What Are Vitamins and Why Do We Need Them in Our Lives?

Takeaway: Vitamins are vital nutrients found in the food we eat required for the healthy growth, development and functioning of your body. There are about 13 essential vitamins we need in our bodies and getting inadequate amounts of these vitamins can lead to deficiencies resulting in certain diseases. All these vitamins provide essential nutrients since they perform several roles in your body such as keeping it healthy and active, releasing energy, and preventing infections.

What Are Vitamins, and Which Ones Should I Take?

what are vitamins

What are vitamins? In simple terms, they are substances found mainly in fruits and vegetables but are also in other foods needed for healthy growth, better development, and functioning of your body. You need all 13 essential vitamins to stay healthy. The following are the vitamins you should take to keep your body healthy:

  • Vitamins A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • B complex vitamins such as B6, B1, B12, B3, B2, B5, B7, folic acid, and B9.

What Vitamins Should I Take?

When you don’t get the adequate amounts of particular vitamins, you may get certain deficiency diseases. For instance, insufficient quantities of B6 or B12 may lead to anemia while too little vitamin D may cause rickets or a weak-bone illness in children. These examples illustrate that each vitamin has a specific purpose in your body. It is beneficial to try to take all of them though not necessarily every day.

However, taking too much of any vitamin can lead to problems. For example, taking excess vitamin B6 can cause symptoms such as trouble walking and nerve damage. Excess amounts of vitamin D may cause heart arrhythmias.

The best way to ensure you get the right amount of vitamins is by consulting your doctor or nutritionist. If you lack certain amounts, the best remedy is to take the proper dosages of vitamin supplements.

What Do Vitamins Do?

All vitamins are essential nutrients since they perform several roles in your body. Therefore, missing any one of them for an extended period may cause your body to fail to function correctly and trigger some diseases. For instance, vitamins heal wounds, strengthen bones, and boost your immune system. Another function is converting food into energy while repairing cellular damage. Vitamin deficiency disorders result if you don’t take adequate vitamins.

There are two categories of vitamins, the water-soluble vitamins and the fat-soluble vitamins.

What Are Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body’s fat tissue for up to several months. These vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are rich in high-fat foods and are absorbed more easily into your bloodstream when you consume such foods. Because these vitamins are fat-soluble, they will be stored in the liver or fat cells and later excreted through the lymph system.

Some of the significant functions of these vitamins include building bones, protecting your vision, and keeping your cells healthy. They also act as antioxidants by protecting your body from the damage of unstable molecules. Additional functions include maintaining the skin, lungs, nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract.

What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins

These are vitamins stored into the watery portions of the consumed foods. Their absorption occurs directly into the bloodstream during food digestion or as their supplements dissolve in body fluids.

Water-soluble vitamins classification includes all the B complex vitamins such as B5, B1, B2, B6, B3, B7, B12, folic acid, and vitamins C.

Since most of your body consists of water, transportation of water-soluble vitamins happens efficiently in the bloodstream. Your kidneys perform consistent regulation and balance of their levels and excrete excess amounts out of the body through your urine.

There are many functions of water-soluble vitamins, but the important one is to release the energy from the food you eat. Others maintain healthy tissues.

What Vitamins Give You Energy?

what are vitamins

B class of vitamins are the best when energy for your body is a concern. Vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, and B12, can boost energy; and each of them is essential for the formation of red blood cells and cell metabolism. All these vitamins play a role in how your body processes the food you eat and then help to convert it into energy.

What Are Prenatal Vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins consist of various nutrients that give your baby the essential nutrients for healthy development.

Prenatal vitamins typically contain more folic acid and iron than do standard adult multivitamins. The main reason is that folic acid prevents neural tube abnormalities such as severe defects of the spinal cord and the brain. Alternatively, iron prevents anemia and supports proper growth and development of the baby including healthy adult life.

Additionally, some research indicates that prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of having babies who are small for their gestational age.

What Vitamins Do You Get From the Sun?

Getting enough sunlight is very significant for obtaining and maintaining the best levels of vitamin D. This vitamin from the sun has many functions in the body which are required for optimal health.

If you get insufficient levels of vitamin D from the sun, some serious health consequences can occur. These include osteoporosis, muscle weakness, cancer, and depression.

Exposing your body to the sun is by far the best way of boosting vitamin D levels, specifically since very few foods have significant amounts. To get sufficient amounts of vitamin D and maintain healthy vitamin D blood levels, you need to expose your skin to sunlight.

However, you also need to exercise caution by not exposing your body to too much sunlight. Some consequences of too much sunlight exposure include sunburn, skin aging, eye damage, heat stroke, and skin cancer.

What Vitamins Are Good for the Skin?

what are vitamins

A variety of vitamins are good for the skin, and each plays a significant role in your skin’s health. These vitamins include vitamins C, D, K, B3, and B5.

Vitamin C stays at high levels in the epidermis and the dermis which is the outer and inner layers of the skin respectively. It has antioxidant properties and functions by producing collagen which maintains healthy skin. Because of this, it is one of the main ingredients in anti-aging skin care products.

Vitamin C can also fight off the signs of aging due to its crucial role in the natural collagen synthesis in the body. Also, it heals damaged skin while reducing the appearance of wrinkles in some cases. Taking adequate amounts of vitamin C repairs and prevents dry skin.

