Different Types of Vitamins and Their Function

Before you purchase any vitamins, it is good to learn the different types of vitamins and their function for our body's well being and health. Every type of vitamin has a specific function, and a deficiency in any one can cause a health problem or a dysfunction of a body part or organ.

Vitamin A

This is popularly known as retinol because it generates the pigments necessary for the proper functioning of the retina, Vitamin A us in the formation of healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes and the skin; it is also required for reproduction and breastfeeding and for good vision. 

A deficiency in Vitamin A for our body can lead to night blindness, excessively dry skin and even dryness of the eyes. The body can obtain vitamin A from carotene, a vitamin antecedent found in vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, and broccoli among others. Our body can also absorb ready made vitamin A from plant eating animals. Some of these sources are milk, butter, egg yolk.

This vitamin also has antioxidant properties which might neutralizes, if not eradicate, free radicals in the human body that stimulate damage to our tissues and cells.

Vitamin B

It is known as water soluble vitamins and are together called vitamin B complex. B complex, once thought to be a single vitamin, is now classified as 12 related water-soluble compounds.  They are considered extremely important for the break down of carbohydrates into energy. They are also important for the formation of red blood cells, regulation of the healthy functioning of the heart and nerve cells, absorption of proteins and synthesis of hormones and cholesterol. Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Cobalamin, Folate, Panthothenic acid and Biotin are all different types of vitamin B.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for maintaining a healthy immune system, helps the body fight stress and enhances collagen production that are needed for healthy teeth, skin, cartilage, bones and connective tissue. It contains ascorbic acid which plays an important role in maintaining healthy gums and teeth. It also aids in the absorption of iron and is important for the formation and maintenance of collagen, the connective tissue that supports many body structures. It also promotes healing as it is an antioxidant. 

A deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy. Although it is widely believed that vitamin C prevents colds and flu, these claims have not been collaborated under scientific conditions. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, and guava and vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, kale, green peppers, cabbage, and turnips.

Vitamin D

This is widely known as the sunshine vitamin, our bodies are able to produce this vitamin by exposure to sunshine. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and is thus essential for bone formation and for healthy teeth. A deficiency of vitamin D can cause rickets, which is a deformity of the rib cage, skull and bones of the leg. Sources of vitamin D include egg yolk, tuna, dairy products like cheese, butter, margarine, cream, fortified milk and also cereals.

There is now evidence linking vitamin D to reducing Alzheimer's disease, benefits to eye health, the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, seizure control in epilepsy, and the treatment of tuberculosis.

Vitamin E

Also called as alpha-tocopherol, vitamin E is believed to reduce cholesterol and plaque buildup, reducing the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease (CAD).  This vitamin had been known to play a role in the formation of red blood cells although its entire function in the human body is still not fully known. It is also known to be an antioxidant. Sources of vitamin E are wheat germ, olives, corn, nuts vegetable oils, liver, and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin K

This is use a term used for a group of related fat-soluble substances known as naphthoquinones. This group includes vitamins K1, K2, and K3.   Vitamin K is vital for the coagulation of blood. Vitamin K plays an essential role in the formation of strong bones, including teeth. Low blood levels of vitamin K are associated with reduced bone density. It also has an important role in the inhibition of kidney stone formation. Osteopontin is another protein that needs to be activated by vitamin K in order to be functional.

Vitamin K is found in alfalfa, liver, cabbage, cauliflower and cereals. The bacteria in our intestines also produces vitamin K.

Also that note that supplemental vitamin K overdose can cause hemolytic anemia, in which the red blood cells die much faster than the body is able to replenish them. You should consult your physician and/ or pharmacist before taking supplemental vitamin K, or consuming vitamin K rich foods, especially if you are taking anticoagulants/blood thinners.

Finally, a form of supplement that various companies have started experimenting with is by doing liquid vitamins and minerals supplements. The purpose of these is that you basically ingest a vitamin supplement that does not have any added material in order for all the components to be glued together. In this way, the supplement is thus more pure and this often is referred to as a more organic vitamin supplement.

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