Vitamins are non-caloric micronutrients that are needed in small amounts for normal body functions. Vitamins are present in our food and vitamins supplement. The best way to consume vitamins is through a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Different vitamins have a different function in our body such as:
• Converting food into energy • Strengthen bones and muscles • Boost immune system • Glowing skin • Maintenance and repair of cells, tissues, and organs
There are 13 different types of Vitamins which include Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
For better classifications, vitamins can be categorized into two types which are water-soluble vitamins, and fat-soluble vitamins.
1.Fat Soluble Vitamins
The vitamins which are soluble in fats are called fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are stored in the liver and adipose tissues. The ability of the healthy body to store fat-soluble vitamins decreases the risk of deficiencies however, overconsumption can lead to toxicity, also referred to as hypervitaminosis.
When consuming our vitamins through foods, the risk of overconsumption is extremely rare. The risk of toxicity usually occurs through high amounts of supplementation.
Fats soluble vitamins are : • Vitamin A • Vitamin D • Vitamin E • Vitamin K
2. Water Soluble Vitamins
The vitamins which are soluble in water are called water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins cannot be stored in the body, except for B6 and B12, and passes through urine if not used.
Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, consistent daily intake is important to avoid deficiencies. Water-soluble vitamins are necessary for enzymes involved in metabolism, without water-soluble vitamins the enzymes will not work.
Water-soluble vitamins are : • Vitamin B • Vitamin C
Retinol, also known as Vitamin A is a generic description for at least 7 different active forms of the vitamin. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is an important dietary component in the growth and repair of body tissues, boosting the immune system and in the maintenance of our eyes, skin, teeth, bones, and mucous membranes. Vitamin A is also well known for its antioxidant properties and possesses antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, and cardio-protective properties.
Despite vitamin, A deficiencies being common, large doses of vitamin A in the form of retinol can also be toxic, particularly to pregnant women or people with liver impairments. As a fat-soluble vitamin, the body stores retinol, where excessive consumption can lead retinol levels to accumulate to toxic levels within the body having detrimental health effects. It is believed that an estimated 5% of people who supplement vitamin A unknowingly suffering from toxic symptoms which may include dry damaged skin and nails, nausea, and vomiting.
Beta-Carotene (Provitamin A) is a precursor of vitamin A that the body breaks down into retinol as it needs to without creating toxic levels, for this reason, it is safer to get your vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Beta carotene is also a more potent antioxidant than retinol which may help the body deal with oxidative stress and in particular, is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of many cancers.
Given the implications of retinol toxicity, it is suggested that if using supplementation that you look for supplements than provide vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Please refer to the chapter on nutritional supplements for more information.
One of our most commonly asked questions here at expert nutrition is whether large doses of beta-carotene are toxic?
The good news is that even high doses of beta carotene have not been shown to exhibit toxicity, even during pregnancy. However, problems such as loose stools and a slight discoloration of the skin might occur.
I remember experimenting back when I was at university where we all had to eat lots (and lots) of carrots for a month to see if our skin would change color. At the end of the month, there were some slight changes noticed, they didn’t warn us about the loose stools until after the experiment was over, although we all noticed! In summary beta carotene is a much safer way to get your vitamin A as your body will only breakdown what it needs.
What are the best sources of Vitamin A?
Vitamin A can come from many sources including retinols which are found in animal products such as liver, most fish, eggs, and dairy products, and carotenoids which are found in plant-based foods in particular those that have red or yellow pigments including most fruits and vegetables particularly carrots, pumpkin, spinach, and sweet potato.
Remember the old mother’s tale that eating carrots can help you to see in the dark, well this has an element of truth. Carrots are a good source of beta carotene which the body breaks down into retinol as it needs. The name ‘retinol’ dates back to when vitamin A was first discovered to be beneficial to the retina found in the eye. In particular, retinol plays an important role in maintaining the health of the rods, a part of the eye that is responsible for seeing low intensities of light and shades of grey. We now know that a deficiency in vitamin A commonly leads to night blindness, so take your mother’s advice and remember to eat your carrots!