Vitamin D, created when your skin absorbs sunlight is taken up by your kidneys and transported throughout the body to produce healthy cells. These cells include those existing in the skin, where vitamin D most significant role is skin toning.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant whose primary role in skin care is protecting it against harmful sun rays. When you apply this vitamin to the skin, it absorbs the harmful UV rays from the sun through a process called photo-protection which minimizes skin damage. This process can prevent the formation of dark spots and wrinkles.

The primary function of vitamin K is to control certain skin conditions such as stretch marks, scars, spider veins, and dark spots.

You can find vitamin K packaged in different topical creams for the skin which treat various skin conditions. Also, doctors often use products with vitamin K on post-surgery patients to reduce bruising and swelling, which accelerates skin healing.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 or niacin is essential for healthy skin. Research indicates that vitamin B3 can significantly lessen the appearance of aged skin. Many top skin brighteners have its ingredient added for such purposes.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 or pantothenic is an ingredient found in most skincare formulations since it provides some of the best skin hydration products. Research indicates that this vitamin can improve skin barrier functioning and prevent skin water loss. Therefore, if you find a beauty product which has vitamin B5 as one of its ingredients, you should feel comfortable that it has an important function.

What Vitamins Are Good for the Brain?

The brain requires about 15% of your blood supply and some vitamins for optimal function. Several vitamins are essential for the overall health of your brain especially in terms of concentration, focus, and balance.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for the brain’s health since it helps in neurotransmitter production, offering defense against neurodegenerative diseases and improved mood.

Production of neurotransmitter provides a significant impact on every aspect of your health and life. Also, neurotransmitters affect your ability to concentrate, memory, moods, sleep, cravings, addictions, etc. which all constitute different parts in the brain functions.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for improving memory, boosting problem-solving abilities, and better moods. Also, children should obtain enough vitamin D for the healthy development of the brain.

B Complex Vitamins

These are also known as “anti-stress vitamins” or “happy vitamins” since they eliminate depression, defend against brain aging, improve memory, and even protect against Alzheimer’s. The other important function of B vitamins for brain health is the production of the neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Imbalances of these essential chemicals in the brain can significantly interfere with your mental health.

For instance, deficiency in serotonin can lead to negative thoughts, anxiety, insomnia, depression, low self-esteem, among other mood disorders. Alternatively, low levels of GABA can make you become easily stressed, overwhelmed, and overstimulated. Dopamine helps you maintain focus and concentration.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the brain tissues from damage. A severe deficiency in this vitamin can cause various symptoms such as abnormal eye movement, impaired balance and coordination, and ataxia. It is also essential for the proper development of the brain in children.

What Vitamins are Good for High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the increased pressure of the blood against your blood vessels and capillaries puts risks to your health. For instance, HBP can damage your blood vessels which can cause dangers to heart attack or stroke.

The best vitamin for reducing high blood pressure include folic acid which is a B complex vitamins found mainly in leafy green vegetables, kidney, and liver. Scientists are still performing further research on vitamins that can reduce blood pressure for better health.

What Vitamins Are Good for Your Eyes?

Your eyes are complex body parts that need different vitamins to function properly. Studies indicate that specific vitamins can prevent or slow the advancement of various eye conditions.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A contributes a significant role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea or the external covering of your eye. This vitamin is also has a component called rhodopsin, which is a protein in your eyes that provide excellent vision low light conditions

To illustrate the importance of vitamin A, a severe deficiency can cause xerophthalmia, which is a severe disorder that can lead to blindness. Research also indicates that people who take high amounts of this vitamin have reduced the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant that protects your eye cells from damage resulting from free radicals, or harmful, unstable molecules. When you take it in high amounts in your diet, you may have a reduced risk of cataracts.

Vitamin C

Similar to vitamin E, vitamin C is also an effective antioxidant that can protect your eyes against harmful free radicals. Additionally, vitamin C is essential for collagen manufacturing which is a protein that offers structure to your eye, especially in the cornea and sclera.

Observational reports suggest that this vitamin prevent the advancement of AMD and protect against cataracts

Vitamins B6, B9, and B12

Researchers have also studied the influence of these vitamins on eye health and found that their combination reduces risks of developing AMD by lowering the homocysteine levels.

Vitamin B2 and B1 have shown significant results for reducing the risk of developing cataracts and protecting against harmful free radicals in your eyes.

Vitamin Facts

  • Vitamins are essential nutrients needed for the healthy growth, better development, and functioning of your body. Without them, our bodies can suffer from low immunity and possible disorders from inadequate usage.
  • There are two categories of vitamins which include fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins release the energy from the food you eat, and others maintain healthy tissues. Fat-soluble vitamins act as antioxidants by protecting your body from the damage of unstable molecules.
  • Also, vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, and B12, give energy and each of them is essential for the formation of red blood cells and cell metabolism.
  • For pregnant mothers, prenatal vitamins consist of various nutrients that give your baby the essential nutrients for healthy development.
  • Did you also know that you can get adequate amounts of vitamin D needed in your body from the sun without necessarily receiving it from food? It is possible.
  • Some vitamins are also good for your skin such as vitamins C, D, K, B3, and B5, which maintain a healthy skin tone.
  • The brain also needs vitamins C, D, K, B3, and B5 essential for the overall health of your brain especially in terms of concentration, focus, and balance.
  • Research also indicates that folic acid which is a B complex vitamins can control high blood pressure.
  • Your eyes also need full nourishment of essential vitamins to maintain proper vision and control infections.
  • Therefore, vitamins are very vital nutrients required for full health of our bodies. We should commit to taking them to help nourish our bodies and prevent diseases.

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