Vitamins

WHAT ARE VITAMINS?

Vitamins are those vital nutrients, which are required by our body to function well and fight diseases. They support everything, from our brain to our heart which is why you should add vitamins to your daily regimen very carefully. There are majorly two kinds of vitamins, water-soluble and fat-soluble.

WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT?

In today’s world where everyone is as busy as beaver, one doesn’t get enough time to take care of their body needs. Our body needs a mix of essential nutrients and vitamins to work properly. Since vitamins are not produced by our body, their need is completed by our diets or supplements.

At times it becomes difficult to decide which all vitamins you should take. Depending on your career and lifestyle, your intake should be decided, which is why it becomes important to consult a dietician. Vitamin needs of an athlete will be different from those who work in an office every day.

WATER-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

Water-soluble vitamins travel freely throughout our body. Our kidneys automatically excrete its excessive amounts, which is why they don’t accumulate in our body and reach toxic levels. Thiamine(vitamin B1) , Riboflavin(vitamin B2) , Niacin(vitamin B3), pyridoxine(vitamin B6), cobalamin(vitamin B12) and ascorbic acid(vitamin C) come under this category. Vitamin B6 at higher levels might cause irreversible nerve damage. A balanced diet provides all of these vitamins but people older than 50 and vegetarians might need some extra supplements for vitamin B12. Vitamin B complex is majorly important for energy metabolism. Functions and sources of various Water-soluble vitamins are mentioned below.

vitamins functions sources
Thiamin(vitamin B1) Nerve functions Pork

Whole grain bread

Cereals

Legumes

Nuts and seeds(moderate)

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) Normal vision

Skin health

milk and milk products

leafy green vegetables

whole grain enriched bread and cereals

Niacin(vitamin B3) nervous system

digestive system

skin health

Meat

Poultry

  • Fish
  • whole-grain enriched bread
  • cereals
  • leafy vegetables
  • peanut butter
Pyridoxine(vitamin B6) makes red blood cells
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Milk and milk products
Cobalamin(vitamin B12) nerve functioning
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Milk and milk products
  • not found in plant foods
Ascorbic acid protein metabolism

immune system health

iron absorption

  • Only in fruits and vegetables
  • especially citrus fruits, vegetables in the cabbage family, cantaloupe, potatoes, lettuce, mangoes, kiwifruit, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries  

 

 

FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

Fat-soluble vitamins are not excreted in Water-soluble vitamins but are stored in our blood cells. They travel into our general blood circulation system and finally are stored in our body tissues. This is the reason why they should be consumed in limited amounts, an excess of it becomes toxic. Our body is especially too much sense to excess amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D. A balanced diet provides enough of fat-soluble vitamins. Its deficiency may arise if the fat intake is too low or their fat absorption is compromised due to some reason. Functions and sources of various fat-soluble vitamins are mentioned below.

vitamins functions sources
Vitamin A Vision

Healthy skin

Bone and tooth growth Immune system health Mucous membranes

  • Fortified milk
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Fortified margarine
  • Eggs
  • Liver
Vitamin D absorption of calcium stored in bones
  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Fatty fish
  • Fortified milk
  • Margarine
  • Our skin when exposed to sunlight
Vitamin E Antioxidant

Protects cell wall

  • Polyunsaturated plant oils(soybean, corn, cottonseed, safflower)
  • Leafy Green vegetables Wheat germ
  • Whole grain products
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Nuts and seeds
Vitamin K Proper blood clotting
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Vegetables in the cabbage family
  • Milk
  • also produced in intestinal tract by bacteria

 

Therefore vitamin intake becomes really very important as most of our body functions depend on them. It is highly recommended to get your vitamin B12 and vitamin D3 tested regularly, because of their increasing deficiency in Indian people. It is also recommended to consult your dietician regularly.