6 Essential Vitamins and What They Can Do for You

Close-up of a pill bottle

Vitamins are organic compounds that help a person’s growth as well as provide nutrition. They also aid in a person’s metabolism.

In other words, vitamins are essential in a person’s diet because they cannot be synthesized in the body. They can be provided by various food items or through a dietary supplement.

Here are six essential vitamins and what they can do for you.


Classification


There are two types of vitamins: the water-soluble and fat-soluble. 

Let’s discuss:

Water-soluble vitamins are those that easily dissolve in water. These are also easily expelled from the body through waste like sweat and urine. 

They should be taken more regularly because of the ease by which they can be excreted. 

On the other hand

Fat-soluble vitamins are those that are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the aid of fats through what is known as a lipid. 

Here are six essential vitamins and what they do:


1. Vitamin A


This is a fat-soluble compound with many health benefits. 

For one, it is good for the eyes.

In fact

Among the effects of the lack of vitamin A is night blindness. This condition is known as nyctalopia. 

The same goes for age-related eye disease. Those considered to be at an advanced age need beta-carotene supplement in order to reduce the risk of getting the disease. 

Another thing:

Vitamin A is good for your immune system. Deficiency of vitamin A will result in a possible delay in recovery when sick. 

It is also said that vitamin A reduces susceptibility to acne. 

Breakfast being cooked

Other benefits:

This vitamin is also good for your bones especially in terms of growth and strength. This means that those who don’t have enough vitamin A in their system may have a harder time treating bone fracture. 

It is also good for growth and reproduction.

Sources:

Vitamin A is found in both plants and animals that we eat. Compounds found in animals are called preformed vitamin A, while those sourced from plants are called provitamin A.

  • Preformed vitamin A is the active form that is found in red meat, chicken, fish and dairy products. Among those considered as vitamin A are retinal, retinol and retinoic acid. 
  • Provitamin A is the inactive form found in plants. Among those considered are the carotenoids: alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin. 

Carotenoids are transformed into the active form in the body. 

Recommended daily dosage:

  • 900 micrograms for men
  • 700 mcg for women
  • 300 to 600 mcg for children and teenagers

Too much vitamin A

Remember that it is a fat-soluble vitamin so it stays in the system longer. 

Excess vitamin A may lead to nausea and dizziness. It may also result in headaches and other pain. 

Hypervitaminosis A could be due over consumption of supplements and medication, and rarely, due to overeating of animal-based food rich in vitamin A.


2. Vitamin C


If there is such a thing, this would be the most popular vitamin in the world! It is an essential vitamin with so many health benefits. 

It is water-soluble, so you can take as many vitamin C-rich food–and there are many of them–as you can without risks. You may also take dietary supplements regularly. 

Let’s check out the benefits!

Vitamin C contains powerful antioxidants that will strengthen the body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants also boost the immune system.

It can also manage high blood pressure. 

News flash:

High-blood pressure is one of the leading morbidity in the world. Vitamin C can help manage high-blood pressure, which could lead to heart disease. 

In essence, vitamin C also lowers the risk of having a heart disease. 

Then 

Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, which is an important nutrient that is essential in the creation of red blood cells as well as the distribution of oxygen throughout the body. 

There is also proof that vitamin C can shorten the healing period of wounds.

Take note:

Vitamin C also aids people with their memory especially as we grow older.  

Source:

  • Bell pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Orange
  • Spinach
  • Strawberry
Cut lemon

Recommended daily dosage:

  • 75 milligrams for women
  • 90 mg for men

Too much vitamin C

You will rarely experience the ill effects of too much vitamin C because you can easily excrete this when you sweat and when you pee. 

However, if you do take over 2,000 mg of vitamin C supplements at once, you might experience some digestive problems. You may also have diarrhea and nausea. 


3. Vitamin D


Vitamin D is unique in the sense that it is something the body produces due to sun exposure, as opposed to something we just take. Essentially, it is not a vitamin but a prohormone. 

