Vitamins are essential nutrients that the body needs in order to maintain good health. While their functions and required amounts may differ, all these vitamins help the body function properly. It’s important to have a good balance of vitamins, as they boost your immune system and improve your ability to fight off diseases. Like minerals, vitamins are also required by the body to support normal growth and development. Read on to have a better understanding of the different types of vitamins.
Different Types of Vitamins
• Vitamin A
Promotes healthy vision and helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. It’s also helpful in treating skin disorders, acne, and infections. As a carotenoid, Vitamin A is good for the hair too. Good sources of Vitamin A include milk, carrots, and cheese.
• Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Helps prevent heart disease, indigestion, and beriberi while boosting metabolism, blood circulation, and brain function. This vitamin is essential for older people who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Good sources of Vitamin B1 include beef, eggs, and nuts.
• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Helps treat anemia, cataracts, and skin disorders. It also improves the body’s immunity, metabolic activity, and nervous system. Good sources of Vitamin B2 are almonds, milk, and mushrooms.
• Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Helpful for migraines, heart disorders, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes. Good sources of Vitamin B3 include turkey, chicken, and peanuts.
• Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Relieves stress and helps treat arthritis, infections, high cholesterol levels, and graying of the hair. Good sources of Vitamin B5 are salmon, broccoli, and corn.
• Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxamine)
Useful in treating insomnia, stress, diabetes, morning sickness, convulsions, and excessive menstrual bleeding. Good sources of Vitamin B6 are fish, cereals, and potatoes.
• Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Improves the body’s metabolism, boosts hair health, and helpful in treating skin disorders. Good sources of Biotin are soybeans and whole grains.
• Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Responsible for making new red blood cells. It helps prevent anemia, indigestion, gout, and coronary heart disease. Good sources of Vitamin B9 include legumes, broccoli, and okra.
• Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Reduces symptoms of liver disorders, anemia, kidney disorders, and mouth ulcers. Together with Vitamins B6 and B9, it is essential in protecting you against heart conditions and strokes. Good sources of Vitamin B12 include eggs, milk, and fish.
• Vitamin C
Promotes a healthy immune system and is essential in preventing infections and scurvy. It is beneficial in fighting stress, the common cold, and also helps the body absorb iron, which plays an important role in carrying oxygen through blood cells. Just as importantly, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from free radical damage. Good sources of Vitamin C are oranges, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, and winter squash.
• Vitamin D
Promotes calcium absorption in the body which is very important for bone health and development. It also helps prevent inflammation, rickets, and osteoporosis. Good sources of vitamin D are milk, cheese, and fish. The body also converts sunlight into Vitamin D.
• Vitamin E
Acts as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage. Also, it is good for the skin because of its anti-aging properties and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. It also boosts the immune system and helps prevent heart diseases. Good sources of Vitamin E include avocados, whole grains, and nuts.
• Vitamin K
A vitamin essential for the process of blood clotting. It is also important for nerve signaling and bone health. Vitamin K also helps prevent atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries) and kidney stones. Good sources of Vitamin K are spinach, turnip greens, and cabbage.
Categories of Vitamins
• Fat-soluble Vitamins
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, which means they are soluble in lipids (fats). They are absorbed in your fat, travel in the small intestines, and into the blood circulation. These vitamins (especially Vitamin A and E) are stored in body tissues. The body keeps stocks of the excess to be used later when needed. These type of vitamins stay longer in the body. Excessive amounts of fat-soluble vitamins in the body can be harmful, a condition known as hypervitaminosis.
• Water-soluble Vitamins
Vitamins B and C are examples of water-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and quickly dissolve in the body. If you consume too much, they will be excreted through the urine. These vitamins are carried to the body tissues. However, the body can’t store them. Water-soluble vitamins are excreted quickly, so they need to be replenished more frequently. Also, take note that a significant amount of water-soluble vitamins can be lost through cooking or boiling (25 to 65% of vitamins lost, depending on the temperature, cooking time, and method of cooking). Because of this, we should consume these vitamins on a regular basis.
Vitamins are found naturally in the foods that we eat, especially fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, and milk. That’s why it’s important to have a well-balanced diet to get all of these essential nutrients. We strongly recommend veganism, however, and it can be difficult to get all of the vitamins you need eating a vegan diet without supplementation.
In addition, you also may not be getting enough vitamins due to stress, injury, disease, or poor eating habits. In such cases, you might consider taking supplements. To ensure that you’re taking just the right amount, check the % Daily Value (DV) for each vitamin. To buy vitamins and dietary supplements, click here. If you have any questions about taking dietary supplements, consult your doctor.