Vitamins and Supplements / Vitamin Function / Types of Vitamins

Types of Vitamins

by Staff

A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by the body. Vitamins are substances that are found in foods we eat. Vitamins also act as co-enzymes to carry chemical groups between enzymes. Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions, including functioning as hormones. Fruits and vegetables are often a good source of vitamins.

Vitamins are classified as fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat soluble vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E, and K are classified as the fat-soluble vitamins which accumulate within lipids as fat stores of the body and within the liver. They can be stored in the body for a longer period of time and can be called to action whenever needed by the body.

Vitamin A (Retinol) – It helps you see at night. Vitamin A also helps to see in color from the brightest yellow to the darkest purple. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A. Deficiency in vitamin A leads to night blindness.

Vitamin D (Calciferol)- It is a vital vitamin for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps the body in adequate calcium and phosporous absorption. Vitamin D is obtained when the body is exposed to sunlight adequately. Cod liver oil is an excellent nutritional source of vitamin D as well. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to rickets.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) – It takes care of lungs and also aids in formation of red blood cells. Wheat germ oil is an excellant sorce of vitamin E. Deficiency in vitamin E leads to anemia, due to oxidative damge to red blood cells.

Vitamin K (Phylloquinone) – It helps in the maintenance of normal levels of the blood clotting proteins. It acts as a blood coagulant. Deficiency of vitamin k can lead to bleeding of gums and nose. Good sources of vitamin K are spinach, cabbage, broccoli, kiwi and avacados.

Water soluble vitamins

Water soluble vitamins are lost by the body in the form of urine. Therfore, it must be consumed in the body on a regular basis. These vitamins are synthesized by bacteria in the body.

Vitamins B- It is a list of multiple vitamins like B1(thiamine), B2(riboflavin), B3(niacin), B5(panthothenic acid), B6(pyrodoxine), B7(biotin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cyanocobalamin).Vitamin B participates actively in making red blood cells that carry oxygen to different parts of the body. Vitamin B aids in generating energy that the body utilizes to carry out its activities. Sources of vitamin B are cod liver oil, rice bran, liver, eggs, wheat and alfalfa. Deficiency in Vitamin B group can lead to beri-beri, pellagra, anemia, dermatitis, enteritis, paresthesia and ariboflavinos.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) – Vitamin C helps the body heal quickly from cuts and wounds. It helps in strengthening the gums and muscles. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lemons and guava. Deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy.

Vitamins are vital amines required by the body in minute quantities. Care must be taken when consuming them as excess of certain types of vitamins are toxic to the body. Special care must be taken about the dosage when consuming vitamin pills or tablets. Vitamin side effects tend to increase in severity with increasing dosage. Vitamin supplements may also contain levels of vitamins many times higher, and in different forms, than one may ingest through food. Excess of vitamin intake can lead to hypervitaminosis. Multi vitamin tablets and capsules can provide all the required vitamins for the body. Though vitamins acquired by natural means of food and sunlight are the best, they cannot be provided for the body in sufficient amounts. Hence, multi-vitamin tablets are the norms of the day. Especially, in today’s hectic and stressful environment.

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