As humans, we need vitamins to function at peak levels. Whether it is to help our immune system fight off illnesses or to give us the energy we need to make it through the day, our bodies require these essential nutrients to thrive. However, with so many vitamins on the market, it can be overwhelming to understand what each one does and how much of it we need. In this A-to-Z guide to vitamins, we will break down everything you need to know.
Vitamin A: Helps maintain healthy vision, skin, and immune function. Found in foods such as carrots, sweet potato, and spinach.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Aids in converting food into energy and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Found in foods such as whole grains, beans, and nuts.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Helps with energy production, maintaining healthy skin, and preventing anaemia. Found in foods such as milk, yogurt, and leafy greens.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Essential for the nervous system, converting food into energy, and maintaining healthy skin. Found in foods such as chicken, fish, and peanuts.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Helps the body convert food into energy and maintain a healthy digestive system. Found in foods such as sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and avocados.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Aids in producing neurotransmitters, maintaining healthy red blood cells, and helping the body utilize protein. Found in foods such as bananas, poultry, and fish.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Helps to convert food into energy and maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails. Found in foods such as egg yolks, almonds, and spinach.
Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid): Critical for healthy fetal development, essential in preventing birth defects. Found in foods such as leafy greens, fortified cereals, and lentils.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Necessary for creating red blood cells and nerves, as well as producing DNA. Found in foods such as meat, seafood, and dairy.
Vitamin C: An antioxidant that helps fight infection, maintain healthy skin and bones, and supports the immune system. Found in foods such as citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers.
Vitamin D: Helps to maintain strong bones and teeth, supports the immune system, and can prevent depression. Found in foods such as salmon, mushrooms, and fortified orange juice, but is most commonly produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, supports the immune system, and maintains healthy skin. Found in foods such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and avocado.
Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting and helps the body utilize calcium. Found in foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
In conclusion, understanding the A-to-Z guide of vitamins can be a helpful tool in ensuring that you are getting the necessary nutrients you need for optimal health. However, it’s important to note that obtaining vitamins through whole, nutrient-dense foods is the best way to get the nutrients your body requires. While taking supplements may be necessary for some individuals, a well-balanced diet can provide most of the vitamins needed for good health. Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regime, to ensure you are taking appropriate and safe amounts.