What are vitamins and how do they work?

Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small amounts to maintain life. Most vitamins must come from food.

This is because the human body either doesn't make enough or doesn't make any.

Each body has different needs for vitamins. For example, humans need to consume vitamin C or ascorbic acid, but dogs do not. Dogs can produce, or synthesize, enough vitamin C for their own needs, but humans cannot.

People need to get most of their vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, because it is not available in large enough amounts in food. However, the human body can synthesize it when exposed to sunlight.

Different vitamins have different functions and are needed in different amounts.

This year's best vitamin brands:

We present you a complete selection of the vitamins and vitamin complexes best valued by users. Discover them!

Myths and facts about vitamin supplements

Myths and facts of vitamin supplements. As we are about to start the year and with it new purposes, such as going on a diet, joining the gym or becoming vegetarian or vegan, today I want to talk to you about something that can help you if these are your purposes for the new year: Vitamin supplements.


These are the different types of vitamins.

Vitamin A
Chemical names: retinol, retinal, and four carotenoids, including beta-carotene.

It is soluble in fat.
The deficiency can cause night blindness and keratomalacia, an eye disorder that results in a dry cornea.
Some good sources are: liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, some cheeses, egg, apricot, melon, and milk.

Vitamin B1
Chemical name: thiamine.

It is soluble in water.

Deficiency can cause beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Some good sources are: yeast, pork, cereals, sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin B2
Chemical name: Riboflavin

It is soluble in water
Deficiency can cause ariboflavinosis
Some good sources are: asparagus, bananas, persimmons, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans.

Vitamin B3
Chemical names: Niacin, niacinamide

It is soluble in water.
The deficiency can cause pellagra, with symptoms of diarrhea, dermatitis, and mental disorders.
Good sources include: liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, fish (tuna, salmon), milk, eggs, avocados, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, whole grains, legumes. , mushrooms and brewer's yeast.

Vitamin B5
Chemical name: pantothenic acid

It is soluble in water.
The deficiency can cause paresthesia or "tingling."
Some good sources are: meats, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, royal jelly, and fish roe.

Vitamin B6
Chemical names: pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal

It is soluble in water.
Deficiency can cause anemia, peripheral neuropathy, or damage to parts of the nervous system other than the brain and spinal cord.
Good sources include: meats, bananas, whole grains, vegetables, and nuts.

Vitamin B7
Chemical name: biotin

it is soluble in water.
The deficiency can cause dermatitis or enteritis or inflammation of the intestine.
Good sources include: egg yolk, liver, some vegetables.

Vitamin B9
Chemical names: folic acid, folinic acid

It is soluble in water.
Deficiency during pregnancy is related to birth defects. Pregnant women are encouraged to supplement folic acid throughout the year before becoming pregnant.
Good sources include: leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, baker's yeast, some fortified cereal products, and sunflower seeds. Several fruits have moderate amounts, just like beer.

B12 vitamin
Chemical names: cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin

It is soluble in water.
The deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia, a condition in which the bone marrow produces immature, abnormal, and unusually large red blood cells.
Good sources include: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, some fortified cereals and soy products, and fortified nutritional yeast.
Vegans are advised to take B12 supplements.

Vitamin C
Chemical name: ascorbic acid

It is soluble in water.
The deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia.
Good sources include: fruits and vegetables. Kakadu plum and camu camu fruit have the highest vitamin C content of all foods. The liver also has high levels. Cooking destroys vitamin C.

Vitamin D
Chemical names: Ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol.

It is soluble in fat.
The deficiency can cause rickets and osteomalacia, or softening of the bones.
Good Sources: Exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays through sunlight or other sources causes vitamin D to be produced in the skin. It is also found in fatty fish, eggs, beef liver, and mushrooms.

Vitamin E
Chemical names: tocopherols, tocotrienols

It is soluble in fat.
Deficiency is rare, but can cause hemolytic anemia in newborns. This is a disease in which blood cells are destroyed and removed from the blood too soon.
Some good sources are: kiwi, almonds, avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, green leafy vegetables, unheated vegetable oils, wheat germ, and whole grains.

Vitamin K
Chemical names: phylloquinone, menaquinones

It is soluble in fat.
The deficiency can cause bleeding diathesis, an unusual susceptibility to bleeding.
Good sources include: green leafy vegetables, avocado, kiwi. Parsley contains a lot of vitamin K.

Can vitamins and minerals compensate for a poor diet?

Healthy foods provide us with nutrients in a balanced and complete way so that our body can absorb them. Nutritional needs must be met primarily with food. People should try to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods that contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other natural substances that have positive health effects.

Food supplements such as vitamins can provide excessive or insufficient amounts of some nutrients. The reality is that a pill can never replace the benefits of a diet that includes some fruit and lots of fresh vegetables and some high-quality meat, eggs, fish, dairy, and fat. For more information on healthy eating, you should consult your doctor.

Who needs to take vitamins in supplement form?

Most of us can get everything we need from diet; however, there are specific situations in which a supplement may be beneficial:

During the childbearing years, it is recommended that women who are or may become pregnant take a folic acid supplement, eat foods fortified with folic acid, or both. This is important to reduce the risk of certain birth defects, which often occur before a woman knows she is pregnant. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid. Look for brands with methyl folate, a more absorbable form of folate.

Pregnant women and teenage girls are at a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia. A simple blood test can diagnose this condition, which is reversible with dietary changes or an iron supplement.

Older people, nursing babies, and people with dark skin may need vitamin D supplements. People with liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Crohn's disease may also need it. Finally, those who are obese or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery may need additional vitamin D. Since the northern countries lack sunlight during the winter it can be difficult to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D, many doctors perform a blood test to help determine if a vitamin D supplement is necessary.

People with multiple food allergies or a vegan diet may benefit from a multivitamin / multimineral. For example, vegans should supplement with vitamin B12 because animal foods are the main dietary source of this essential nutrient.

Older people can benefit from taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which become more difficult to obtain in adequate amounts from food as we age.

People who consume very restrictive, low-calorie diets due to poor appetite, drug and alcohol use, or an eating disorder may need supplements to reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition.

Bariatric surgery can affect your ability to absorb some nutrients, increasing the risk of malnutrition. Your doctor will work with you to ensure good nutritional status after surgery.

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