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Vitamins and Their Role in Good Health

Vitamins are a group of organic substances that can be found in a wide variety of natural food. Because of the crucial role these substances play in normal metabolism, a lack of them can cause a whole range of medical conditions.

As organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, an essential nutrient that the body does not produce enough of, thus the need to obtain them from food. Unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, however, vitamins don’t supply energy, but they help the body work and grow at best capacity.

There are thirteen essential vitamins that provide a whole range of health benefits, including better eyesight, a stronger immune system, stronger bones, faster wound healing process, and several others. Inadequate vitamin intake can make you more likely to develop illness, from mild to life-threatening.

Types of Vitamins

Depending on how the body stores or uses them, vitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. There are four fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K – all stored in fat tissue for up to as long as half a year.

On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins, namely vitamin C and the vitamin B series (B6, B12, pantothenic acid, folate, biotin, thiamine and niacin) are all distributed all over the body through blood circulation. Considering that your body does not retain water-soluble vitamins, you have to make sure that your stores are constantly replenished.

Essential Role

All thirteen vitamins have their own specific functions, but they can also work together to benefit your health. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and immune function, as well as better skin, teeth and bones.

Vitamin C also strengthens immunity, encourages good tissue development and helps the body in absorbing iron. Vitamin D, together with calcium (another mineral), also has a role in bone health and immunity. Vitamin E aids in your body’s use of vitamin K, which affects bone health and blood-clotting mechanisms, and contributes to optimal production of red blood cells.

The B vitamins, for their part, play a role in optimal metabolism, brain function, hormone production, cardiac activity, central nervous system functions, and cellular maintenance.

Effects of Vitamin Deficiencies

Inadequate intake of vitamins leads to health risks associated with osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. A deficiency in vitamin B in particular can lead to irreversible nerve damage and anemia.

Without enough vitamin C in your diet, you will have limited stores of collagen, which makes up your body’s primary tissue. When vitamin C deficiency is severe, a person can have scurvy, with symptoms including gum disease, anemia, muscle and joint fatigue and skin hemorrhage.

Lastly, vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets, which manifests as bone pain and deformation, and overall poor growth in children, and as poor bone health, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases in adults.

There is so much information you can read these days about the importance of vitamins. The above can put you on the right track.

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