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Types of Vitamins and Their Role in the Human Body

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Types of Vitamins and their role in the human body

Vitamins are organic compounds that are required by the body in minute quantities but are essential to life and health.

Vitamins and minerals are vital nutrients because they perform hundreds of functions in our bodies. A healthy diet is the best way to obtain adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals required by the body.

Vitamins can be divided into two categories:

  • Fat soluble
  • Water soluble

Fat soluble vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the body. They can also be toxic if consumed in large amounts.

Water soluble vitamins include vitamin B, vitamin C and choline. Water soluble vitamins can be excreted with urine if consumed in large amounts. They are generally not toxic even if they are consumed in large quantities.

However, they must be replenished daily because they are not stored in the body.

Vitamin A

It is also known as retinal, retinol or retinoic acid. Preformed vitamin A can only be found in animal sources or in fortified food. It is generally made by converting compounds in yellow and green vegetables.

Consequences of deficiency in Vitamin A

  • Impaired vision
  • Night blindness
  • Dry eyes
  • Destruction of the cornea
  • Total blindness
  • Impaired immunity
  • Anemia
  • Damaged teeth
  • Thickened cells in the airways and urinary bladder
Eggs

Eggs

Vitamin Table

Vitamin Table

Vitamin D

It is also known as cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol. Vitamin D is important for building strong bones, muscles and overall health. The skin can synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight.

Sources of Vitamin D

  • Eggs
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified milk
  • Liver
  • Fish
Cooked Fish

Cooked Fish

Consequences of deficiency in Vitamin D

  • Rickets
  • Osteomalacia
  • Osteoporosis

Vitamin E

It is also known as tocopherols tocotrienols. Vitamin E can be destroyed by cooking food at very high temperatures.

Sources of Vitamins E

  • Hazel nuts
  • Corn oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Vegetable oils
  • Wheat germ
  • Whole-grain and fortified cereals
Assorted nuts and bananas

Assorted nuts and bananas

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Vitamin K

It is also known as phylloquinone and menaquinone. Vitamin K is required to produce prothrombin and for blood clotting. It works in tandem with Vitamin A to ensure that teeth and bones are healthy.

Consequences of deficiency in Vitamin E

Deficiency of Vitamin E is rare. It can appear as anemia in infants. It can also manifest as nerve problems in hands and feet.

Vitamin Table

Vitamin Table

Fruit salad and orange juice

Fruit salad and orange juice

Consequences of deficiency in Vitamin K

  • Impaired blood clotting
  • Impaired mineralization of bone

Sources of Vitamins K

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Mayonnaise
  • Soybean, canola, and olive oils

Vitamin B1

It is also referred to as thiamin.

Salad

Salad

Sources of Vitamin B1

  • Fortified bread like Ezekiel’s bread
  • Cereals
  • Pasta
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Dried beans
  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Dairy products
  • Fruits and vegetables

Consequences of deficiency in Vitamin B1

  • Beriberi: weight loss
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Impaired senses
  • Weakness and pain in arms and legs
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling of bodily tissues
  • Heart failure and death
  • Memory loss and confusion

Vitamin B2

It is also known as riboflavin.

Sources of Vitamin B2

  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Fortified breads
  • Cereals
Salad

Salad

Consequences of deficiency in Vitamin B2

  • Cracks on the lips (especially mouth corners)
  • High sensitivity to sunlight
  • Inflammation of the tongue
  • Dermatitis (especially on the genitals and mouth)
  • Sore throat
  • Stunted growth in children

Vitamin B6

It is also known as pyridoxine.

Sources of Vitamins B6

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Liver
  • Meat
  • Legumes
  • Cereal grains
  • Vegetables (carrots, spinach, peas)
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Assorted vegetables

Assorted vegetables

Consequences of a deficiency in Vitamin B6

  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Dermatitis
  • High blood pressure
  • Water retention

Vitamin B12

It is also known as cobolamin.

Sources of Vitamin B12

  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Milk, and milk products
Steak and vegetables

Steak and vegetables

Consequences of a deficiency in Vitamin B12

  • Anemia
  • Neuropathy of hands and feet
  • Mental disorders
  • Decreased absorption occurs with gastritis
  • Pernicious anemia.
  • Mania and psychosis
Vitamin Table

Vitamin Table

Vitamin B3

It is also called niacin. It helps to lower cholesterol, enhance brain functions and ameliorate the effects of arthritis. It converts carbohydrates to glucose.

Cooked Chicken

Cooked Chicken

Sources of niacin

  • Dairy products
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Lean meats
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Fortified breads
  • Cereals


Consequences of a deficiency in Niacin

  • Pellagra: aggression
  • Dermatitis
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Mental confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Dementia
  • Death
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Depression


Salad

Salad

Vitamin B5

It is also referred to as pantothenic acid. It aids in the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose. It also aids in the metabolism of proteins and fats.

Sources of Vitamin B5

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk and milk products
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Legumes
  • Yeast
  • Broccoli and cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Lean beef

Consequences of a deficiency in Niacin

  • numbness and burning of the hands and feet
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • sleeping problems
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite

If you enjoyed reading this article check out The Importance of Proper Nutrition


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Adriel Ananiel

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