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Vitamins are Vital Intake for Normal Cell Function, Growth & Development.

There are 13 essential vitamins. This means that these vitamins are required for the body to work properly. They are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Biotin(B7)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12(cyanocobalamin)
  • Folate (folic acid and B9)

Vitamins are grouped into two categories:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are absorbed more easily by the body in the presence of dietary fat.
  • There are nine water-soluble vitamins. The body must use water-soluble vitamins right away. Any leftover water-soluble vitamins leave the body through the urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.

 Functions:

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 (osteoporosis).

 

  • Vitamin A helps form and maintains healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.
  • Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintains brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. The more protein you eat the more pyridoxine your body requires.
  • Vitamin B12 , like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintains the central nervous system.
  • Vitamin C , 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.
  • Vitamin D 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 three 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 calcium and phosphorus.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It helps the body form red blood cells and use vitamin K.
  • 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.
  • Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • Niacin is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It is also has cholesterol-lowering effects.
  • Folate 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 spina bifida. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid.
  • Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells.
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change carbohydrates into energy. Getting plenty of carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.

Food Sources

FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

 Vitamin A:

  • Dark-colored fruit
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Egg yolk
  • Fortified milk and dairy products (cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream)
  • Liver, beef, and fish

 Vitamin D:

  • Fish (fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and orange roughly)
  • Fish liver oils (cod’s liver oil)
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified milk and dairy products (cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream)

 Vitamin E:

  • Avocado
  • Dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and turnip greens)
  • Margarine (made from safflower, corn, and sunflower oil)
  • Oils (safflower, corn, and sunflower)
  • Papaya and mango
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Wheat germ and wheat germ oil

 Vitamin K:

  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cereals
  • Dark green vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus)
  • Dark leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards, and turnip greens)
  • Fish, liver, beef, and eggs

 WATER-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

 Biotin:

  • Chocolate
  • Cereal
  • Egg yolk
  • Legumes
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Organ meats (liver, kidney)
  • Pork
  • Yeast

Folate:

  • Asparagus and broccoli
  • Beets
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Dried beans (cooked pinto, navy, kidney, and lima)
  • Fortified cereals
  • Green, leafy vegetables (spinach and romaine lettuce)
  • Lentils
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Peanut butter
  • Wheat germ

Niacin (vitamin B3):

  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Enriched breads and fortified cereals
  • Fish (tuna and salt-water fish)
  • Lean meats
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Potato
  • Poultry

Pantothenic acid:

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli, kale, and other vegetables in the cabbage family
  • Eggs
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Milk
  • Mushroom
  • Organ meats
  • Poultry
  • White and sweet potatoes
  • Whole-grain cereals

Thiamine (vitamin B1):

  • Dried milk
  • Egg
  • Enriched bread and flour
  • Lean meats
  • Legumes (dried beans)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Organ meats
  • Peas
  • Whole grains

 Pyroxidine (vitamin B6):

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Legumes (dried beans)
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Whole grains (milling and processing removes a lot of this vitamin)

Vitamin B12:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fortified foods such as soymilk
  • Milk and milk products
  • Organ meats (liver and kidney)
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish

NOTE: Animal sources of vitamin B12 are absorbed much better by the body than plant sources

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Citrus fruits
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomato juice
  • Tomatoes

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Profile photo of Ranjana Mishra
Ranjana Mishra
Ranjana is a MSc. in Life Sciences (Bio-Chemistry) and is presently pursuing Phd. in Bio-Molecules. She is in the Products Research & Development Department in Herbalage and had got immense knowledge on Health & Diseases which she is sharing with us via her articles.
http://herbalage.in

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