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Who Cares About Vitamins, Anyway?

Who Cares About Vitamins, Anyway?



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(HO HO HO! H! O! OH! O! That's not Santa coughing, it's just Vitamin C...)


Vitamins are substances the body requires to function properly. There are 13 essential vitamins in total, categorized as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. People can consume vitamins through food, or take them as supplements instead. As with other substances, too little or too much of any vitamin can cause future health issues.


All vitamins support normal cell function, growth, and development. Each vitamin has a specialized job which contributes to maintaining one's overall well-being. A lack of certain vitamins can lead to cell deficiency, cause future health issues. Consuming vitamins - in the right amounts - may help you boost your immunity and reach optimal health.


13 ESSENTIAL VITAMINS:

  • Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (RIboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

TYPES OF VITAMINS

There are two main types of vitamins: Fat-Soluble and Water-Soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body’s fatty tissues. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. When consumed with a bit of dietary fat, the body absorbs these vitamins more easily. Water-soluble vitamins, which includes Vitamin C and all B vitamins, are used by the body immediately. Water-soluble vitamins must be regularly consumed; any water-soluble vitamins left unused are excreted through the urinary process.


Vitamin A (Retinol) helps develop and maintain healthy teeth, soft tissue, bones, skin, and mucous membranes. It is regularly found in dark-colored fruit, dark leafy vegetables, egg yolks, fortified milk and dairy products, and meats such as beef, fish, and liver.

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Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. This vitamin can also help to heal wounds. Vitamin C is found in a variety of citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, as well as in several vegetables.

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Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin," as it is made by the body after sun exposure. Depending on skin pigmentation and location, the body may only need 10 to 15 minutes in the sun three times a week to produce the necessary amount of vitamin D. For those who live in places with limited sunlight, supplements may be necessary in order to sustain proper levels of Vitamin D in the body. This fat-soluble vitamin helps the body absorb calcium, which in turn helps develop and maintain healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin D is also able to help maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood. This vitamin is found in fatty fish, fish liver oils, fortified cereals, and fortified milk and dairy products.

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Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is an antioxidant that helps the body form red blood cells, and allows for the use of Vitamin K. This substance can be found in avocado, dark green vegetables, oils, nuts and seeds, and wheat germ.

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Vitamin K ensures that blood does not stick together - a process known as 'blood coagulation.' This substance can be found in cabbage, cauliflower, cereals, dark leafy vegetables, and meat products such as fish, liver, beef, and eggs.

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Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps convert carbohydrates into energy, supports heart function, and healthy nerve cells. You can find this substance in dried milk, eggs, enriched bread, legumes, nuts and seeds, organ meats, peas, and whole grains.

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Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) works with all of the other B vitamins. Its role is to promote the healthy production of hormones and cholesterol. Vitamin B2 can be found in dark green vegetables, eggs, kidneys, lean meats, low-fat milk, and liver.

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Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is a B vitamin that lowers cholesterol and helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. You can find this substance in avocado, eggs, enriched bread and fortified cereals, fish, lean meats, legumes, nuts, potatoes, and poultry.

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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) helps metabolize food and produces hormones. You can find this substance in avocado, dark leafy greens, eggs, legumes and lentils, milk, mushrooms, organ meats, poultry, white and sweet potatoes, and whole-grain cereals.

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Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is responsible for red blood cell production and supports overall healthy brain function. You can find this substance in foods like avocado, banana, legumes, meat, nuts, poultry, and whole grains.

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Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. It's also responsible for the production of hormones and cholesterol. Vitamin B7 is found in foods like chocolate, cereal, egg yolk, legumes, milk, nuts, organ meats, pork, and yeast.

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Vitamin B9 (Folate) works with Vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells. It also produces DNA and prevents birth defects. You can find this substance in asparagus, beets, broccoli, dried beans, fortified foods, leafy green vegetables, lentils, oranges, peanut butter, and wheat germ.

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Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) works with Vitamin B9 to create red blood cells. It supports metabolism and the central nervous system as well. Food sources include eggs, meat, milk, organ meats, poultry, and shellfish.

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Final Takeaways

There are 13 different essential vitamins that can be consumed from a multitude of sources. How do you know if how much you're taking in each day is enough to meet your required amount? You can either track daily food intake - which can be tedious - or take a multivitamin to ensure your body isn't lacking in vitamins. Modern AlkaMe, however, recommends eating a balanced diet that contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy, legumes, lentils, and whole grains.