What Are Vitamins?


What are vitamins? This is an important question that is hard to define. The general term of vitamins is often misunderstood as are their necessity.

Vitamins are organic compounds that are often found in nature or made within an organism. Some are essential which refers to their importance within the body.

Vitamins are required for the normal growth and development of a multicellular organism.

Often, the organism requires vitamins for certain functions, enzyme productions, and other processes.

An organic chemical compound can also be called a vitamin when the organism cannot produce or synthesize the compound on its own. At least not in adequate quantities that is required. As a result, the compound must be obtained through another source, typically the diet.

A vitamin in a human, would often be different than a vitamin in another organism. The classic example is Vitamin C – which is only a vitamin for humans.

By definition, the term Vitamin does not include the following: Essential nutrients, Dietary minerals, Essential Fatty Acids, and Amino Acids.

Thirteen vitamins are universally recognized at present:

–  Vitamin A
–  Vitamin B1
–  Vitamin B2
–  Vitamin B3
–  Vitamin B5
–  Vitamin B6
–  Vitamin B7
–  Vitamin B9  or look under Folic Acid
–  Vitamin B12
–  Vitamin C
–  Vitamin D
–  Vitamin E
–  Vitamin K

Vitamins fall into two categories: 1.) Fat Soluble and Water Soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins: 

–  The following vitamins are fat-soluble:  A, D, E, and K
–  These vitamins can dissolve in fat and can be stored in your body.

Water-soluble vitamins:

–  These types of vitamins need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them.
–  C and the B-complex vitamins (such as vitamins B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin, and folate)
–  Each vitamin is chemically different from another. However, many have similar functions within the human body.

Functions of Vitamins

1.)  Such functions include: metabolism, health maintenance, cell protection, cell communication, vitality, growth, and much more.

2.)  The body has difficulty storing vitamins and therefore daily consumption or production of vitamins is essential.

3.)  The body will eliminate excess vitamins daily.

Deficiencies of vitamins can be devastating.

Often in countries that have poor nutrition, inadequate food processes, and even war torn or recent natural disasters, can have a serious lack of nutrition.

Lack of Vitamins can be potentially dangerous.

Scurvy and Pernicious Anemia are just a few examples.

Most vitamins are gained through our diet. 

Vegetables, fruits, meat and fish are often great sources for vitamins.

Supplements can help replenish our source of vitamins but often shouldn’t be more important than our dietary source.

A good oral vitamin can not, however, be overstated for those such as children, elderly, sick, or otherwise in need.

Often our diet includes foods that does not benefit us with vitamins or minerals.  When eaten in moderation, usually there is no health concerns. Vitamins are essential and more often than not we are not getting enough in our daily diet.

Important Articles on Vitamins:

1.)  What is Vitamin D and How Can It Help You?

2.)  Where is the Vitmain D?

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