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Vitamins

What are vitamins?

Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are required for the proper functioning of the human body. They are organic compounds that are found in a variety of foods and are necessary in small amounts for maintaining good health. There are many different types of vitamins, each of which plays a specific role in the body. Some vitamins are involved in the production of energy and the maintenance of healthy tissues, while others are involved in the synthesis of hormones and the formation of red blood cells. In general, vitamins are essential for the proper growth, development, and functioning of the body's cells, tissues, and organs.

They are essential because the body cannot produce them on its own and must obtain them from the diet. Vitamins are classified into two main categories: fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissues and liver, and can be used as needed by the body. Examples of fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are not stored in the body and must be consumed on a regular basis to avoid deficiency. Examples of water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins.

Why we need vitamins

We need vitamins because they play a vital role in maintaining good health and preventing a variety of diseases and health conditions. Each vitamin has a specific function in the body, and a deficiency of any one vitamin can lead to a range of health problems. For example, a deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, while a deficiency of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis. In general, vitamins are essential for the proper growth and development of the body's cells, tissues, and organs. They are also involved in many of the body's metabolic reactions, and are necessary for the production of energy, the synthesis of hormones, and the formation of red blood cells. Without sufficient vitamins, the body's systems cannot function properly and a person's health can be affected.

Where are vitamins found?

Vitamins are found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat. Different foods contain different vitamins, so it is important to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of different foods in order to get all of the vitamins that the body needs. Some foods are also fortified with additional vitamins, such as certain breakfast cereals that are enriched with vitamins and minerals. In addition, vitamins can also be taken in the form of supplements, which are available over the counter at most pharmacies and health food stores. However, it is generally recommended to get vitamins from the diet rather than from supplements, as the body is better able to absorb and use the vitamins from food.

Daily requirements

The daily requirements for vitamins vary depending on a person's age, sex, and level of physical activity. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamins are the levels of intake that are sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of most healthy individuals. The RDAs for vitamins are set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, and they are updated periodically as new information becomes available. The RDAs for vitamins are generally expressed as a daily intake of the vitamin in micrograms (mcg) or milligrams (mg). For example, the RDA for vitamin C for adult men is 90 mg per day, while the RDA for vitamin D for adult women is 15 mcg per day. It is important to note that the RDAs are not intended to be used as targets for individual intake, but rather as a guide to help ensure that the population as a whole has enough of each vitamin.

Vitamins deficiency

Vitamin deficiency occurs when a person does not get enough of a certain vitamin from their diet. This can lead to a range of health problems, depending on which vitamin is lacking. Some of the most common symptoms of vitamin deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, irritability, and an increased risk of infections. In severe cases, vitamin deficiency can lead to serious health conditions such as scurvy, osteoporosis, and anemia.

Can you get too much vitamins?

It is possible to get too much of certain vitamins. This is called vitamin toxicity or hypervitaminosis. Consuming too much of certain vitamins can lead to a range of health problems, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and liver damage. In severe cases, vitamin toxicity can be life-threatening. It is important to avoid taking high-dose vitamin supplements unless they are recommended by a healthcare provider. It is also important to follow the recommended daily intake for each vitamin to avoid getting too much of any one vitamin.

Should I get vitamins supplements?

There are several reasons why someone might consider buying vitamin supplements. One reason is to help increase the body's vitamin intake, which can be beneficial for people who are at risk of deficiency or who may not be getting enough vitamins from their diet. For example, older adults, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions may be at risk of deficiency and may benefit from taking vitamin supplements. Another reason is to help support the immune system, as some vitamins are involved in the production of antibodies and other immune cells. Vitamin supplements can also be used to help support healthy eyes, skin, and nerves, as some vitamins are involved in the maintenance of healthy tissues and the regulation of nerve impulses. Additionally, vitamin supplements can be helpful for people who are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as plant-based foods may not provide all of the essential vitamins. Overall, vitamin supplements can be a useful addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Fun facts

The word "vitamin" was first coined in 1912 by the Polish biochemist Casimir Funk. He believed that these essential nutrients were amines, or organic compounds containing nitrogen, and he called them "vitamines" (from "vital amines"). The "e" was later dropped from the name because it was found that not all vitamins contain nitrogen.

The first vitamin to be discovered was vitamin A, which was isolated from butterfat in 1913.

Vitamin C was first isolated from lemons in 1928, and it was later found to be the dietary factor that prevents scurvy.

Vitamin D was originally called "the sunshine vitamin" because it is produced in the skin in response to sunlight.

