What are vitamins and why are they important
“It’s winter, eat more vitamin C. Does this sound familiar to you? My Mom used to tell me this.
But after a few years of eating healthy, I figured we must consume vitamins every day, not only during the cold season. We’re exposed to environmental harm all year round.
So, if we intend to rely on vitamins, we must understand what they are, why are they important, and how to use them. With this in mind, I gathered all the essential information you need to know about vitamins in the following paragraphs.
Here’s what you’ll learn at the end of this series:
- What are vitamins
- What water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamin means
- How many vitamins exist out there
- Why do you need them
- What do they do
- What happens to your body when you have a deficiency or take too much. Yes, there is such a thing as too many vitamins.
- And finally, you’ll discover the top ten food sources for each vitamin.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic substances vital to your health. They’re tiny and invisible but mean everything to your body. Picture them as eleven microscopic superheroes who build a gigantic dome around you and protect you from external foes.
So, where do you find these protectors?
There is a vast range of vitamin supplements on the supermarket shelves. However, the most reliable source is natural food and drinks. This includes everything from fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables to fish, meat, dairy, and even wine.
What are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins?
There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble ones refer to B and C vitamins. They cannot be stored in the body and are excreted through urine. To avoid deficiency, you must consume them regularly.
The fat-soluble type refers to A, D, E, and K vitamins. They need fat to be absorbed, and our body can stock them for a longer period. You don’t need to ingest them daily, however, deficiency may require a daily supplement.
Vitamin overdose is a thing.
As controversial as this sounds, ingesting vitamins in excess can cause an overdose. Some of them are even dangerous. For example, excessive use of vitamin A may damage your liver and bones, or cause headache and double-vision.
Each vitamin has a unique role to play. Part 1
There are eleven types of vitamins out there. In the following paragraphs, I will cover each one of them separately, starting with the fat-soluble and finishing with the water-soluble ones.
Vitamin A is the new orange.
Known as retinol, vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, eyes, skin, and growth in general. We mostly find retinol in foods from animal sources like liver, milk, butter, eggs, cheese, and oily fish.
As I mentioned before, some vitamins are toxic. One of them is vitamin A from animal sources. What happens if you overdose on vitamin A? If taken in excess, it could damage the liver because our body stores it in there. Other side effects could be headaches and double vision.
On the flip side, a deficit of vitamin A can reduce your body’s resistance to infection, lead to poor night vision, or even gradual loss of it.
There is also vitamin A, which comes from vegetable sources.
Our body can also manufacture retinol (vitamin A) by converting carotenoids found in orange-fleshed and dark green vegetables into a ‘healthier retinol.’
Unlike the retinol from animal sources, the carotene converted into retinol is not toxic. A high-intake can cause visible side effects, making your skin slightly orange. But it doesn’t cause any life-threatening damage.
Sunbathing with Vitamin D
Vitamin D requires bathing in the sun and going on vacations. It’s the only vitamin our body can manufacture without the help of food, but when sunlight touches our skin.
Of course, some ailments contain a considerable amount of vitamin D, but the sun is so much fun.
This one is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It equally contributes to form and develop strong bones and carry out other mineralization processes. Additionally, it lowers the risk of colds, flu, and pneumonia. And, according to the Arthritis Foundation, it may prevent osteoarthritis or at least slow its progression.