How Important are Vitamins to your Body?
The Importance of Vitamins to the Body
Although the human body needs very small amounts of vitamins, they are essential to the body’s correct functioning, growth, ability to fight diseases and general good health.
Vitamins are found in most foods and a healthy, balanced diet may provide sufficient vitamins for the body’s needs. However, a vitamin deficiency can lead to serious health disorders depending on which vitamins are deficient.
Vitamin A for example, is important for cell growth, healthy bones and teeth in growing children and the immune system. This vitamin, along with vitamins D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins which means they can be stored in the body until needed. Vitamin D is important in maintaining blood calcium levels, vitamin E is an important anti-oxidant and vitamin K plays an essential role in the production of several chemicals involved in blood clotting.
Other vitamins, such as B complex vitamins, vitamin C, folate, pantothenic acid and biotin are water soluble vitamins and only stored in limited amounts in the body, meaning regular replenishment is required from the diet.
As well as being an important anti-oxidant, vitamin C is assists in forming collagen, a protein that provides strength and support to bones, teeth, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels.
The B-complex vitamins provide a range of important benefits to the body including the release of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins, protein metabolism, the production of DNA and the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Folate is important for the production of new cells and pantothenic acid and biotin are important for energy metabolism from carbohydrates, fats and protein.
It can be seen that, although the body requires only very small amounts of vitamins, they play a very important role in the body’s health and a deficiency of vitamins can lead to many serious health disorders.
What are fat soluble vitamins and where are they are found?
Vitamins A, D, E and K are known as fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins occur in many foods which contain fats and remain in the foods after cooking. The body only needs small amounts of these vitamins and they are stored by the body in the liver and fatty tissues until needed. Fat soluble vitamins travel around the body and are absorbed like other fats and due to the fact that they are stored in the body, very large doses of vitamins A, D, E and K can lead to a potentially dangerous condition called hypervitaminosis, which is literally too much vitamin in the body.
What is the importance of vitamin A to the body?
Vitamin A, or retinol, is a fat soluble vitamin that plays an important part in the body’s health. One important role of vitamin A is to support the eye’s ability to adjust to light changes and see efficiently in the dark. One symptom of vitamin A deficiency can be difficulty in adjusting after seeing a bright light in a dark environment such as during the night time.
Vitamin A also supports the immune system and plays an important role in maintaining the protective linings of the stomach, lungs, intestines, urinary tract and other organs. Vitamin A also helps to regulate genes, allows iron to be incorporated into haemoglobin and is also needed for the formation and activation of white blood cells.
What is the importance of vitamin D to the body?
Vitamin D is a somewhat unique fat soluble vitamin in the fact that it can be made in the body. It plays an important part in the body’s health, but is a vitamin that is naturally found in a relatively small number of food sources.
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining the correct levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood which is important for healthy bones and teeth and a lack of this vitamin can result in bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D can also help protect against serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart disease and as such is an important vitamin for the health of the body.
What is the importance of vitamin C to the body?
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the body’s health. This vitamin acts as an important antioxidant, specifically preventing the oxidation of vitamin A and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the intestine.
Another important role of vitamin C is in the synthesis of collagen, which is an essential part of connective tissue and as such affects the health of the bones, skin, teeth, blood vessels, muscles and cartilage. A lack of vitamin C can result in a depletion of collagen in the body which can lead to serious diseases such as scurvy.
Vitamin C also assists in iron absorption and also plays a part in helping to protect against heart attacks and strokes by promoting better vascular health.
The body’s immune system is also positively impacted by vitamin C due to it’s function in boosting the white blood cell count and vitamins for immune system may help those with nutrient deficient diets.
What is the most important function of Vitamin K?
The most important function of vitamin K is the role it plays in facilitating the production of a range of chemicals in the body that are responsible for coagulation, or blood clotting.
What are the water soluble vitamins and where they are found?
Vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins are known as water soluble vitamins. The body has limited capacity to store water soluble vitamins and as such they need to be replaced regularly through the diet or through supplementation. If the body has more of these vitamins than it needs, the excess will be eliminated from the body via urine.
As their name implies, water soluble vitamins dissolve in water and these vitamins can be found in many food sources, including meat, vegetables, legumes and grains.
Author: Bryan Morris