Vitamins, keeping us in good health
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are some sort of organic chemical and nutrient that are present in all living things, be it humans, animals, or plants. Vitamins are very important and are needed to sustain our life. Humans get vitamins through the food they eat as our body usually does not in amounts that are enough to sustain our life. It should be noted that humans' vitamins needs are vastly different than that of animals or plants as we have different biology. There are 13 different vitamins that are currently recognized.
Where do we get our vitamins?
We (humans) get our vitamins from food sources mainly, although Vitamin D is produced in our skin by exposure to the sunlight - or ultraviolet B light from the sun, to be precise. The vitamins that we absorb from food usually come from healthy alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. Therefore it is very vital that we should have a balanced diet that involves proper portion of every type of food to get the optimal amount of vitamins.
Besides food however, we can take vitamin pills nad supplements in the event we cannot receive enough vitamins through oaur daily food intake.
The different types of Vitamins
- Vitamin A: Fat soluble. Deficiency can cause night-blindness and keratomalacia (an eye disorder). Sources include: liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, egg, milk.
- Vitamin B: Water soluble . Deficiency causes beriberi, Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome. Sources include: yeast, pork, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, ptoatoes, eggs.
- Vitamin B2: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause ariboflavinosis . Sources include: asparagus, bananas, persimmons, okra, milk, yoghurt, meat, eggs, fish, green beans.
- Vitamin B3: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause pellagra. Sources include: liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, tuna and salmon fish, milk, eggs, avocados, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin B5: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause paresthesia. Sources include: meats, whole grains, broccoli, avocados.
- Vitamin B6: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause anemia, peripheral neuropathy. Sources include: meats, bannas, whole grains, vegetables, nuts.
- Vitamin B7: Water soluble. Deficiency causes dermatitis and enteritis. Sources include: egg yolk, liver, some vegetables
- Vitamin B9: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause pregnancy deficiency linked to birth defects. Sources include: leafy vegetables, legumes, sunflower seeds, liver - and beer contains some moderate amounts!
- Vitamin B12: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia. Sources include: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy.
- Vitamin C: Water soluble. Deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia. Sources include: fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin D: Fat soluble. Deficiency may cause rickets and ostelomalacia. Produced in skin with exposure to sunlight or artificial light sources.
- Vitamin E: Fat soluble. Very uncommon deficiency in humans. Sources include: kiwi fruit, almonds, avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, leafy green vegetables, wholegrains.
- Vitamin K: Fat soluble. Deficiency can cause bleeding diathesis. Sources include: leafy green vegetables, avocado, kiwi fruit, and parsley.
There is no way at all that at any point in time whilst we are eating food that we are not absorbing any vitamins at all. However, that does not mean that we should not have properly balanced diets to eat right or to consider supplements.