October 5, 2023

Puer Torico Limpio

Incredible Health

Vitamins – Nutritional Spark Plugs For Healthy Living

4 min read

Often when one speaks of health supplements the first (and sometimes only) thing that comes to many peoples minds are vitamins. Many people are not aware of the existence and importance of many nutritional supplement ingredients but just about everyone knows about good old vitamin C! So what are vitamins exactly and are they as important as they are made out to be?

Basically vitamins are organic nutrients found only in living organisms such as plants and animals. Their fundamental function is catalytic by nature. They are not an energy source, for instance, on their own but act as facilitators for many essential bodily functions such as the digestion and assimilation of nutrients by the body. Any deficiency or excess for that matter, of vitamins can lead to general ill health and eventually even to chronic disease. The following descriptions will attempt to outline the different groups of vitamins and their specific members where they are found and what functions they fulfill.

Vitamins are basically grouped according to their solubility characteristics i.e. fat or water soluble vitamins.

Fat Soluble Vitamins:

Vitamin A: This is the collective name for several fat soluble vitamins, the most useful of which is Retinol. Commonly found in supplement form as vitamin A palmitate or acetate, this vitamin group has a diverse spread of benefits including improved vision, boosting our immune systems, bone and general growth, healthy body linings, reproduction and healthy cell development. The precursors of the vitamin A group are carotenoids such as beta-carotene and are found in vegetables such as carrots and supplements such as spirulina.

Vitamin D: The vitamin D group are steroid molecules naturally produced by our bodies in response to exposure to UVB light from the sun. This vitamin is important in regulating our body’s absorption, use and excretion of calcium. D vitamin deficiencies are associated with osteoporosis and auto-immune diseases. Vitamin D can also be found in mild and fatty fish.

Vitamin E: This vitamin is one of the nutrient groups that have protective qualities. Its chief purpose is to maintain intracellular membrane integrity and to provide protection against tissue and membrane damage due to free radical oxidation. A rich source of vitamin E is wheat and seed germ.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism processes. This vitamin may help postmenopausal woman to build bone mass. Vitamin K can also help to reduce the risk of bleeding after long term antibiotic and aspirin or in cases of jaundice, malabsorbtion or liver diseases. Good sources for vitamin K are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage spinach and kale.

Water Soluble Vitamins:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Thiamine is essential for the process of burning carbohydrates as a source of energy. It is also a crucial component of amino acid metabolism and the correct functioning of essential enzymes in our bodies. Thiamine hydrochloride and thiamine nitrate are two common supplement sources of vitamin B1. Thiamine is found naturally in fortified breads, cereals, pasta, lean meats (especially pork), fish and soybeans.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin is essential for the generation of energy from proteins and fats. Vitamin B2 is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, acne, eczema and dermatitis. Riboflavin occurs naturally in organ meats (liver, kidneys), almonds, mushrooms and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin B3 (niacin): Vitamin B3 is also a critical part of the energy production process. It is also an important part of the production of hydrochloric acid essential for healthy digestion. Niacinamide is used to treat osteoarthritis, insomnia, migraines and insulin-dependent diabetes. Niacin is found in poultry, dairy products, fish, nuts and eggs.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 is part of the protein and carbohydrate metabolism process as well as the production of insulin and both red and white blood cells. Pyridoxine is also essential to the synthesis of enzymes, neurotransmitters and prostaglandins. in the processing of amino acids. In addition, vitamin B6 is required to produce serotonin and to maintain a strong immune system. Good sources are white meat, bananas, liver, whole grain breads and soybeans.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Vitamin B5 is a bit of an all rounder, playing a role in many of our bodies essential functions. It helps metabolize nutrients, assists in the production of vitamin D, aids in antibody production, assists in the synthesis of haemoglobin, steroid hormones and lipids. It also plays an important role in growth and reproduction processes. Vitamin B5 is found in cheese, eggs, corn, peanuts and wheat germ.

Vitamin B7 (biotin): The primary function of vitamin B7 is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates although it also plays a role in the synthesis of amino acids and glucose and in enzyme function. Good biotin sources are organ meats, egg yolks, oatmeal, bananas, soy products and mushrooms.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Folic acid is essential during any growth stage such as pregnancy, lactation and early growth phases due to its role in DNA, RNA and protein production. Citrus fruits, beets, wheat germ, and red meat are rich sources of folic acid.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Probably the best know of all the vitamins, ascorbic acid aids in the building and maintaining of tissue and in the strengthening of our immune systems. Vitamin C and its associated sodium, calcium and potassium salts are some of the most common antioxidant food additives. Good sources of vitamin C are dark green leafy vegetables, cabbage and many fruits.

Its pretty clear that not much goes on in our bodies without vitamins being involved at some stage of the process. Fortunately there are not only many natural sources of these nutritional spark plugs available, but also many supplements which make keeping our vitamin intake balanced and adequate an easy task. One should take care when supplementing specific vitamins as overdoing it can have serious side effects. As with all supplemental regimens, it is essential to discuss vitamin supplements with a medical professional.

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