You need vitamins for metabolism, cellular growth, improve bodily functions, etc. When you have a vitamin deficiency, your body does not function properly, your immune system will become weak, and you will become sick. The food you eat contains vitamins and minerals, which the body extracts and uses for physiological functions. Foods are the natural sources of vitamins. Vitamins are also synthetically manufactured. Some vitamins are produced by the body.
Based on how vitamins acts on the body, vitamins can be basically divided into two groups:
- Fat-soluble vitamins, examples: A, D, E, and K vitamin
- Water-soluble vitamins, examples: B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin, and niacin (commonly grouped as B Complex) and vitamin C
Vitamin A is very important for mucous membranes, eyesight, skin, hair, bones, teeth, epithelial cells (the cells that line nose, mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, intestines and urinary tract), and reproduction. Vitamin A helps you to see in the dim light or at night, formation and development of bones, hair, skin and reproductory organs.
Deficiency of vitamin A will result in dry skin and night blindness.
Yellow, orange, and gree vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is found abundantly in pumpkin, papaya, carrots, spinach, broccoli, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, etc. Eggs, milk, fish oil, liver of chicken, lamb, pork, turkey or beef are natural sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin B is a complex molecule of various vitamins like B1, B2, B6, and B12, as well as niacin, biotin, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. All of these B vitamins facilitate the red blood cells so that they can carry oxygen to various parts of the body. Vitamin B produces protein and provides energy that are necessary for metabolism.
The deficiency of vitamin B is very serious. Red blood cells do not function properly in the absence of vitamin B. Vitamin B is also important for brain functions. When you have a deficiency of vitamin B, you will experience weakness. There will be hindrance in your normal growth. Deficiency also affects the nervous system.
Vitamin B is found abundantly in green leafy vegetables, beans, citrus fruits, wheat, oats, seafood, peas, meat, poultry, milk, and yogurt. Some types of Vitamin B are also produced by bacteria in the large intestine.
Vitamin C produces a protein called collagen. Collagen is necessary for the development of cartilage, blood vessels, bones, and muscles. Labeled as an antioxidant vitamin, Vitamin C removes oxidizing agents that damage your body. Vitamin C keeps tissues in good shape and assists in the healing of wounds. Vitamin C is water soluble vitamin, yet it protects fatty acids and the fat-soluble vitamins like A and E from oxidation.
Deficiency of Vitamin C leads to poor skin health, affects healing of wounds, gums bleeding, joint pains etc.
Citrus fruits like lime, lemon, oranges, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C can also be found in strawberries, broccoli, and cabbage.
Your body can absorb calcium and phosphorus only if you have enough vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D helps calcium to move between the blood and the bones. You need Vitamin D for the formation and development of bones.
Deficiency of vitamin D results in weak bones, loss of appetite, nausea, depression, headache, weight loss, and calcium deposit in the kidney that result in kidney stone formation.
Vitamin D is usually referred as sunshine vitamin as our body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunshine. Vitamin D is abundant in liver, fish, milk, and egg yolks.
Vitamin E is very important for the formation of red blood cells. It aids oxidation in the tissues. Vitamin protects the lung from the damages caused by polluted air and also maintains body tissue by preventing the breakdown of the tissues.
Deficiency of vitamin E can result in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Vitamin E can be found in fish oil, wheat germ, whole grains, green vegetables, nuts, egg yolks, and cereal.
Vitamin K is necessary for protein synthesis, blood clotting, stop bleeding, and bone metabolism.
Deficiency of Vitamin K results in excess bleeding and increases the chances of osteoporosis.
Fish, meat, eggs, green vegetables are good sources of vitamin K. Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage contain vitamin K.