Vitamins are compounds that are highly essential for the body’s normal functioning. The body requires different types of vitamins in different quantities for its healthy growth and functioning. The peculiarity of vitamins is that the body normally produces very little of these compounds. Thus, you need to procure that through food and other external sources.
If you are deficient in a particular vitamin, it can cause serious health conditions. Thus, maintaining the right quantity of vitamins in the body is highly essential.
What Are The Different Types Of Vitamins?
Vitamins can broadly be divided into two categories – water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins are those that move freely throughout the body. The body requires these vitamins in small quantities at frequent intervals. If there is an excess amount of water-soluble vitamins in the body, it will be excreted by the kidney. This type of vitamin does not reach a toxic level in the body as the excess quantity is mostly flushed out.
The different types of water-soluble vitamins are:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): This vitamin is required for proper nerve function and produces various enzymes in the body. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause beriberi. The main sources of vitamin B1 are vegetables like cauliflower, asparagus and kale, fruits like orange, grains like brown rice and whole-grain rye and poultry products like eggs.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Vitamin B2 is essential to metabolise food. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause inflammation of lips and fissures. The main source of vitamin B2 are vegetables like okra, green beans and asparagus, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Vitamin B3 is required for the proper functioning of the digestive system and nervous system. Vitamin B3 in less quantity can cause intestinal upset and skin changes. The main sources of vitamin B3 are vegetables like broccoli, carrot and leafy vegetables, poultry products like milk, egg and chicken, fish like tuna and salmon and nuts and lentils.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins): Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause problems like loss of appetite, sore tongue and neurological problems. The main sources of Vitamin B12 are dairy products like milk and cheese, and meat. Since this vitamin is found mostly in animal based food, vegetarians or vegans are more likely to develop a deficiency of this vitamin.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid): Vitamin C help defend the body against various infections. It is crucial to maintain the health of your skin, bones and ligaments. A deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy and its resulting symptoms like fatigue, joint problems and dry eyes. The main sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like orange and lemon and vegetables like bell pepper and kale.
These are vitamins that are stored in the body’s cells. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, they do not get excreted from the body. At the same time, this vitamin should be maintained at an optimum level in the body as excess vitamin can be toxic. You can acquire fat soluble vitamins through food and external factors.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is crucial for the healthy vision of a person. It also plays a key role in building immunity of the body. The main sources of vitamin A are vegetables like kale, carrot and green leafy vegetables, dairy products like milk and cheese, and meat like the beef liver. A deficiency of vitamin A can affect your vision in the long term.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial for building bone strength and immunity. The main source of vitamin D for the body is sunlight. Besides, your body also gets Vitamin D through food like dairy products, fish and eggs.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can destroy free radicals in the body. Apart from this, it helps build immunity and prevent blood clotting. The main sources of vitamin E are vegetables like spinach and broccoli, fruits like kiwi and mango, and nuts like almonds and peanuts. A deficiency of vitamin E can weaken your immune system and affect your vision and muscles.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K is crucial for the clotting of blood. It reduces the build up of calcium in the body and is vital for bone health. The main sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables like spinach and parsley and dairy products like butter. A lack of adequate vitamin K in the body can affect blood clotting and also reduce bone density.
For the body’s healthy functioning, it is highly essential that you consume a vitamin-rich food. However, maintaining vitamin at the optimum level is also important. While the excess amount of water soluble vitamins will be excreted by the body, this may not be the case with fat-soluble vitamins. Through the proper intake of all types of food and regular physical activities, you can maintain vitamins at the right proportion in the body.