Vitamins and What They Do

Vitamins…

Since we were little, we’ve always been told to take our vitamins, that they will help us grow and keep us healthy. But what do vitamins do for us really? To answer that question, you have to visit each type of vitamin because they all do something different. Yahoo breaks down the groups of vitamins very well.

vitamin-b9

photo source – wannabeeinstein.com

 

“B” vitamins provide the energy the body needs. Without them you will find yourself run down, and exhausted. Great sources of “B” vitamins are cereals, grains, proteins, eggs, fruits, and green leafy vegetables.

 

Vitamin A

photo source – http://iym-health.blogspot.com

“A” vitamins help maintain healthy cells in the eye which are required for healthy eyesight. It also plays a very major role in both the reproduction process and embryonic development and is known to help with certain health conditions, such as anemia and cystic fibrosis. The vitamin is often recommended to prevent the risk of developing lung disease. You can get your “A” vitamins in carrots and dairy products.

photo source - http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/vitamin_c_source_000275.htm

photo source – http://www.umm.edu/

 

Vitamin “C” is an antioxidant and is very important in fighting off colds, preventing heart disease and is even believed to help fight off cancer. Most people already know that oranges and orange juice are major providers of vitamin “C”, but you can also get it from other fruits including strawberries, papayas, cantaloupe, and lemons

 

photo source - http://www.vitaminddeficiency.me/

photo source – http://www.vitaminddeficiency.me/

Vitamin “D” is imperative in protecting your bones. It helps them absorb calcium and phosphorous which keeps your bones and teeth very strong. There are several ways that you can get Vitamin D. One of the ways is through exposure to the sun. Of course, all that you need is twenty minutes of sun a day in order to get the Vitamin D that your body needs. Some of the other places where you can find Vitamin D include in certain types of fish (such as salmon), egg yolk and butter.

photo source - ufandshands.org/

photo source – ufandshands.org/

Lastly, “E” Vitamins are also antioxidants. They are important in preventing heart attacks, helping the body process glucose and also regulating blood cells and can have an affect on growth of connective tissues.  Some sources of “E” vitamins include eggs, whole gain, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

 

Netdoctor offers an even more extensive description of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Vitamins And What They Do

