Vitamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life. While most people are able to get the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, there are millions of people who must take supplemental vitamins as part of their health regimen, as they are lacking the vitamins in their diet. This lack of vitamins could be because of poor eating habits. Thus, it is beneficial to consume the right amount of vitamins as a part of ones’ daily nutrient intake, whether through a proper diet, or with the use of vitamins. The human body utilizes vitamins for a variety of biological processes.
Some would include growth, digestion, and nerve function. There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs. These vitamins are A, C, D, E, and K, as well as the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) (FDA, 2012). Vitamins help our body function like cell growth, energy metabolism, immune system, nervous system, circulatory system and reproduction system. Vitamins help fight off infections and as we get older the risk for infections increase. Vitamins are just as important to babies as it is the elderly.
People will benefit and have a healthy diet if they consume the proper amount of vitamins in their diet. Fat soluble vitamins are vitamins that are much more resilient. These vitamins stay in the human body for a much longer time, thus making them much more effective over time. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues and are eliminated from the body much more slowly than water soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins consist of the vitamins A, D, E, and K. The first of the fat soluble vitamins is Vitamin A. This vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction.
Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. Vitamin A is found naturally in many foods and is added to some foods, such as milk and cereal. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin A by eating a variety of foods. Vitamin A is found in beef liver, salmon, leafy green vegetables, and other vegetables such as carrots, squash, and broccoli. Vitamin A is also found in fruits such as mangos, cantaloupe, and apricots. Vitamin D, another fat-soluble vitamin, is found in very few foods.
Concentrated food sources of vitamin D include sardines, salmon, cow’s milk, mushrooms, and eggs. The functions of vitamin D include regulation of bone health, regulation of muscle health (including both skeletal and heart muscle), regulation of immune response, regulation of insulin and blood sugar, and regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism (Pressman, 2007). Vitamin E, Another fat-soluble vitamin is Vitamin E, and has many benefits. It helps to protect your skin from ultraviolet light, while also assisting to protect against prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin E is found in many foods. These foods include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, papaya, turnip, and mustard greens (WhFoods, 2013). The last of the fat soluble vitamins is Vitamin K. Vitamin K allows your blood to clot normally, and helps protect your bones from fractures to name a few. Vitamin K is found in kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and tomatoes (WhFoods, 2013).
Helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. Can lower the risks of certain cancers such as lung and prostate. Assists the eyes. Can cause reproductive problems, sore throat, ear and sinus infections. Blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Loss of appetite and bone pain.
Prevent type2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attack. Prevents chronic fatigue, prevents certain cancers. Muscle aches, frequent falls in elderly, low energy, lowered immunity, and depression. Symptoms of toxicity include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and failure to thrive.
Protect your skin from ultraviolet light, protect against prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Supports healthy skin, prevents reduced risk of bladder cancer. Can cause digestive system problems, Tingling or loss of sensation in extremities, and liver or gallbladder problems. These effects include intestinal cramps and diarrhea, fatigue, double vision, and muscle weakness.
Allows your blood to clot normally. Protects bones from fractures. Helps prevent postmenopausal bone loss. Helps prevent calcification of your arteries. It is rare, but excessive bleeding, such as nose bleeds. Also, easy bruising. Symptoms of toxicity would be liver damage.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Lowers your cancer risk.
Helps to regenerate your Vitamin E supply.
Improves iron absorption in the body.
Poor wound healing. Frequent colds or infections.
In rare cases, diarrhea could occur.
Vitamin B1 Thiamin
Keeps red blood cells healthy. Protects heart muscles and nerve cells. Breaks down starches. Helps mental functions and memory.
Alcohol consumption causes thiamin levels to drop. Muscle weakness, depression, and constipation. Rare, but high doses can cause upset stomach.
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Cells need riboflavin to make energy. Regulates cell growth. Enhances immune functions.
Cracks in the corners of the lips.
Rare but reactions are itching and numbness. High doses can affect urinalysis test results.
The other type of vitamins is known as water soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are vitamins that are soluble in water. This means they need to be replaced on a regular basis, as they break down quickly and leave the body faster. Examples of water soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex.
Vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin is beneficial in assisting to lower your risk for cancer. It also improves iron absorption, and helps regenerate your Vitamin E supply (WhFoods, 2013). There are numerous foods that are high in Vitamin C. Papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and oranges are some to name a few.
Vitamin B Complex is comprised of 8 different B Vitamins. They are labeled by number in the order in which they were discovered. This vitamin family assists in keeping your immune system working effectively. I chose to discuss Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin. Thiamin is crucial, as it converts food to energy. It also breaks down starches. Foods that contain thiamin are asparagus, liver, fish, peanut butter, and whole grains to name a few (Pressman, 2007). The other vitamin I chose to discuss from the Vitamin B Complex is B2, also known as Riboflavin.
Riboflavin is beneficial, as the cells in the body need riboflavin to make energy. It regulates ones’ cell growth. Riboflavin is found in foods such as meats, broccoli, mushrooms, beans, leafy green vegetables, and avocados to name a few. Vitamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life. While most people are able to get the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, there are millions of people who must take supplemental vitamins as part of their health regimen, as they are lacking the vitamins in their diet. It is important to consult a physician before one decides to begin taking a vitamin regimen.