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Vitamins are essential compounds that help the body to grow and function properly. Our bodies are able to produce vitamins to a certain extent, for example vitamin D and K. However, there are some vitamins that our bodies are unable to produce and hence would need to rely on external food sources of nutrients. A healthy balanced diet should be sufficient for you to obtain the daily nutrient requirements, but in some instances where this is not the case, vitamin supplements can help.
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B. These vitamins can dissolve in water, can be transported to the body tissues but are not stored in the body. They will eventually leave the body via urine after a short period of time. Due to this, these vitamins have to be taken on a regular basis to avoid deficiencies.
Vitamin A, D, E, K are all fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are more easily absorbed into the body via dietary fats and can stay in the body for a longer period of time. This means that we have to be cautious on the amount of fat-soluble vitamins we consume everyday to avoid them from building up in our bodies, which may lead to harmful effects.
Vitamin A (retinol)
It helps in building and maintaining a healthy vision, healthy skin, bones and mucous membranes. Some of the good sources of vitamin A are carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, eggs, pumpkin, cod liver oil, milk, cheese, butter.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
It helps to convert food nutrients into energy that is required for our body to carry out normal function and processes. It is also important for nerve function. Foods high in vitamin B1 include whole grain, brown rice, sunflower seeds, and pork.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
It helps to convert food nutrients into energy and maintain growth and development of body cells. Milk and dairy products are rich in vitamin B2 such as cheese, yogurt.
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
It helps to maintain growth and development of body cells. Vitamin B3 can be found from chicken, beef, salmon, milk, leafy vegetables, and tofu.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
It helps the body to make red blood cells to prevent anaemia and nerve pain. Some sources of vitamin B6 include bananas, fish, carrots, potatoes.
Vitamin B9 (folate)
It is vital for DNA synthesis and cell formation, especially red blood cells. You can find vitamin B9 from dark leafy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, beans, peas.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
It plays an important role in helping the body to produce red blood cells and maintain good nerve function. Sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, meat, eggs, milk.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
It is a good source of antioxidants that can help in building our immune system, promoting tissue growth and repair to aid in wound healing, building healthy teeth and gums, collagen production, and iron absorption. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, bell peppers.
It helps in calcium absorption in the body, hence plays an important role in promoting maintaining bone health and growth. Sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, fatty fish, beef liver. Exposure to the natural sunlight can help our body to produce vitamin D too !
It also acts as an antioxidant that can help to protect body cells from being damaged by harmful substances like oxidative stress and radicals. Good sources of vitamin E are nuts and seeds like almonds, whole grains, egg yolks, and avocado.
It is essential for proper blood clotting. Some sources of vitamin K are leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and other vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus. However, for patients taking certain medications like warfarin, the amount of vitamin K consumption has to be cautiously monitored as too much vitamin K can influence the normal blood clotting process as well.
Take everything in moderation, including vitamins. Consult healthcare professionals such as doctors or pharmacists before starting on any supplements for yourself.
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Disclaimer: As a service to our users and general public, DOC2US provides health education contents. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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