Vitamin A | Vitamin B | Vitamin C | Vitamin D | Vitamin E | Vitamin K | Vitamin Proverbs and Quotes |

Vitamins for beginners

Vitamins and minerals are substances that are found in foods we eat. Vitamins are organic substances and minerals are inorganic substances. Our body needs vitamins and minerals to work properly. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diet because they contain many vitamins and minerals.
 
There are several different vitamins and each of them plays a special role in the body. Here are some examples:

  • Vitamin A is present in carrots. It is essential for growth and good vision (helps you see at night)
  • Vitamins B (several types of them) are present in leafy green vegetables. They are needed to help the body make proteins and energy.
  • Vitamin C is found in oranges and many other fruits. It helps the body heal if you get a cut.
  • Vitamin D is present in milk. It is good for the development of your bones.

Where in the body are the vitamins?

To understand vitamins we have to know that there are two types: those that are soluble in fat, and those that are soluble in water. Food can contain both types of vitamins.

When you eat foods with fat-soluble vitamins, these will be stored in the fat tissues in the body and in the liver. Here they are stored until the body needs them. Examples of fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.

Some of these fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body fat for just a few days, but others can stay in the body for many months. When the body requires the vitamins, special carriers in the body will transport them to the place where they are needed.

When you eat foods with water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins will not be stored in the body but rather keep moving around in the blood. You body uses a part of them (what it needs) and the rest will quickly disappear from the body through the urine. Examples of these water-soluble vitamins are vitamin B (a big group of vitamins) and C.

As these water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body they need to be replaced regularly.

Why do you need to eat vitamins?

The body cannot make its own vitamins. That's why we have to make sure that the food we eat contains the different vitamins we need. Eating many different kinds of food is a good strategy to make sure that the body gets a good collection of vitamins. It’s possible to take vitamins as food supplements, but it’s better to just eat a rich variety of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Vitamins don’t have real names but are known by a letter. The most important ones are A, B, C, D, E and K. Let’s have a look at individual vitamins in alphabetical order.

Vitamin A

Vitamin AVitamin A (also called retinol) is very important for your eyes, especially for your vision at night. A shortage of Vitamin A can lead to night blindness. This vitamin also plays a role in seeing colors; without it you can’t appreciate the colors of the rainbow. For children this vitamin is especially important to help them grow properly. Another effect of this vitamin is that it helps keeping a healthy skin.

Foods that contain vitamin A:

  • liver
  • orange fruits and vegetables (e.g. carrot, sweet potato, cantaloupe)
  • dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, kale)
  • milk enriched with vitamin A

Vitamin B

Vitamin BThere are several types of vitamin B. Together they are called the vitamin B complex. Individually they are identified by a number. There are now 8 vitamins B:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2, also known as Vitamin G (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3, also known as Vitamin P (niacin, including nicotinic acid and nicotinamide)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7, also known as Vitamin H (biotin)
  • Vitamin B9, also called Vitamin M and Vitamin B-c (folic acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

In the past there was also Vitamin B8 (myo-inositol) but now this is not considered as a vitamin because the human body can synthesize it.

The vitamins B play an important role in metabolism. Metabolism is the process in the body by which food is converted to provide energy and to produce and maintain cells and tissues. The vitamin B complex is also necessary for making red blood cells. Red blood cells are needed to carry oxygen throughout the body. If you don’t have enough red blood you become anemic; the body will be pale, you become weak and listless, without energy.

Food that contains vitamin B:

  • whole grains (e.g. wheat and oats)
  • fish and seafood
  • meats and poultry
  • eggs
  • dairy products (e.g. milk and yogurt)
  • leafy green vegetables
  • beans and peas

Vitamin C

Vitamin CVitamin C is ascorbic acid. It is important for the health of body tissues (e.g. gums and muscles). It also plays a role in healing processes for example when you are cut or wounded. Another function of vitamin C is that it increases resistance against infections. If you lack vitamin C it is much easier to become sick.

Foods that contains vitamin C:

  • citrus fruits (e.g. oranges, tangerine, pomelo, lemon)
  • many other fruits (e.g. cantaloupe, strawberry, kiwi fruit)
  • tomato
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • sweet red peppers
  • chili peppers

Vitamin D

Vitamin DVitamin D is important because it helps the body to absorb calcium. Calcium is a mineral that the body needs to keep strong bones and strong teeth. There are two major forms of Vitamin D, which are called vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 can be produced by the body in skin exposed to sunlight.

Food that contains vitamin D:

  • milk enriched with vitamin D
  • fish
  • eggs (the yolk of the egg)
  • liver

Vitamin E

Vitamin EVitamin E is important for maintaining many body tissues (e.g. eyes, lungs, skin, liver). It also plays a role in making enough red blood cells. Another name for vitamin E is tocopherol.

Food that contains vitamin E:

  • whole grains (e.g. wheat, oats)
  • green leafy vegetables
  • nuts and seeds
  • egg (the yolk of the egg)
  • sardines

Vitamin F

No such vitamin.

Vitamin G

Vitamin G is a substance called Riboflavin. It is also known as Vitamin B2.

Vitamin H

Vitamin H is a substance called biotin. It is also know as Vitamin B7.

Vitamin I

No such vitamin.

Vitamin J

No such vitamin.

Vitamin K

Vitamin KVitamin K is important because it helps stop the bleeding when you are wounded. Some blood cells then act as a type of glue and stick together at the surface of the wound to stop the flowing of the blood.

Food that contains vitamin K:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • dairy products (e.g. milk and yogurt)
  • soybean oil
  • broccoli

Vitamins L to Z

Vitamin K is the last in the list but vitamins M and P exist as synonyms for two of the B vitamins. Vitamin M is a substance called Folate (folic acid), also known as Vitamin B9. Vitamin P (or Vitamin PP) is a substance called Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3.

Proverbs

  • The best vitamin for a Christian is B1
  • The best vitamin for making friends: B1
  • Beer contains Vitamin Pee
  • My mom, she's an herbal vitamin freak (Taryn Manning)
  • A vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don't eat it.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Conclusion

Knowing the importance of all these vitamins, make sure that you always eat a healthy diet with a lot of variation including plenty of fruits and vegetables.