About Vitamins

There are thirteen vitamins which are classified into two groups:

  • Water soluble vitamins and
  • Fat soluble vitamins.

1. Water Soluble Vitamins

Water soluble vitamins are easily absorbed by the body and in most cases are not stored in the body. They therefore need to be taken daily. The body excretes any excess of these vitamins via the kidneys into the urine.

WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINUSESFOOD SOURCES
Vitamin B Group
B1 (Thiamine)Essential for proper energy production in every cell in the body, especially the heart and the brain.cheese, cocoa, eggs, green vegetables, milk, nuts, pork, sunflower seeds, wheat.
B2 (Riboflavine)Helps ensure a steady supply of energy as wells as aids the body in producing infection fighting immune cells. It converts vitamins B3 and B6 into the active form and works with iron to manufacture red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body.cheese, cocoa, eggs, green vegetables, milk, nuts, pork, sunflower seeds, wheat.
B3 (Niacin)Niacin is needed to release the energy from carbohydrates and is involved in controlling blood sugar. It also helps to keep the skin healthy and helps to maintain the nervous and digestive systems. The body produces Niacin from the tryptophan found in egg, milk and poultry.beef, cheese, cocoa, eggs, fish, green vegetables, milk, nuts, poultry, sunflower seeds, wheat.
B6 (Pyridoxine)Vitamin B6 performs more than 100 jobs in the body. It acts primarily as a co-enzyme, a substance that acts together with enzyme reactions to speed up chemical processes in the body cells.bananas, cheese, chickpeas, cocoa, eggs, fish, green vegetables, meats, milk, nuts, rice(brown), soya beans, sunflower seeds, wheat.
B12 (Cyanocobalamine)Is essential for cellular division, DNA production, red blood cell production. It is the only B vitamin that can be stored by the body, mainly in the liver.beans, fish, meat, poultry, spinach, wheat cereals, yoghurt.
Folate (Folic Acid)Cellular division, DNA production, building muscle, red blood cell production.beans, fish, meat, orange juice, poultry, spinach, wheat cereals, yoghurt.
BiotinHelps to improve the quality of weak and brittle nails and may help slow hair loss. It works together with pantothenic acid to produce enzymes that trigger many bodily functions.cheese, cocoa, eggs, green vegetables, legumes, liver, milk, nuts, oatmeal, pork, rice, soya products, sunflower seeds, wheat.
Pantothenic AcidIt works together with Biotin to produce enzymes that trigger many bodily functions. Also helps the body deal with stress by maintaining proper communication between the brain and the nervous system.cheese, cocoa, eggs, green vegetables, legumes, liver, milk, nuts, oatmeal, pork, rice, soya products, sunflower seeds, wheat.
Vitamin CAnti-oxidant, immune booster, iron absorption, collagen production, helps to strengthen blood capillaries.broccoli, kiwifruit, oranges, papaya, potato, red peppers, strawberries.

2.  Fat Soluble Vitamins

Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed by the body together with fat. The body stores these vitamins, in the liver and in the body fat to use when needed, and therefore one can overdose on these vitamins.

FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINUSESFOOD SOURCES
Vitamin A (Retinoids)Is best known for its ability to maintain vision, especially night vision. Is vital for normal reproduction, growth and development.almonds, carrots, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, liver, milk products, sunflower seeds, yellow fruits.
Vitamin DEssential for bone and tooth strength, helps calcium and phosphorus absorption.Can be made by the body when exposed to sunlight, butter, eggs, liver, fatty fish e.g. salmon, mackerel.
Vitamin E (Alpha tocopherols)Is an anti-oxidant, helps to protect cell membranes.almonds, carrots, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, liver, milk products, sunflower seeds, vegetables, wheat germ, yellow fruits.
Vitamin KEssential for blood clotting.broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, spinach.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

Each vitamin has a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) which is the amount of that vitamin needed daily by the average person to keep healthy. Taking too much of a vitamin can be harmful to the health although one has to take huge amounts of the water soluble vitamins to do any harm.

Vitamin Supplements

The best way to get sufficient vitamins is to eat a balanced diet of fresh organic food. Unfortunately, modern farming methods as well as storage of foodstuff on the way to the stores, tends to destroy much of the goodness in the food. Also with today’s hectic lifestyle most people do not get to eat a balanced diet. It is therefore probably prudent to take a vitamin supplement.