lack of choline can cause swelling in liver.
  • Carnitine helps the body to change fatty acids into energy.

This article is from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002399.htm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s