Still, this can be boosted by taking supplements.

Let’s begin

Vitamin D is good for the bones because it regulates the calcium in the blood as well as the maintenance of phosphorous levels. 

So if you have osteoporosis and other bone diseases, chances are you don’t have enough vitamin D in the system. 

In addition

This vitamin reduces the risk of getting the flu. 

Also, it is good for pregnant women as it reduces the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. 

Lady sunbathing

Sources:

As mentioned, vitamin D is something you can produce with the aid of sunlight. However, you can also get it from the following:

  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolk
  • Fatty fish
  • Fortified milk
  • Mushroom

Recommended daily dosage:

  • 10 micrograms for infants
  • 15 mcg for children and adults
  • 20 mcg for those over 70 years old 

Too much vitamin D

If you are taking too many vitamin D supplements, you could experience the over calcification of bones plus hardening of organs. 

This could result in headache and nausea. 


4. Vitamin E


This vitamin is popular because it is good for the skin. It does that by protecting the cells from any kind of damage. 

As a result, you can enjoy healthy skin. 

Look

There aren’t a lot of listed health problems related to vitamin E deficiency. Cystic fibrosis is one of the few, as well as some digestive problems. 

Sources

Vitamin E is fat-soluble so it would be better to take it from food. However, there are also vitamin E supplements available if you can’t get enough of it from food. 

Food rich in vitamin E:

  • Fortified cereal
  • Egg
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Nut
  • Vegetable oil

Recommended daily dosage:

  • 6  to 11 milligrams for children 1 to 13 years old
  • 15 mg for 14 years old and above
  • 19 mg for lactating mothers

Too much vitamin E

Excess vitamin E in the system may cause bleeding, fatigue, headache and nausea. 


5. Vitamin K


This is important in terms of blood function. It can help deal with blood clot and can prevent a person from bleeding too much. 

Unlike most vitamins, this one is not usually available in the form of a dietary supplement. 

Take a closer look

Being deficient in vitamin K is not something common among people. Among the diseases that can be traced to the lack of this specific vitamin are celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. 

Deficiency of this vitamin may also lead to malnourishment and the difficulty in absorption of medication. 

Cheese being grated

Source:

  • Cheese
  • Egg
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Meat

Recommended daily dosage:

  • 2 to 2.5 micrograms for infants
  • 30 to 60 mcg for children
  • 75 mcg for teenagers
  • 90 mcg for adult women
  • 120 mcg for adult men

6. Thiamine (B1)


There are eight vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex. One of them is thiamine, which is also known as vitamin B1.

When it comes to supplements, you usually get the vitamin B complex. 

But let’s be specific

This is about thiamine!

This is an important vitamin so that the body can properly utilize carbohydrates. 

Not only that

This essential vitamin actually aids all tissues of the body to function properly. It is called B1 because it was the first vitamin B discovered by scientists. 

It is water-soluble, which means it can convert thiamine-carrying food to energy. 

If you don’t have enough

It could lead to improper function of the brain, heart and nervous system. 

Thiamine deficiency may increase a person’s risk of getting beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. 

Pregnant woman eating doughnut in kitchen

Source:

  • Bean
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Legume
  • Lentil
  • Nut
  • Pasta
  • Pea
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Rice

Recommended daily dosage:

  • 1.1 milligrams for women
  • 1.2 mg for women
  • 1.4 mg for pregnant and lactating mothers

Summary


You can get these essential vitamins in your diet! So when you eat the right types of food, you can have the proper intake of essential vitamins. 

For water-soluble vitamins, they have to be taken regularly because they are easily excreted in the body. If your diet doesn’t have enough vitamins A, B1, C, D, E and K, then you should take dietary supplements. 

Every vitamin has a different set of benefits. If you want an overall nutritional and metabolic result, you have to take in these essential vitamins and more. 


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