Possible Additional Benefits of Vitamin A 1
· May reduce the risk of breast, lung, colon, prostate and cervical cancer
· May reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
· May retard muscular degeneration (a common cause of blindness among the elderly)
Recommended Dietary Intake for Vitamin A
A recent re-evaluation of dietary requirements for all vitamins and minerals was published by the National Health and Medical Research Council6. The dietary recommendations for Retinol from this publication are summarised below.
Please refer to the following definitions when interpreting these recommendations:
RDI-Recommended Daily Intake
The average daily intake level is sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.
AI-Adequate Intake (used when an RDI cannot be determined)
The average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or experimentally-determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate.
What are 6 essential nutrients, and why does it matter?
Essential Nutrients is a substance that is required for nourishment and growth. According toWorld Health Organization experts, these nutrients must come from food it’s mean that your body is not able to produce these nutrients through its natural mechanism or biology.
Now I want you to think of a banana or a potato maybe a meat or a glass of milk all of these foods are made up of different amounts of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.
In the world of nutrition, these are also referred to as the 6 essential nutrients. All of the 6 nutrients have different functions within our bodies from providing energy to repairing and healing the body and also reduce the risk of disease.
These 6 essential nutrients divided into 2 categories
Macronutrients are nutrients that are required in large quantity as part of our diet.
Protein | Carbohydrate | Fats
proteins are made of smaller molecules called amino acids these are an essential part of our diet. Many people think that we simply need protein to build muscle which is one of the functions but there’s more to say about protein.
We need and use protein for the formation of structure in the body like skin and hair and also muscle.
They also plays a vital role in the transportation of oxygen around the body via our blood, besides it helps regulate the body’s use of glucose for energy and balances our blood sugar level via the hormone insulin which is built out of proteins in some cases the body also uses protein as energy.
In simple terms, carbohydrates are equal to energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is a form of sugar that uses energy to function and move the body.
carbohydrate is necessary for a healthy body Carbs fuel our body and reduce the risk of disease.
Fats are sometimes called lipids. These are the biggest source of energy in our body and our body always uses a mix of carbohydrates and fats as the main source of energy to move our body.
Fat also has the function of transporting certain essential vitamins through the body like vitamins D, E, and K. If fats weren’t present these vitamins wouldn’t function properly and this could lead to problems with bone growth and eye site.
Micronutrients are the smaller portion of our food but Micronutrients are equally important as macronutrients. These little small things present in your whole food and it all depends on the kinds and types of food that you eat.
we eat the macronutrients that are calories and those can be turned into energy but they need all the micronutrients to help turn them into energy.
Vitamins | Minerals | Water
Vitamins are non-caloric micronutrients that are needed in a smaller amount for normal body function. The best way to consume vitamins is through a variety of nutrient-dense foods. There is a total of 13 vitamins, which are divided into 2 categories, water-soluble which includes vitamin B’s and C; and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Vitamins are necessary for healthy vision, skin, and bones. Vitamins also reduce the risk of lung and prostate cancer, and they’re powerful antioxidants. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and help the body heal.
Minerals are an inorganic, not derived by a living matter substance needed in trace to small amounts to help regulate bodily functions, such as assisting with muscle contraction and regulating enzyme activity.
Nearly All minerals except iron are absorbed in their free form. Iron helps your red blood cells and hormone creation, while zinc boosts your immune system and wound healing. Calcium helps to strengthen bones and with nerve signal transmission, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Water is an essential nutrient for the body, as the body loses water through perspiration, breathing, bowel movements, and in urine, it must be consumed regularly to maintain a sufficient level.
It has many vital functions in the body, including… Serving as a lubricant, it is a main component of saliva, which helps moisten food making it easier to swallow.
Water is a major component of blood, which transports nutrients and helps remove waste substances from all parts of the body.