Types of vitamins: functions and benefits for your body

Types of vitamins: functions and benefits for your body

Vitamins are organic compounds with a very heterogeneous structure . They are essential for the body, growth, health and emotional balance.

Unlike other nutrients, for example, protein, carbohydrates or fat, they do not provide energy, but are essential within the body for energy maintenance.

Functions of Vitamins

The vitamins must be ingested through the diet to avoid deficiencies, but there is no single food that contains all the vitamins, so it is necessary to combine the different food groups to be well nourished and cover the requirements of these substances.

Vitamins are nutrients that the body needs to assimilate other nutrients and, in short, the functions of these substances are:

  • Participate in the formation of chemicals of the nervous system and participate in the formation of hormones, red blood cells and genetic material
  • Regulate metabolic systems
  • Are necessary for growth and health

Most vitamins present in food can be eliminated by cooking or by the effect of light, so it is advisable to eat these products fresh.

Classification of vitamins

Vitamins can be classified into two types: water-soluble and fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are present in the watery parts of food . They are absorbed by simple diffusion or active transport. Their excess is excreted in the urine and the body does not have the capacity to store them, so they are easily eliminated. They need to be consumed daily, and can be obtained from fruits, vegetables, milk and meat products.

Water-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamin
  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 or Niacin
  • Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine
  • Vitamin B8 or Biotin
  • Vitamin B9 or Folic acid
  • Vitamin B12 or Cyanocobalamin

Fat-soluble vitamins

These vitamins dissolve in oils and fats and are found in the fat-soluble parts of foods . They are transported in lipids and are difficult to remove. They are obtained from fruits, vegetables, fish, egg yolks and some nuts.

The fat-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin A or Retinol
  • Vitamin D or Calciferol
  • Vitamin E or a-tocopherol
  • Vitamin K or phytomenadione

Functions of Vitamins

The functions of both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins are

Vitamin A

It participates in reproduction, protein synthesis and muscle differentiation . It prevents night blindness and is necessary to maintain the immune system and to maintain the skin and mucous membranes.

  • Nutritional needs 0.8-1mg/day

Some sources of vitamin A are:

  • Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Tuna
  • Bonito
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolk
  • Pumpkin
  • Chard
  • Apricot

Vitamin B1

It is part of a coenzyme involved in energy metabolism , therefore, it is necessary to obtain carbohydrates and fatty acids (ATP). It is also essential for the functioning of the nervous system and the heart.

  • Nutritional needs: 1.5-2mg/day.

Some sources of vitamin B1 are:

  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Cereals
  • Dried fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Yeast
  • Pipes
  • Peanuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

Vitamin B2

It is also involved in the release of energy and is related to the maintenance of good eye and skin health . Its deficit causes skin problems (e.g. dermatitis) and eye symptoms.

  • Nutritional needs: 1.8mg/day

Some sources of vitamin B2 are:

  • Cheese
  • Coconut
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Cereals
  • Milk
  • Meat
  • Yeast
  • Almonds

Vitamin B3

It is part of two coenzymes (NAD and NADP) and therefore is another vitamin involved in the energy metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids. Its deficit causes a disease called “pellagra”, with symptoms such as: skin, digestive and nervous problems (mental confusion, delirium, etc.).

  • Nutritional needs: 15mg/day

Some sources of vitamin B3 are:

  • Wheat
  • Yeast
  • Liver
  • Almonds
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Peas
  • Dried fruit

Vitamin B5

This vitamin is involved in different stages of the synthesis of lipids, neurotransmitters, thyroid hormone and hemoglobin . In addition, it helps with tissue regeneration. Its deficit is associated with two diseases: megaloblastic anaemia and neuropathy.

  • Nutritional needs: 50mg/day

Some sources of vitamin B5 are:

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Royal jelly
  • Egg
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Cauliflower
  • Cereals
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Meat

Vitamin B6

It participates in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids, the formation of hemoglobin and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) . It facilitates the release of glycogen from the liver into the muscles. Determinant in the regulation of the central nervous system.

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  • Nutritional needs: 2.1mg/day

Some sources of vitamin B6:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Chicken
  • Pig
  • Banana
  • Cereals
  • Liver
  • Dried fruit
  • Avocado
  • Eggs

Vitamin B8

It is necessary for the skin and circulatory system , participates in the formation of fatty acids, helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats to maintain stable body temperature and optimal energy levels. Stimulates the growth of healthy cells.

  • Nutritional needs: 0.1mg/day

Some sources of vitamin B8 are:

  • Nuts
  • Peanut
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Chocolate
  • Egg
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Hazelnuts
  • Bananas

Vitamin B9

Necessary for the formation of cells and DNA, and is important for the first month of formation . It acts together with vitamin B12 and vitamin C in the utilization of proteins. It helps to maintain the formation of the intestinal tract (tix

Essential for the creation of blood cells in the bone marrow . It helps prevent anemia and is necessary for the functioning of the nervous system.

  • Nutritional needs: 0.0005mg/day

Some sources of vitamin B12 are:

  • Carrot
  • Tomato
  • Dried fruit
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Brewer’s yeast

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, healing , absorption of iron of plant origin and is also an antioxidant.

  • Nutritional needs: 60-70mg/day

Some sources of vitamin C are:

  • Kiwi
  • Blackberries
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Leek
  • Tomatoes

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is related to sunbathing because it is obtained mostly by the action of ultraviolet rays (sunrays). Lack of this vitamin causes tooth decay and bone malformations. Therefore, its fundamental role is the mineralization of the bones, because it favors the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus.

  • Nutritional needs: 0.01mg/day

In addition to the solar importance in the acquisition of this protein, some sources of vitamin D are

  • Blue fish
  • Egg yolk
  • Liver
  • Egg
  • Mushrooms
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant involved in the protection of lipids , therefore it has a protective effect on cell membranes. In addition, it inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins.

  • Nutritional needs: 0.08mg/day

Some sources of vitamin E are:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Liver
  • Dried fruit
  • Coconut
  • Soya
  • Avocados
  • Blackberries
  • Fish
  • Whole grains

Vitamin K

This vitamin is decisive for the synthesis of numerous coagulation factors , since it reacts with some proteins in charge of the process. It does not need to be stored in large quantities because during its action it regenerates.

  • Nutritional needs: 01.mg/day

Some sources of vitamin K are:

  • Alfalfa
  • Fish liver
  • Cauliflower
  • Egg yolk
  • Soybean oil

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