Vitamins & Minerals: General Info

Vitamins are natural substances derived from animals and plants that the body utilizes in order to sustain various bodily functions and stay healthy. A vitamin can be either fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins require the usage of bile acids to facilitate absorption while water soluble vitamins are absorbed easily by the body.

Types of vitamins

1.   Vitamin A

Vitamin A is known for improving vision. It also plays a role in bone growth and enhances cell functions. However, since too much vitamin A intake hinders benefits from vitamin D and raises the likelihood of hip fractures, doctors and researchers recommend eating foods rich in beta-carotene instead. The human body has the ability to transform beta-carotene into vitamin A, but the substance will not counteract other vitamins. 

2.   Vitamin B

There are three types of vitamin B: B6, B12, and folic acid. Vitamin B may potentially play a role in preventing and fighting certain cancers and heart disease, but this correlation has not been fully validated. Folic acid can be found in foods such as beans, fortified grains, and breakfast cereals. However, B6 and B12 are a little more difficult to get from food, so a vitamin supplement may be a good option to consider. 

3.   Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps fight infections, prevents colds and illnesses, and facilitates the development and maintenance of healthy blood vessels, bones, gum, and teeth. Vitamin C is found in bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. 

4.   Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in absorbing and retaining phosphorus and calcium, which aids bone development and growth as well as prevents the development and proliferation of cancerous cells. Vitamin D is scarce in natural foods, but can be found in dairy products, tuna, and salmon. 

5.   Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that mitigates damage to cells and tissues and improves circulation. Vitamin E is found in avocados, egg yolks, nuts, and peanut butter. While it is extremely rare for one to be vitamin E deficient, over-consumption of it may cause digestive tract issues and nausea. 

6.   Vitamin K

Vitamin K builds and strengthens bones, as well as creates proteins that are required for the normal clotting of blood. Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables and cooking oils. 


Daily vitamin intake

To meet the daily vitamin requirements, one should eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Vitamin supplements may provide additional nutrients, but they are not acceptable substitutes for well-balanced diets. A multivitamin should only be used to get vitamins that are more difficult to naturally obtain from foods. The five vitamins that people in which people are usually deficient include: B6, B12, D, E and folic acid. 

It is difficult to overdose on vitamins through the daily intake of natural foods. However, the convenience of vitamins in pill form makes overdosing very easy, and side effects may occur. Too much of a good thing may end up being harmful, so be sure to consult with your physician before taking vitamins to supplement your diet.