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The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet

Vitamins are organic substances contained in various natural foodstuffs in minute amounts. Because of the crucial role these substances play in normal metabolism, a lack of them can cause a whole range of medical conditions.

Being organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, which is an essential nutrient that the body produces in inadequate amounts, hence the need to source it from food. However, unlike proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins do not give you energy, although they do help the body grow and function optimally.

There are thirteen essential vitamins that offer various health benefits, such as immunity boost, stronger bones, faster wound healing, enhanced eyesight, better use of food-sourced energy and many more. Inadequate vitamin intake can make you more likely to develop illness, from mild to life-threatening.

Types of Vitamins

Vitamins may be fat-soluble or water-soluble, depending on how the body uses them. 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.

Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, include vitamin C and the B vitamins (B6, B12, riboflavin, biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamine), which are distributed by the blood all over the body. Because your body doesn’t keep these water-soluble vitamins, you need to replenish your stores on a regular basis.

Basic Role

All thirteen vitamins have their own specific functions, but they can also work together to benefit your health. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and immune function, as well as better skin, teeth and bones.

Vitamin C contributes to optimal tissue development, promotes iron absorption, and improves immunity. 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.

The B vitamins, for their part, play a role in optimal metabolism, brain function, hormone production, cardiac activity, central nervous system functions, and cellular maintenance.

Consequences of Vitamin Deficiencies

Inadequate intake of vitamins leads to health risks associated with osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. Vitamin B deficiency in particular can cause anemia and permanent nerve damage.

Too little vitamin C diminishes your ability to produce collagen, your body’s primary tissue. In prolonged cases of vitamin C deficiency, a person can develop scurvy, whose symptoms include gingivitis, skin hemorrhage, anemia and general weakness.

Lastly, vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, or the softening and weakening of bones in children, and the existence of autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and poor bone health in adults.

There is so much information you can read these days about the importance of vitamins. The above can put you on the right track.