The B-complex vitamins were once known as "the energy vitamins" because they are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which are the body's main sources of energy.

Thiamin (B1)

Thiamin is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be regularly taken through food. It contributes to the processes that allow the body to release the energy needed. Deficiency of this vitamin causes damage to the nervous and cardiovascular systems. It is considered a fundamental vitamin in the growth of children for its ability to improve attention and learning.

Riboflavin (B2)

Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be regularly taken through food. It plays an essential role in energy processes, so I help the body release energy. This vitamin is sensitive to sunlight.

Niacin (B3)

Vitamin B3, niacin, (also called vitamin PP) is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be regularly consumed through food. It plays an essential role in the functioning of cellular respiration, blood circulation and the nervous system. It also protects the skin and promotes food digestion.

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

Vitamin B3, pantothenic acid, (also called vitamin W) is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be regularly consumed through food. It plays an essential role in the protection of skin and hair, prevents skin aging and the formation of wrinkles. This vitamin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and for the synthesis of hormones and colosterol. It also helps prevent fatigue and promotes scarring. This vitamin is sensitive to heat and therefore tends to deteriorate with increasing temperature.

Pyridoxine (B6)

Vitamin B6, also called niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be regularly consumed through food. It is sensitive to heat and therefore tends to degrade with increasing temperature. This vitamin plays a fundamental role in the metabolism of sugars, fatty acids and amino acids, and in the formation of white and red blood cells and hormones. It also helps the immune system, prevents aging and stimulates brain function.

Folate (B9)

Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be taken regularly through your diet. Vitamin B9 is used for the synthesis of proteins and DNA and for the formation of hemoglobin. It is also essential for pregnant women because it protects and promotes the development of the embryo.

Cobalamine (B12)

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin so it must be taken regularly through food. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells and for the formation of the bone marrow. It is also involved in the metabolism of amino acids, nucleic acids and fatty acids. This vitamin is present in all foods of animal origin and there are no plants or vegetables that contain a sufficient quantity for human needs. For this reason, those who follow a vegetarian diet should supplement this vitamin with a food supplement.

Ascorbic Acid (C)

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Helps keep cells healthy by protecting them from the effects of free radicals. Vitamin C has several very important functions: it maintains the normal function of blood vessels, keeps teeth and gums healthy, facilitates the absorption of plant-based iron, participates in the formation, growth and repair of bone and connective tissue, helps keep skin healthy, helps wound healing. Since vitamin C is not produced by the body and cannot be stored, the daily dose must be taken through a healthy and balanced diet.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, or retinol, is a fat-soluble vitamin: it can be accumulated in the body and therefore it is not necessary to take it regularly. Vitamin A is important for vision, for the development of bones and teeth, and for the immune system.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K, or naphthoquinone, is a fat-soluble vitamin: it can be accumulated in the body and therefore it is not necessary to take it regularly. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and for the function of bone-forming proteins.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E, or tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin: it can be accumulated in the body and therefore it is not necessary to take it regularly. This vitamin is sensitive to light and heat so it can degrade at high temperatures. Vitamin E is widespread, has antioxidant properties, promotes cell renewal and is able to reduce cardiovascular risks thanks to its ability to decrease platelet aggregation.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is stored in the liver and therefore it is not necessary to take it regularly, through food, since the body releases it in small doses when needed. Vitamin D can be taken with food (ergocalciferol) or synthesized by our body (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D is mostly synthesized by our body through the skin with the absorption of the sun's rays. This vitamin is a regulator of calcium metabolism and therefore is useful in calcifying bones. Vitamin D also contributes to maintaining normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

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Food
Fruit Vegetables Meat Dairy Eggs Bread Superfood Legumes Cereals Nuts and Seeds Seafood Other Spices and Herbs
Macronutrients Carbohydrate Fat Protein Water Fiber
Vitamins Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Pantothenic Acid (B5) Pyridoxine (B6) Folate (B9) Cobalamine (B12) Ascorbic Acid (C) Vitamin A Vitamin K Vitamin E Vitamin D
Minerals Calcium (Ca) Iron (Fe) Magnesium (Mg) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Sodium (Na) Zinc (Zn) Copper (Cu) Manganese (Mn) Iodine (I) Selenium (Se) Fluoride (F)
Amino acids Arginine Histidine Lysine Aspartic Acid Glutamic Acid Serine Threonine Asparagine Glutamine Cysteine Selenocysteine Glycine Proline Alanine Isoleucine Leucine Methionine Phenylalanine Tryptophan Tyrosine Valine