Vitamins are necessary for various regular biological processes, including cell growth and reproduction, but their primary role is in processing energy in cells. They comprise fat- and water-soluble vitamins, each with a distinct role. Vitamins, protein, fat, and carbohydrate are essential to good health. They play a crucial role in maintaining healthy body functions. Vitamins are necessary for the body to build up its defenses and be ready to fight off illnesses whenever they arise. The B-complex vitamins account for eight of the total thirteen vitamins. We get them all the time from the food we eat, and they all have important functions. Here's a cheat sheet on the vitamins you should not forget about.
Vitamin A and Carotenoids
Retinol, or vitamin A, is a fat-soluble vitamin. Mullan (2017) stated that Vitamin A recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are 700 micrograms for women and 900 micrograms for males. Vitamin A can be found in foods that are both nutrient dense and diverse in color. Cantaloupe, mangoes, and apricots are excellent alternatives.
Advantages of Vitamin A
It helps to fight infection.
Preserves good eyesight
Protects the skin by neutralizing harmful substances (also called free radicals).
Beta-carotene is the essential carotenoid precursor of vitamin A. Preformed vitamin A is the second type and is present in foods like dairy, fish, and meat. One should consult with a doctor or a trained dietitian before starting a supplement regimen because everyone's vitamin requirements are unique. Vital to the proper functioning of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
The B vitamin family includes folate, which is essential for everyone—not just pregnant women. Women trying to conceive should ensure they get the recommended daily allowance of folic acid because it is essential for developing their unborn child's brain and spinal cord. Ebara (2017) noted that green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, dairy products, chicken, meat, eggs, shellfish, and grains are all good sources of folate. Spinach, asparagus, and brussels sprouts are some of the top food sources. Bread, cereals, pasta, and flours are just some of the packaged goods that the FDA must be fortified with folate. One should not worry if one is not a fan of veggies, fruits, grains, or meat because folate may be found in many other foods. Vitamin B pills and multivitamins also contain folic acid.
According to Blount et al. (2020), Vitamin E defends cells from free radicals, which can be produced when someone is exposed to harmful substances like secondhand smoke or radiation. The same goes for us: Eyes, Immune System, and Skin.
Vitamin E Dietary Sources
Getting enough vitamin E requires a balanced diet rich in fresh, minimally processed foods. Also, high temperatures can destroy vitamin E; deep frying is dangerous. Sources include meats (e.g., liver) and egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli. Nuts and seeds, including almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and hazelnuts. Unrefined cereals, whole grains, wheat germ, and healthy oils like extra virgin, sunflower, and soybean.
Deficiency in Vitamin E
Deficiency is uncommon but can occur in individuals with conditions that lead to fat malabsorption (like cystic fibrosis). Another deficiency is erythrocyte hemolysis, which occurs in newborns whose mothers do not provide them with vitamin E during pregnancy.
A lack of vitamin C probably will not stop that cold from happening, but it might help decrease the duration of the symptoms. It also plays a critical role in collagen synthesis. According to Colunga Biancatelli (2020), Collagen is the substance responsible for the skin's elasticity and youthful appearance. Collagen is also required for healthy bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels. Vitamin C, like vitamin E, is an excellent source of antioxidants. Humans require vitamin C because, unlike other animals, we cannot manufacture it independently. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are all fantastic providers of vitamin C. Bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, kiwifruit, and cantaloupe are additional foods rich in vitamin C. Consuming fruits and uncooked vegetables are the most efficient way to absorb their vitamin C content.
According to Mascolo & Vernì (2020), the brain cannot produce the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine without the support of vitamin B6. Do not forget to take it because it helps the brain grow. Vitamin B6 assists in the formation of myelin, the protective layer that covers nerves and aids in brain-to-body communication. Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with issues in the nervous system, the skin, and the blood. Some studies have found that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms can be reduced when women take a vitamin B6 supplement, although the jury is still out on this theory. Vitamin B6 may help alleviate some of the most prevalent symptoms, such as breast discomfort, sadness, and anxiety.
Vitamin B12 is typically present in animal sources and aids red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 can be stored for up to two years in the liver. Thus, daily supplementation may not be necessary. Vegetarians are one population that can benefit from taking vitamin B12 pills. Vitamin B12 is a protein cofactor in foods like fish, shellfish, meat, eggs, and dairy. Therefore, it can be difficult for devout vegetarians and vegans to obtain sufficient amounts of this vitamin.
Vitamin D can be obtained through the sun and cod liver oil, fatty fish, fortified drinks, milk, and cereals. When one does not have enough exposure to UV radiation, they can be a healthy substitute. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 15 micrograms for kids and adults (600 IU). Twenty micrograms for those aged 70 and older (800 IU). Vitamin D deficits are quite frequent. If the vitamin D level is low enough, the doctor may prescribe a prescription strength vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D Benefits:
Preserves the neurological system.
Vital to maintaining strong bones.
Maintains safe calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood.
Fat-soluble vitamins can only be absorbed and used by our bodies if we have enough. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A and E, as well as carotenoids. Because of the importance of fats in utilizing these vitamins, a diet rich in such fats is recommended. Some vitamins can also be potentially harmful if consumed in large quantities. Inappropriate levels of vitamin A, for instance, during pregnancy, have been linked to fetal malformations. That's why it's crucial to see your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen. It is crucial if you're expecting or have any health issues.
Colunga Biancatelli, R. M. L., Berrill, M., & Marik, P. E. (2020). The antiviral properties of vitamin C. Expert review of anti-infective therapy, 18(2), 99-101.
Ebara, S. (2017). Nutritional role of folate. Congenital anomalies, 57(5), 138-141.
Mascolo, E., & Vernì, F. (2020). Vitamin B6 and diabetes: relationship and molecular mechanisms. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(10), 3669.
Mullan, K., Williams, M. A., Cardwell, C. R., McGuinness, B., Passmore, P., Silvestri, G., ... & McKay, G. J. (2017). Serum concentrations of vitamin E and carotenoids are altered in Alzheimer's disease: A case-control study. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, 3(3), 432-439.