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Role and function in the body

Vitamins are organic compounds which are not snythesised by organisms. They play a vital role in optimal health to allow for normal cell function, growth and development.

There are thirteen essential vitamins:

●       Vitamin A - important for eyesight and also strengthens immune systems.

●       Vitamin C - important for the health of the immune system and helps produce collagen and helps with wound healing.

●       Vitamin D - important for bone health and maintaining immune system functionality.

●       Vitamin E - is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and has a preventative role in cancer. Makes red blood cells.

●       Vitamin K - allows for blood to clot and plays a role in bone health.

●       Vitamin B1 - used to keep muscle tissue and nerves healthy.

●       Vitamin B2 - important for body growth and red blood production.

●       Vitamin B3 - important for digestion and the digestive system health.

●       Vitamin B5 - important for producing red blood cells and maintaining a healthy digestive system.

●       Vitamin B6 - helps make brain chemicals and for normal brain function.

●       Vitamin B7 - needed for metabolism.

●       Vitamin B9 - important for brain function and mental health.

●       Vitamin B12 - important for nervous system and helps in production of DNA and RNA.

They are mostly obtained from the foods we eat but some vitamins like K and biotin are produced by microorganisms in the intestine commonly known as ‘gut flora’. Vitamins are needed in very small quantities. They are made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. They can also contain nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus and other elements.

Vitamin deficiencies

Deficiencies of vitamins are classified as either primary or secondary. A primary deficiency occurs when an organism does not get enough of the vitamins in its food such as metabolic causes. A secondary deficiency may be due to an underlying disorder e.g due to lifestyle choices like smoking, excess alcohol consumption or medication that interacts with vitamins. There can be times where one experiences deficiencies and thus it is important to acquire the necessary vitamins through foods, supplements or medication.

Sources of vitamins

There are many good food sources which provide your body with all the vitamins needed to work properly:

●       Oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel

●       Red meat

●       Egg yolk

●       Milk and yoghurt

●       Cheese

●       Nuts and seeds

●       Plant-based oils such as olive and rapeseed

●       Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach and a lot more….

This article does not provide any medical advice so please do seek advice from your doctor if you have any further queries. Further information can be found here.

Written by Khushleen Kaur

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