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Vitamins and Their Role in Good Health

Vitamins are a group of organic substances that can be found in a wide variety of natural food. 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. But in contrast to proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins supply no energy, although they are do help the body work and grow at optimal levels.

There are thirteen essential vitamins that provide a whole range of health benefits, including better eyesight, a stronger immune system, stronger bones, faster wound healing process, and several others. 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. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, and this means that they are stored in fats, where they stay for up to about six months.

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. As water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, it is important to replenish your stores regularly.

Essential Functions

All the thirteen vitamins have their own individual functions, but they can work as a group as well in improving 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 paired with the mineral, calcium, also plays a big role in immunity and bone health. 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

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 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.

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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