Vitamins are compounds that are essential for staying healthy, and that cannot be made in the body so must come from food or other sources (some vitamin D is made in skin exposed to sunlight, and some of the friendly bacteria in the gut can make vitamin K). Different vitamins have different roles in the body, but all the vitamins are vital for healthy growth and development before birth and throughout life. Though people have known since the time of the Egyptians that certain foods cure certain diseases, the first vitamin, vitamin A, was discovered in the early 20th century. Vitamin A was discovered in 1913. Vitamin A is important for eyesight and for skin health, and is also used in bones, the immune system and is an antioxidant. The B vitamins were discovered between 1910 and 1941. This is a group of eight vitamins, which are important in metabolism (the bodyвs use of energy). They also help with keeping skin and muscles healthy, as well as supporting nerves, the immune system (which protects against infection), and production of red blood cells. Vitamin C was discovered in 1920. Vitamin C is important for healthy skin and mucous membranes (the membranes lining the mouth, nose etc) and in wound healing. It is also an antioxidant, which protects cells from damage. Vitamin D was discovered in 1920. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones, and protects against osteoporosis.
Vitamin D also helps keep the immune system healthy. Vitamin E was discovered in 1922. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant, preventing tissue damage. Vitamin K was discovered in 1929. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, as well as keeping bones healthy. A balanced and healthy diet, including a range of different fruit and vegetables, lean meat, oily fish and dairy products, will provide all the vitamins required, without needing extra supplements. People eating a restricted diet, whether for health, religious or ethical reasons, may need extra vitamins as supplements, as well as people who do not get access to enough daylight to make their own vitamin D. When choosing supplements, avoid those that include megadoses в doses of vitamins above the recommended daily amount в as these can be harmful or lead to side effects such as sickness and diarrhoea. The lack of vitamins in the diet can lead to deficiency diseases. These are most common in countries that suffer from famine and malnutrition, but can happen in the developed world in people who eat restricted diets or who do not get enough sunlight on their skin
How Often Do We Need Vitamins? Some vitamins are fat-soluble (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K) and can be stored in the body, in the liver and body fat, for up to six months. These do not need to be eaten every day but should still be eaten regularly. Other vitamins are water-soluble (the B vitamins and vitamin C) and are not stored in the body, so need to be eaten every day.
Each of the vitamins listed below has an important job in the body. A vitamin deficiency occurs when you do not get enough of a certain vitamin. Vitamin deficiency can cause health problems. Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains and fortified dairy foods may increase your risk for health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and poor bone health ( ). helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. The more you eat the more pyridoxine your body requires. , like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the. , also called ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It also promotes wound healing. is also known as the \”sunshine vitamin,\” since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine 3 times a week is enough to produce the body\’s requirement of vitamin D for most people at most latitudes. People who do not live in sunny places may not make enough vitamin D. It is very hard to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. You need calcium for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of and. is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It helps the body form red blood cells and use vitamin K. is not listed among the essential vitamins, but without it blood would not stick together (coagulate). Some studies suggest that it is important for bone health. is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol. is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also has cholesterol-lowering effects at higher doses. works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Any woman who is pregnant should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid. is essential for the metabolism of food. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol. (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells. (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change into energy. Getting enough carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.