Do you know your vitamins?

While on one side carbohydrates, fats and proteins build our body and provide energy, it is vitamins on the other side that give our body all those little add-ons that help it function normally. Being protective foods, they perform a host of functions for the body such as ensuring the absorption of vital minerals, providing us with many benefits like night vision and healthy skin, teeth and bones among many others. 

The best sources of Vitamins are fruits and green leafy vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. Some animal-food is quite rich in certain kinds of vitamins, however they can easily be substituted with plant-based sources as well. It should be kept in mind that most of these sources are rich in one or two vitamins. Hence, one should eat a varied diet with different types of fruits and vegetables to ensure an adequate overall vitamin intake. Where this is not possible, supplements like vitamin C or multivitamins tablets can be taken.

The essential vitamins that our body needs 

Our body needs 13 vitamins that include Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins. Under the category of Vitamin B, there are many other different vitamins including B12, B6 etc. These can be divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The categorisation is based on the manner in which these vitamins are stored in the body. Understanding this difference can help us grasp how they function.

1. Water-soluble vitamins 

There are a total of 9 water-soluble vitamins, covered under the umbrella of  Vitamin C and Vitamin B complex. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, these vitamins are likely to reach toxic levels as they are flushed out by the kidneys from our body. However, vitamin B12 is the only exception because it can be stored in the liver for an extended period. 

When you take these vitamins, do keep in mind that vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 and Choline have upper consumption limits. High consumption of B6 over a long period of time can cause irreversible nerve damage. Even though a healthy diet should be adequate for our daily intake, the unfortunate fact is that many of us do not consume vitamin-rich food everyday. 

Some may also have dietary restrictions due to which it seems too difficult to consume such vitamins. For example, vitamin B12, which is generally available through animal-based food, is often missing from a vegetarian or vegan diet. In such cases, supplements like B complex or vitamin C tablets can be our saviour. 

2. Fat-soluble Vitamins 

Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E and K. These vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissues and can remain in the body longer than water-soluble vitamins. Because these are not released out regularly, overconsumption can reach toxic levels. When consumed through food, these vitamins are more easily absorbed when they are combined with dietary fats.

Vitamin D and K work best when consumed together as vitamins D and K are more effective for bone and cardiovascular health when taken together than taken alone.

The Takeaway

Vitamins are quite essential for our optimal health and it is equally essential to know more about them. The major Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and  Vitamin B play a vital role in regulating our skin’s and body’s health. Make sure to consume a vitamin-rich diet with multivitamin supplements to get the best results.