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The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet

Vitamins are organic substances present in small amounts in natural foodstuffs. Since these are essential to the normal metabolism of the body, not having enough can lead to medical conditions.

As organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, an essential nutrient that the body does not produce enough of, thus the need to obtain them from food. Unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, however, vitamins don’t supply energy, but they help the body work and grow at best capacity.

There are thirteen essential vitamins offering an entire variety of health benefits like better eyesight, stronger bones and immunity, better energy absorption from food, and more. If you don’t take in enough vitamins, you increase your risk of developing diseases or medical conditions.

Types of Vitamins

Depending on how the body stores or uses them, vitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K – remain in the body for a maximum of about six months and are stored in fat tissue.

On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins, which include vitamin C plus the B vitamins – B6, B12, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, folate and biotin – are circulated around the body through the blood. As water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, it is important to replenish your stores regularly.

Basic Role

All thirteen vitamins have their own specific functions, but they can also work together to benefit your health. Vitamin A gives you better skin, bones and teeth, aside form good eyesight and immunity.

Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, boosts immunity and promotes good tissue development. Vitamin D, together with calcium (another mineral), also has a role in bone health and immunity. Vitamin E helps your body make use of vitamin K, and this is involved in blood-clotting and bone health maintenance, and also plays a part in essential red blood cell formation.

Of course, the B vitamins have their own work to do, most of which is related to metabolism, cellular maintenance, heart and brain health and hormone production.

Consequences of Vitamin Deficiencies

Without enough vitamin intake, you can be at risk of various medical issues, specially those linked to cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. A deficiency in vitamin B in particular can lead to irreversible nerve damage and anemia.

When you take too little vitamin C, your system will not produce enough of the body’s primary tissue known as collagen. When vitamin C deficiency is severe, a person can have scurvy, with symptoms including gum disease, anemia, muscle and joint fatigue and skin hemorrhage.

Lastly, vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets, which manifests as bone pain and deformation, and overall poor growth in children, and as poor bone health, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases in adults.

If you’re really keen on learning about vitamins and their importance, just look online and you find tons of information. With the above, you can begin on the right track.

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