Vitamins and Their Functions
May 13, 2022
Health

Humans undoubtedly are one of the most complex organisms living on the planet. We are made up of numerous microscopic cells that work in an organized manner for the benefit of our well-being. Various systems such as the nervous system, respiratory system, and digestive system perform various complex functions in the body.

    

Vitamins are organic molecules that are essential nutrients for the normal metabolism of most organisms. Vitamins are compounds that people need in small amounts.

    

The body itself does not produce vitamins. Vitamins must be obtained from the food we eat. Vitamins are essential because they prevent various health problems. Deficiencies and related diseases occur when the body is deficient in any one of these vitamins.

    

Different organisms have different needs for vitamins. For example, dogs can produce the required vitamin C, but humans must get it from their diet. 


What do vitamins do?     

Vitamins maintain healthy bones, teeth, and nails. Helps muscles and ligaments to function smoothly.

    

To understand the function of vitamins, we first need to understand their types and specific roles in our bodies.


 What are the types of vitamins? What function do they perform?

    

Vitamins are grouped according to their properties. They are soluble in fat or water. 


Fat-soluble vitamins

Some vitamins are fat-soluble like Vitamins A, K, E, and D. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and other fatty tissue. The body absorbs fat-soluble vitamins in the gut.

    

Water-soluble vitamins

These types of vitamins are water-soluble. They do not stay in the body for as long as fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins such as vitamin C and B are water-soluble vitamins.

    

Vitamin A

The chemical name includes retinol, retina, and other carotenoids.

    

Vitamin A is part of the fat-soluble vitamins. We are taught from childhood that vitamin A is good for eye health. If this vitamin is not enough, the body may develop some eye diseases and infections. Some of the best sources of vitamin A are leafy green vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, eggs, and milk.

    

Vitamin B1

The chemical name for vitamin B1 is thiamine. Vitamin B1 is part of the water-soluble vitamins. The main function of vitamin B1 is to produce various enzymes that break down sugar.

    

Vitamin B1 is found in abundance in brown rice, pork, cauliflower, oranges, and eggs. 


Vitamin B2

The chemical name for vitamin B2 is riboflavin. Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B2 is essential for proper cell growth in the body. It is also essential for food metabolism.

    

If our body lacks vitamin B2, symptoms often appear in the mouth and on the lips.

    

Some foods rich in vitamin B2 are eggs, bananas, milk, cheese, fish, and beans. 


Vitamin B3

The chemical name for vitamin B3 is niacin. Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin. The main function of vitamin B3 is to stimulate cell growth. Cells require niacin to function properly.

    

If the body lacks vitamin B3, intestinal problems, skin changes, and diarrhea can occur. Good sources of vitamin B3 include chicken, tuna, tofu, broccoli, nuts, tomatoes, milk, carrots, and eggs.

    


Vitamin B5

The chemical name for vitamin B5 is pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. This vitamin is essential for hormone production. The intake of vitamin B5 is essential.

    

It is found in meat, cereals, avocados, and yogurt. 


Vitamin B6

The chemical name for vitamin B6 is pyridoxine. This molecule is essential for the formation of red blood cells in the body.

    

Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to conditions such as peripheral neuropathy or anemia. Chickpeas, bananas, and nuts contain vitamin B6. 


Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7 is commonly referred to as biotin. Biotin helps the body metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It also promotes healthy hair.

    

Vitamin B7 deficiency can cause bloating and cause dermatitis. Vitamin B7 is found in egg yolks, liver, cheese, and spinach. 


Vitamin B9

The chemical name for vitamin B9 is folic acid. Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin. It plays a vital role in the production of DNA and RNA.

    

Pregnant women need to be careful not to be deficient in vitamin B9, as it can affect the fetal nervous system. Vitamin B9 is found in leafy vegetables, peas, sunflower seeds, and fruits.

    


Vitamin B12

Methylcobalamin is the chemical name for vitamin B12. Like other B vitamins, this one is water-soluble.

    

Vitamin B12 helps maintain a healthy nervous system. Low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to various neurological problems. Fish, eggs, milk, and meat are rich in vitamin B12. Vitamin C plays an important role in improving a person's overall health.

    


Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid is the chemical name. It helps in the production of collagen. Help the body heal wounds. Vitamin C supports blood vessels. Strengthen the immune system.

    

Without vitamin C, the body may take longer to heal wounds and poor tissue growth.

    

Vitamin C is found in abundance in fruits, especially citrus fruits and vegetables. 


Vitamin D

Ergocalciferol is popularly called vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin D plays a vital role in promoting bone mineralization. Vitamin D can be obtained naturally from UVB rays of the sun. Fatty fish, eggs, and mushrooms are also consumed for vitamin D.

    


Vitamin E

The chemical name for vitamin E is tocopherol. This is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E helps prevent oxidative stress and prevent inflammation.

    

There is usually no vitamin E deficiency. If a person is deficient in vitamin E, their blood cells tend to be destroyed. Kiwis are known for their vitamin E content. Adding almonds, eggs, and green leafy vegetables can increase your body's vitamin E levels.

    


Vitamin K

Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, has the chemical name phylloquinone. This vitamin is essential for blood clotting.

    

Low levels of vitamin E can cause excessive bleeding. Hemorrhagic diathesis may also occur.

    

Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, and figs. Some of the other sources of vitamins are vitamin supplements. If necessary, the doctor recommends multivitamin supplements. 


Bottom Line

Vitamins are essential for good health and disease prevention.

    

This does not mean that consuming more vitamins will significantly improve health. Consuming too many vitamins can lead to overdose and adversely affect our health. It is always advisable to see a doctor to check our body and take supplements according to their recommendations.

    

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet is essential to a person's overall well-being.