WHAT ARE VITAMINS
Vitamins are an organic compound, that contains carbon and essential nutrient the body cannot produce enough of and which it needs to get from food. There are currently 13 recognized vitamins. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. Fat-soluble vitamins are easier to store than water-soluble ones and can stay in the body as reserves for days, some of them for months. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats, technically known as lipids. Vitamins A, D, E & K are fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins do not get stored in the body for long – they soon get excreted in the urine. Because of this, water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble ones. Vitamins C and all the B vitamins are water-soluble.
LIST OF VITAMINS
- Vitamin A (Retinol, Retinal)
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyidoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pryridoxal)
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (Folic acid, Folinic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Methylcobalamin)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin D (Ergocalciferol, Cholecalciferol)
- Vitamin E (Tocopherols, Tocotrienols)
- Vitamin K (Phylloquinone, Menaquinones)
Vitamin A (Retinol, Retinal)
One type comes from animal sources of food. It helps you see at night, make red blood cells, and fight off infections. The other type is in plant foods. It helps prevent damage to cells and an eye problem called age-related macular degeneration. (But too much vitamin A can hurt your liver.) Eat orange veggies and fruits like sweet potato and cantaloupe, spinach and other greens, dairy foods, and seafood such as shrimp and salmon.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
It helps your body turn food into energy. It’s also key for the structure of brain cells. Legumes, like black beans and lentils, and seeds are go-to sources. Pork and whole grains are also good. Most people get enough thiamin from the foods they eat, but pregnant and breastfeeding women need a little more. People with diabetes tend to have low levels of it.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
You could get enough for the day from a good breakfast! It’s added to many fortified breads and grain products and also found naturally in eggs, asparagus and other green veggies, and milk. Your cells need it to work right, and it might help prevent migraines. (It gets its name from the Latin word “flavus” for yellow — a lot of B2 will turn your pee a bright color.)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
This is a family of compounds that your body needs to turn food into energy and store it. It helps protect your skin and tissues, too, and may improve your cholesterol levels. Three ounces of canned tuna has nearly all you’ll need in a day. Or serve up some chicken, turkey, salmon, or other lean meats. You’re vegan? Eat crimini mushrooms, peanuts, and peanut butter.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, is one 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy. Its name originates from the Greek word ‘pantos’, meaning ‘everywhere’, as it can be found throughout all living cells. Pantothenic acid occurs in the form of ‘coenzyme A’ (CoA), a vital coenzyme in numerous chemical reactions
Vitamin B6 (Pyidoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pryridoxal)
This vitamin plays a role in more than 100 different reactions in your body. Some research has shown that B6 may help protect against memory loss, colorectal cancer, and PMS. It’s found in many kinds of foods including leafy and root vegetables; non-citrus fruits like bananas, avocados, and watermelon; legumes; and fish, poultry, and lean meat.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B7, more commonly known as biotin, is a water-soluble nutrient that is part of the B vitamin family. B vitamins help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for the key metabolism of carbohydrate and fats.
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid, Folinic acid)
Folate (folic acid) is necessary for the production of red blood cells and for the synthesis of DNA (which controls heredity and is used to guide the cell in its daily activities). Folic acid also helps with tissue growth and cell function. In addition, it helps to increase appetite when needed and stimulates the formation of digestive acids.
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Methylcobalamin)
Rev up before hitting the gym with a snack like a hard-boiled egg or cereal with vitamins added. B12 helps your body break down food for energy. Some athletes and trainers take supplements before workouts, but these don’t really boost your success if you’re getting enough in your meals.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Despite claims made by some over-the-counter remedies, it doesn’t prevent colds. But once you have symptoms, drink orange or grapefruit juice to help yourself stay hydrated and feel better sooner. Your body must have vitamin C to help your bones, skin, and muscles grow. You’ll get enough from bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, leafy greens, and other fruits and veggies.
Vitamin D (Ergocalciferol, Cholecalciferol)
Like calcium, it keeps your bones strong and helps your nerves carry messages. It also plays a role in fighting germs. Careful time in the sun — 10 to 15 minutes on a clear day, without sunscreen — is the best source. Or you could eat fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. There’s a little in egg yolks, too. You can also get milk and sometimes orange juice with added vitamin D.
Vitamin E (Tocopherols, Tocotrienols)
It’s something called an antioxidant, which protects your cells from damage caused by cigarette smoke, pollution, sunlight, and more. Vitamin E also helps your cells talk to each other and keeps blood moving. Sunflower seeds and nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are good sources. If you’re allergic to those, vegetable oils (like safflower and sunflower), spinach, and broccoli have vitamin E, too.
Vitamin K (Phylloquinone, Menaquinones)
You need it for blood clotting and healthy bones. People who take warfarin, a blood-thinner, have to be careful about what they eat, because vitamin K stops the drug from working. A serving of leafy greens — like spinach, kale, or broccoli — will give you more than enough K for the day. A Japanese dish called natto, made from fermented soybeans, has even more.