Vitamins. What is it and why do we need it?
Vitamins are essential to our health because most vitamins need to come from food as the body either does not produce them or produces very little of them. Different vitamins play different roles in the body, and a person requires a different amount of each vitamin to stay healthy. There are currently 13 recognised vitamins:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Biotin (B7)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
- Folate (folic acid and B9)
- Different organisms have different vitamin requirements. For example, humans need to get vitamin C from a food source whereas our man’s best friend can produce all the vitamin C that they need by themselves.
- Vitamin D is not available in large enough quantities in our diet so your body synthesizes the vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, and this is the best source of vitamin D. However, in modern time, due to our lifestyle we are not exposed to sunlight as much as we need. Therefore, it is recommended to supplement vitamin D.
- Many people think that if some are good, a lot is better. This is not always the case. High doses of certain vitamins can be toxic. Ask your healthcare provider what is best for you
Different types of vitamin
Fat-soluble vitamin vs Water-soluble vitamin
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in fatty tissue and the liver and reserves of these vitamins can stay in the body for days and sometimes months. You don’t need to constantly take fat-soluble vitamins as your body stores it.
Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. They leave the body via urine. Because of this, people need a more regular supply of water-soluble vitamins than fat-soluble ones. This is the reason why your urine colour is very much bright yellow when you take Vitamin C supplements. Your body takes what it needs and flushes out the rest.
*Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.
What does each vitamin do?
Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.
Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. The more protein you eat the more pyridoxine your body requires.
Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It is also essential for wound healing.
Vitamin D is also known as the "sunshine vitamin," since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine 3 times a week is enough to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D for most people at most latitudes. People who do not live in sunny places may not make enough vitamin D. It is very hard to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium is needed for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It helps the body form red blood cells and use vitamin K.
Vitamin K is needed because without it, blood would not stick together (coagulate). Some studies suggest that it is important for bone health.
Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
Niacin is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also has cholesterol-lowering effects at higher doses.
Folate works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Any woman who is pregnant should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as spina bifida. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid.
Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells.
Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change carbohydrates into energy. Getting enough carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.
Vitamins are very important. If you don’t have enough, you will begin to face health issues in the long run.
The best source of vitamins comes from your own kitchen and it is best that you carefully monitor your diet in order to ensure that you are getting enough vitamins. You can find what the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) is for you by following the link - https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/webform/daily-nutrient-requirements-calculator
After monitoring your diet and you believe that you are still lacking in certain vitamins, it is recommended that you supplement it with vitamin supplements. However, it is important to ensure that the manufacturing process and packaging of the vitamins are in a manner that will sustain the nutrients per their label claim. It is recommended doing your own research and due diligence into the company and their product.
Always feel free to contact us and we are happy to assist and recommend brands and products that we believe have the integrity that we trust in.