Vitamins are essential nutrients that help your body function at its best. They play an important role in regulating bodily functions such as your metabolism, digestion and immune system. A vitamin deficiency could result in health problems, so it’s important that you get your daily dose of these indispensable chemical compounds.
There are 13 essential vitamins and each one plays a unique and vital role in keeping your body healthy. Vitamins can be broken down into two categories. Fat-soluble vitamins are the likes of vitamins A, D, E and K are stored in the body’s fatty tissues. While water-soluble vitamins are the B vitamins that include thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. These must be replenished regularly because they are excreted in urine.
Vitamins aid in the growth, development and function of all the cells. Your body can’t produce most, or enough, vitamins on its own so we need to get them from outside sources. Although vitamins are available in supplement form and many people do take a daily multivitamin, the vitamins found in supplements are not as easily processed by the body. The best way to meet your daily vitamin intake needs is by eating a nutrient-dense diet.
A list of the 13 essential vitamins and their functions:
A: Promotes cell development, and healthy skin, hair, nails, gums, glands.
C: Strengthens blood vessel walls; promotes wound healing and iron absorption; supports the immune system.
D: Aids calcium absorption, and builds and maintains strong bones and teeth.
E: Protects fatty acids; maintains muscles and red blood cells; and serves as an important antioxidant.
K: Used by the body for proper blood clotting.
B1 – thiamine: Maintains a healthy metabolism. It also helps maintain normal digestion, appetite and proper nerve function.
B2 – riboflavin: Essential for energy metabolism. It also aids adrenal function, supports normal vision and helps maintain healthy skin.
B3 – niacin: Is used to metabolize energy and promote normal growth. In large doses, Vitamin B3 can also lower cholesterol.
B5 – pantothenic acid: Aids energy metabolism and normalizes blood sugar levels.
B6 – pyroxidine: Promotes protein metabolism, metabolism of carbohydrates and the release of energy. It also plays a role in proper nerve function and the synthesis of red blood cells.
B7 – biotin: Maintains a healthy metabolism.
B9 – folate: To make DNA, RNA, red blood cells, and synthesize certain amino acids. Vitamin B9 is also important for pregnant women, as it helps prevent birth defects.
B12 – cobalamin: Used to make red blood cells, DNA, RNA, and myelin for nerve fibres.