Vitamins are broadly classified in two main classes- “fat soluble” and “water soluble”. These classes of vitamins are further categorized into many other categories. Vitamins protect living system from many diseases such as anemia, rickets, beriberi, pellagra etc. Vitamins are crucial for proper functioning of the body. Just as a car engine can not run smoothly without motor oil, similarly our body cannot function efficiently without the vitamins.
Study shows that vitamins are very essential for our immune system. Eating healthier food that is rich in vitamins and minerals ensures good health, less heart problem and regulated blood pressure. Vitamin rich diets are also beneficial to avoid induction of caner in living body. There are thirteen types of vitamins and none of these are synthesized by our body except vitamin B12.
Types of Vitamins
As discussed above, there are two main categories of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble. All are discussed in detail below:
Fat Soluble Vitamins include:
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin, bones and hair. We can easily get adequate amount of Vitamin A from our diet as it is a major and natural component of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and egg yolks. So, taking alternative supplements for vitamin A is not mandatory. In fact excess of vitamin A is also harmful for the body. For example if pregnant ladies have accumulated vitamin A in their bodies then it can results into severe problems for delivery and it is also possible that infant will develop many disorders after birth. Supplementation of 800- 1000mg is quite enough for each day.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is stored in the body fat. It is essential to maintain strong teeth and bones. Fish, meat and fortified milk are rich sources of vitamin D. Study shows that people who take diets that are rich in vitamin D and calcium have less problems of bones and have less frequent fracture incidents. Vitamin D also gets synthesized in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Spending just 15-20 minutes per day in sunlight develops enough vitamin D in our skin. 400 IU a day is suggested dose of vitamin D.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E helps in maintaining healthy skin, hair and general health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it is less frequently present in the regular diets. Rich sources of vitamin E are nuts, whole grains and vegetable oils such as soya bean, corn, cottonseed and safflower. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause heart diseases, Parkinson’s diseases, cataracts and prostate cancer. The individuals who consume vitamin E in enough amounts are less prone to heart attack incidents. Daily consumption of about 200-800 units of vitamin E is recommended.
Heart patients are suggested to consume minimum of 400 units of vitamin E per day. Also to prevent the heart attacks an individual should avoid smoke, consume low fat diets and do exercise daily.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is required for the proper thickness of blood. Green vegetables are the rich source of vitamin K. There is no need to take supplements for vitamin K. Consuming green vegetables would be enough.
Intake of excessive fat soluble vitamins can result into high blood pressure problems and it induces toxic affects too.
Water Soluble Vitamins include:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Sources of vitamin B1 are grains, cereals, pasta and other plant foods. The supplements for this vitamin are required for those who have poor and deficient diet. People, who drink a lot of alcohol, can also have deficiency of vitamin B1. Deficiency of vitamin B1 causes beriberi, brain, nerves, and heart problems.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Vitamin B2 is present in yeast, liver, bran etc. Taking large doses of vitamin B2 is not recommended. 1500mg each day is quite enough for our body. But to reduce cholesterol, excessive consumption of niacin is prescribed. But line between remedy and excess is very thin. Vitamin B2 deficiency can cause pellagra which is a skin disease.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine is present in meat, soya beans, whole grains, and in many vegetables. Deficiency of vitamin B6 is very rare. The exact doze for this vitamin is not certain. A small amount of this vitamin is enough which can be fulfilled from B complex tablets or multivitamins. People who are deficient with vitamin B6 generally suffer from some brain and heart diseases.
Vitamin B12: Rich sources of vitamin B12 are fish, meat, eggs and poultry. It is less available in plant food so vegetarians are much more deficient with this vitamin as compared to non- vegetarians. The B complex tablet or a multivitamin that contains at least 3mg of vitamin B12 each day is recommended to deal with deficiency. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause disease of pernicious anemia.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is available in many vegetables and juices. Doze of 500mg per day is suggested to avoid deficiencies.