A vitamin is one of a group of organic substances that is present in minute amounts in natural foodstuffs. Vitamins are essential to normal metabolism. If we do not take enough of any kind of vitamin, certain medical conditions can result. Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small quantities to sustain life. Most vitamins need to come from food.This is because the human body either does not produce enough of them, or it does not produce any at all.
Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble.
- Fat-soluble vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. These are easier to store than water-soluble vitamins, and they can stay in the body as reserves for days, and sometimes months.Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats, or lipids.
- Water-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins do not stay in the body for long. The body cannot store them, and they are soon excreted in urine. Because of this, water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble ones.Fat-soluble vitamins are easier for the body to store than water-soluble.Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are water soluble.
There are 13 types of vitamins
It is fat soluble.Deficiency may cause night-blindness and keratomalacia, an eye disorder that results in a dry cornea.Good sources include: Liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, some cheeses, egg, apricot, cantaloupe melon, and milk.
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.Good sources include: yeast, pork, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole-grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.
It is water solubleDeficiency may cause ariboflavinosisGood sources include: asparagus, bananas, persimmons, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause pellagra, with symptoms of diarrhea, dermatitis, and mental disturbance.Good sources include: liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, fish (tuna, salmon), milk, eggs, avocados, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, whole-grains, legumes, mushrooms, and brewer’s yeast.
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause paresthesia, or “pins and needles.”Good sources include: meats, whole-grains (milling may remove it), broccoli, avocados, royal jelly, and fish ovaries.
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause anemia, peripheral neuropathy, or damage to parts of the nervous system other than the brain and spinal cord.Good sources include: meats, bananas, whole-grains, vegetables, and nuts. When milk is dried, it loses about half of its B6. Freezing and canning can also reduce content.
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause dermatitis or enteritis, or inflammation of the intestine.Good sources include: egg yolk, liver, some vegetables.
It is water soluble.Deficiency during pregnancy is linked to birth defects. Pregnant women are encouraged to supplement folic acid for the entire year before becoming pregnant.Good sources include: leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, baker’s yeast, some fortified grain products, and sunflower seeds. Several fruits have moderate amounts, as does beer.
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause megaloblastic anemia, a condition where bone marrow produces unusually large, abnormal, immature red blood cells.Good sources include: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, some fortified cereals and soy products, as well as fortified nutritional yeast.Vegans are advised to take B12 supplements.
It is water soluble.Deficiency may cause megaloblastic anemia.Good sources include: fruit and vegetables. The Kakadu plum and the camu camu fruit have the highest vitamin C contents of all foods. Liver also has high levels. Cooking destroys vitamin C.
It is fat soluble.Deficiency may cause rickets and osteomalacia, or softening of the bones.Good sources: Exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) through sunlight or other sources causes vitamin D to be produced in the skin. Also found in fatty fish, eggs, beef liver, and mushrooms.
It is fat soluble.Deficiency is uncommon, but it may cause hemolytic anemia in newborns. This is a condition where blood cells are destroyed and removed from the blood too early.Good sources include: Kiwi fruit, almonds, avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, leafy green vegetables, unheated vegetable oils, wheat germ, and whole-grains.
It is fat soluble. Deficiency may cause bleeding diathesis, an unusual susceptibility to bleeding.Good sources include: leafy green vegetables, avocado, kiwi fruit. Parsley contains a lot of vitamin K.
Vitamins should be preferred to be taken from whole food sources but supplementation may also be beneficial for health.