What are vitamins, and how do they work?

You might be thinking that vitamins are only needed for healthy people, but the truth is you can’t live without them. Most of your body’s nutrients come from food–and if they don’t exist in what we eat then their absence will show up as an illness or deficiency later on down the road!

A lot of these “vitamins” actually come hidden within other foods like fruit juice concentrate (which isn’t really a vitamin at all), so it makes sense why our bodies need small quantities each day: just enough to keep things running smoothly without causing any harm.

Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. The difference is in how they’re absorbed into your body. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are excreted through urine, so you need a fresh supply every day. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body’s fatty tissue and liver, so you don’t need them as frequently.

There are 13 essential vitamins: Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate).

Vitamin A is important for vision, skin, and bone growth. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy, and helps the body absorb iron.

Vitamin D strengthens bones and helps the body use calcium. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Vitamin K helps blood clot. The B vitamins are important for energy metabolism, cell growth, and blood formation.

You can get most of the vitamins you need from a healthy diet. Some people, however, might need to take vitamin supplements. This includes people with certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, pregnant women, and older adults. People who don’t eat meat or poultry, or who only eat small amounts, might also need to take vitamin B12 supplements.

You can get too much of some vitamins from supplements or from fortified foods and cereals. Taking too much of certain vitamins can be harmful. For example, too much vitamin A can cause liver damage, birth defects, and bone loss. Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.

Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to function properly. You get most of the vitamins you need from the foods you eat. Some vitamins are also available as supplements. Taking too much of certain vitamins can be harmful.

Benefits of Vitamins

Vitamins have many roles in the body and are essential for good health. For example, vitamins A, D, and E are antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. vitamins C and B12 help make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.

  • Build strong bones and teeth
  • Heal cuts and wounds
  • Keep your eyes, skin, and hair healthy
  • Boost your immune system
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Help convert food into energy
  • Risks of Vitamin Supplements

You might think that taking a vitamin supplement will help you stay healthy, but in some cases, taking too much of certain vitamins can be harmful. For example, too much vitamin A can cause liver damage, birth defects, and bone loss. Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.

Vitamin supplements can also interact with certain medications. For example, taking a vitamin E supplement might increase the risk of bleeding if you take a blood-thinning medication.

To avoid the risks of vitamin supplements, get your vitamins from the foods you eat. If you think you need a supplement, talk to your doctor before taking one.

Vitamins are important nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to function properly. You usually get most of the vitamins you need from the foods you eat. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from all the food groups.

You might need a vitamin supplement if you:

Have certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease

  • Are pregnant
  • Are a vegetarian or vegan
  • Are older than 50 years
  • Have dark skin
  • Don’t eat meat or poultry, or only eat small amounts
  • Have trouble absorbing nutrients from food
  • Are at risk for certain vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin D deficiency
Talk to your doctor about whether you might need a vitamin supplement.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for vision, skin, and bone growth. You can get vitamin A from foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, eggs, and milk.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for red blood cell production and nervous system function. You can get vitamin B12 from foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Some people might need to take a vitamin B12 supplement if they don’t eat these foods or if their body can’t absorb vitamin B12 from food.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for immune system function and collagen production. You can get vitamin C from foods such as oranges, strawberries, kale, broccoli, and tomatoes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for bone health and calcium absorption. You can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, from certain foods such as fatty fish, and from supplements. Some people might need to take a vitamin D supplement if they don’t get enough exposure to sunlight or if their diet doesn’t include enough vitamin D-rich foods.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage. You can get vitamin E from foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, and avocados.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. You can get vitamin K from foods such as leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

At the end of the day, vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to function properly. A healthy diet should include a variety of foods from all the food groups. However, you might need a vitamin supplement if you have certain medical conditions or don’t eat enough nutrient-rich foods. Talk to your doctor about whether you might need a vitamin supplement.

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