Vitamin A (retinol) properties
Good for Eyesight, growth, appetite and taste.
Signs of deficiency Night-blindness
RDA 800 micrograms
Good sources Liver, cod liver oil, carrots, green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, enriched margarine, milk products and yellow fruits.
Poisoning This vitamin is fat-soluble and so is stored in the body for a long time, especially in pregnancy. An overdose may be dangerous.
Destroyed by Fatty acids.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) properties
Good for Nervous system, digestion, muscles, heart, alcohol-damaged nerve tissues.
Signs of deficiency Tingling in fingers and toes, confusion, difficulties in maintaining balance, loss of appetite, exhaustion and weakened powers of concentration.
RDA 1.4mg
Good sources Liver, yeast, egg yolk, cereal, red meat,nuts and wheatgerm.
Poisoning No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.
Destroyed by High temperatures, alcohol and coffee.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) properties
Good for Growth, skin, nails, hair, sensitive lips and tongue, eyesight, the breakdown of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Signs of deficiency Itchy irritated eyes, itchy mucous membranes (nose, mouth, throat) and cracked corners of lips.
RDA 1.6mg
Good sources Milk, liver, yeast, cheese, green leafy vegetables, fish.
Poisoning No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.
Destroyed by Alcohol and light (this is why milk-cartons are better than bottles).
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) properties
Good for Preventing skin conditions, nerve problems, helps the body absorb protein and carbohydrate.
Signs of deficiency Skin inflammation.
RDA 2mg – women taking the contraceptive pill may need more.
Good sources Fish, bananas, chicken, pork, wholegrains and dried beans.
Poisoning May cause nerve problems in large doses. Evidence is conflicting about the maximum safe dose, so get medical advice before exceeding the RDA.
Destroyed by The contraceptive pill, roasted or boiled food, alcohol and oestrogen (the female hormone).
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) properties
Good for Making red blood and the formation of the nerves.
Signs of deficiency Tiredness and fatigue, tingling and numbness in hands/feet, memory problems and anaemia.
RDA 1 microgram
Good sources Eggs, shellfish, poultry, meat,liver, milk, cheese and fortified cereal.
Poisoning No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.
Destroyed by Water, sunlight, alcohol, oestrogen and sleeping pills.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) properties
Good for Immune defence system, protection from viruses and bacteria, healing wounds, reducing cholesterol, cell lifespan and preventing scurvy.
Signs of deficiency Tiredness, bleeding gums and slow-healing wounds.
RDA 60mg
Good sources Citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, berries, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, green leafy vegetables and peppers.
Poisoning Large doses can cause diarrhoea and nausea, eg 2g/day . Some scientists have argued that 1000-5000mg per day may damage your DNA.
Destroyed by Boiling food, light, smoking and heat.
Vitamin D properties
Good for Strong bones and teeth.
Signs of deficiency Unhealthy teeth, osteomalacia (causes weakening of bones), rickets in children.
RDA 5 micrograms
Good sources Sunlight (the action of sunlight on the skin allows our bodies to manufacture vitamin D), cod liver oil, sardines, herring, salmon, tuna, milk and milk products.
Poisoning This vitamin is fat-soluble so can accumulate in the body. Overdoses are dangerous, but there is wide variability in the toxic level, eg 400IU for children.
Destroyed by Mineral oil.
Vitamin E (tocopherol) properties
Good for Fighting toxins – vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.
Signs of deficiency Weak muscles and fertility problems.
RDA 10mg
Good sources Nuts, soya beans, vegetable oil, broccoli, sprouts, spinach, wholemeal products and eggs.
Poisoning Potential effect with warfarin increasing risk of bleeding, more than 400IU/day can increase risk of heart failure and death in long term illness.
Destroyed by Heat, oxygen, frost, iron and chlorine.
Folic acid properties
Good for Production of red blood cells. It is essential in the first three months of pregnancy to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, cleft palate or cleft lip.
Signs of deficiency Tiredness due to anaemia and red tongue.
RDA 200 micrograms. Women planning to conceive should take a daily supplement of 400mcg, continued for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Good sources Carrots, yeast, liver, egg, yolks, melon, apricots, pumpkin, avocado, beans, rye and wholewheat and green leafy vegetables.
Poisoning No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.
Destroyed by Water, sunlight and heat.

Minerals

Calcium
Good for Strong bones and teeth, nerve function, muscle contraction, blood clotting.
Signs of deficiency Poor teeth and brittle bones.
RDA 800mg
Good sources Milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt and green leafy vegetables.
Poisoning High doses can lead to headaches, stomach pain, high blood pressure and diarrhoea. Excess calcium can be deposited as kidney and gall bladder stones. It has been linked to an increased risk for heart attack in recent research.
Iron
Good for Red blood cells and muscle function, white blood cells and the immune system.
Signs of deficiency Tiredness, irritability, difficulties concentrating.
RDA 14mg
Good sources Lean red meat, oily fish, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, nuts, wholegrains and wholewheat.
Poisoning Iron is stored in the body and high doses (over 17mg) can lead to constipation, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. Very high doses can be fatal.
Magnesium
Good for Converting energy from food, cell repair, building strong bones, teeth and muscles and regulating body temperature.
Signs of deficiency Muscle spasms, and has been associated with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and weak bones.
RDA 300mg
Good sources Green leafy vegetables, wholegrains and nuts.
Poisoning High doses can cause diarrhoea.
Zinc
Good for Immune system, the breakdown of protein, fat and carbohydrate.
Signs of deficiency Lesions on skin, eyes and in throat, loss of taste and smell, hair loss, diarrhoea, slow healing of wounds and growth problems in children.
RDA 15mg
Good sources Meat, shellfish, milk brown rice and wholegrains.
Poisoning High doses can lead to stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, 100mg a day is the current advised maximum daily limit

 

What vitamins do you take on a daily basis?