For your body to function properly and maintain optimal health, it needs at least 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are organic compounds involved in building and repairing damaged tissues to control the process of continuity of the body. The good news is that the vital micronutrients are required only in small amounts by your body cells. However, since your body cannot produce vitamins independently, it's often helpful to take them in required amounts through other sources such as the food you take in and vitamin capsules. Food that contain vitamins include leafy vegetables, fruits, and meat. The following are some essential vitamins and their effect on your overall health. [Check out these options for a sugar free vitamin.]
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for the proper function of the immune system, cell growth, vision, and differentiation. It acts as an antioxidant in cells and helps to repair damage to the cells. It also helps to combat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a primary cause of vision loss among the elderly.
Vitamin A is mainly found in foods such as meat, fish, liver, and dairy products. However, spinach, broccoli, and red peppers are also vital sources of vitamin A. However, another helpful compound known as beta-carotene is found in oranges and vegetables such as cantaloupe, mangoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots. Your body converts the beta-carotene into vitamin A, so these are great sources for this important vitamin as well.
Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamine or thiamin. Your body requires it for energy metabolism, growth of cells, development, and function. It is also necessary for the proper functioning of your brain. This vitamin is mainly found in fish, meat, and whole grains. Most breakfast cereals are often fortified with vitamin B1, which is a great addition.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women need more significant amounts of thiamin, or B1. And, too, people with particular conditions, including alcohol dependence, diabetes, and HIV, often have low thiamine levels, so need to increase their B1 as well. Thiamine deficiency is more common in people who have undergone bariatric surgery as well. Symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency include memory loss, weight loss, enlarged heart, muscle weakness, and mental health issues, so this is one nutrient you do not want to miss.
This vitamin is also known as riboflavin, and the body needs it to produce energy and facilitate cell growth. It is also crucial in the metabolism of drugs and fats. Vitamin B2 is usually bright yellow and is found in organ meats, milk, eggs, vegetables, and lean meats. Again, some cereals and grains are also fortified with vitamin B2. Vegetarians or vegans need to pay extra attention to this one as they are at a higher risk of becoming riboflavin deficient. Great news for those who have headaches, an effective treatment for people who suffer from migraines is supplemental riboflavin. Make a note, though, that taking a riboflavin supplement may cause your urine to turn a bright yellow color.
Your body uses vitamin B3, also known as niacin, to convert food into energy as well, and to store it. Additionally, it plays a critical role in the functioning of nerves and boosts the health of your skin, digestive system, and tissues. It is mainly found in eggs, canned tuna, lean meats, milk, fish, legumes, poultry, and peanuts. A deficiency of riboflavin may lead to a condition known as pellagra. The symptoms of pellagra include dementia, mental problems, dermatitis, and digestive problems.
When using a B3 supplement - whether regular or large doses of niacin - know that it may produce a brief feeling of warmth on the skin, or 'flushing', that includes redness and tingling or itching in the arms, face, upper chest, or neck. Ensure you avoid drinking alcohol and hot beverages when taking niacin as it can make the itching worse. However, newer forms of riboflavin, such as nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, can minimize or eliminate flushing altogether.
Vitamin B12 is another one that helps you break food down into energy. Your body synthesizes it to form red blood cells and DNA. Also, you may need it for proper neurological function and make SAMe, which is a compound that your body requires to produce genetic material, hormones, proteins, and fats. It is commonly found in dairy products, cereals, meat, fish, and clams. Cobalamin deficiency can cause fatigue, constipation, weight loss, weakness, and loss of appetite. Also, it can lead to neurological problems such as memory loss, confusion, depression, difficulty with balance, and tingling in the hands and feet. Needless to say, you don't want to be low in B12.
Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that your body needs to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and skin. Sources of vitamin C include papaya, lemons, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and other fruits and veggies. It is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that you need to eat food rich in vitamin c regularly or take a natural factors supplement to ensure that you maintain sufficient levels. Deficiency in this vitamin leads to scurvy characterized by swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth, and poor wound healing. However, there is no proof to back up the assertion that high doses of vitamin C effectively treat COVID-19, as some have claimed.
Your body needs vitamin D to regulate cell growth, combat inflammation, and enhance your immune system. It combines with calcium to maintain strong, healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. Although smaller amounts of vitamin D are found in egg yolks, primary sources are fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon. However, the best way to get vitamin D is to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun on a clear day without sunscreen. When you are exposed to the sun, your skin manufactures vitamin D.
Apart from being an antioxidant, it also protects cells against free radicals. Free radicals are produced by things that can harm tissues and cells, such as cigarette smoke, sunlight, and pollution. Vitamin E is mainly found in sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, wheat germ oil, and peanuts. Smaller amounts can be found in sunflower oil, safflower oil, and leafy vegetables if you are allergic to nuts.
Vitamin K acts as a coenzyme for the production of proteins which are essential in bone metabolism and blood clotting. It is found in large quantities in collards, spinach, kale, and turnip greens. However, the best natural source with the greatest concentration of vitamin K is a fermented soybean dish. If you are taking blood thinners, follow your doctor's instructions since vitamin K interferes with blood-thinning medication.
To sum it up, your body needs a specific daily intake of vitamins along with other essential nutrients. The recommended daily dosages of the nutrients vary with the type, body requirements, and lifestyle. Vitamins are abundantly found in both animal-based and plant-based food products. Although vitamin deficiency may cause diseases, an overdose can also cause diseases, so try to follow the recommended daily intake.
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