Understanding Vitamins & Their Health Benefits (+ How They Work)

B12

Vitamin C

This is perhaps the most regularly recognized vitamin, associated with curing colds and flus and being the ultimate medicine for the immune system. While that’s a very simplified analysis and not totally accurate, it does have merit. Vitamin C on its own cannot work miracles – there are layers involved in how it works. In brief, each vitamin needs other nutrients in order for the body to absorb and use it to its full potential, and we’ll delve more into that later in this post. What vitamin C is particularly useful for, other than strengthening the immune system and fighting infections, is helping the body produce collagen, providing structure to blood vessels, bones and ligaments, and detoxifying pollutants. Deficiency symptoms can include tender or bleeding gums, frequent colds and infections, lethargy, nosebleeds and megaloblastic anemia.

Vitamin C

Best Food Sources

Everyone knows citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes are rich in vitamin C. In fact, most fruit and vegetables have vitamin C. Fruits with the highest levels of vitamin C are actually some lesser-known ones – the Kakadu plum and camu cam. Other food sources include cabbage, capsicum, kiwi fruit, peas, melons, tomatoes, strawberries, watercress and broccoli.

Vitamin D (Ergocalciferol)

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, important for maintaining calcium stability in the body. It therefore helps maintain strong, healthy bones. It is also involved in keeping the immune system functioning and healthy. Deficiency symptoms may include joint stiffness, tooth decay, muscle cramps and loss of hair.

Vitamin D

Best Food Sources

As most people know, vitamin D can be absorbed from the sun. However, there are, of course, risks associated with this method, including melanoma and premature ageing of the skin. The essential nutrient can also be found in some food sources, including fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, as well as oranges, beef liver, soy milk, cheese, eggs, mushrooms and cottage cheese.

Vitamin E (Tocopherols)

Another fat soluble vitamin, tocopherols is important for preventing blood clots and thrombosis, and protecting cells from damage. Vitamin E is good for the skin and may also improve fertility, speed up wound healing and improve the body’s use of oxygen. A vitamin E deficiency is uncommon, but symptoms my include exhaustion following light exercise, easy bruising, slow wound healing and varicose veins.

Vitamin E

Best Food Sources

Try sunflower seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, wheat germ, tuna, sardines, salmon, sweet potato, beans, almonds, avocado, almonds, eggs and kiwi fruit for your vitamin E boost!

Vitamin K

Lastly, vitamin K helps control blood clotting, and is important for bone health. It also assists in preventing heart disease and reducing neural damage. Deficiency symptoms may include hemorrhages, anemia, easy bruising and nosebleeds.

Vitamin K

Best Food Sources

Foods rich in vitamin K include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beans, watercress, milk, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes and peas.

How Vitamins Work Together

Certain nutrients need other nutrients in order for the human body to absorb them and use them. Vitamins and minerals often work together to perform different functions. Vitamin D, for example, regulates calcium balance, and you need both the vitamin and the mineral (calcium) for healthy bone mass. So, you could eat a meal that contains egg, which has lots of vitamin D, with kale, which has a good dose of calcium, as an example. By consuming those two foods together, you will increase the benefits of the vitamin and mineral.

Vitamin C and iron is another good pairing example. Vitamin C assists with iron absorption in the body. That is essential for preventing anemia. So, you can simply eat some raw vegetables and fruit along with an iron-rich food, like meat, in order to reap that benefit.

Vitamin C

Vitamin B12 and folate is an example of two vitamins working together to benefit the body. Folate needs B12 to be absorbed, stored and used in the body. Together, they support some of the most important cell productivity in the body, which is essential for normal function and growth. To get these two minerals working together is quite simple – you can just pair B12-rich food, like meat or eggs, with folate-rich fare, such as leafy green vegetables or beans. That makes for a pretty straightforward and common meal! Vegans, however, may struggle to consume adequate amounts of B12. If vegans have symptoms of a B12 deficiency, such as anemia, it may be necessary to take a natural supplement or try to consume B12-fortified vegan foods. Although, be aware that anemia could be a sign of an iron deficiency as well, so it may be necessary to increase intake of that mineral at the same time.

P.S. Take a look at the 5 veggies that boost female metabolism and burn off lower belly fat.

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4 Comments

  1. Shivi says:

    Excellent details on vitamins and its different types. This guide can be very helpful for those who are working hard to cut down the calories and stick to a healthy diet.

  2. Mike says:

    Thank You Very Much !!! Great Information !

  3. Good to see the food sources referenced but otherwise very out-dated information.

    Our foods are falling in nutritional quality and fast. Over the last 50 years we have seen some entire classes of nutrients disappear. For example, fruits were once a good source of fat soluble antioxidants but these are gone. The transition of wild or near-wild food to agriculture has seen blueberries lose half their antioxidants and vitamin C is one of the most sensitive vitamins and often the first to go.

    Some minerals are also lacking in promotion that their counterparts get. We all get scammed that calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones but how many elderly people do you know who have consumed milk all their lives and still suffer a broken hip after a fall? We need less calcium and more magnesium along with a host of the alphabet vitamins and other antioxidants to get strong bones.

    In fact, nutritional scientists now talk of vitamin capacity rather than just the vitamin in isolation. The pairings in the article short-change our understanding. For example, for vitamin C to actually work as it is needed, consumption of high vitamin C foods also need to provide hundreds of bioflavenoids and folates, fat soluble vitamins E and D, other vitamins and co-factors and various minerals of which iron is just one.

    What does this mean?

    Sure, we need to get our nutrition from whole foods rather than pills of isolated synthetic chemicals. But we actively need to consume organically grown or wild harvested wild and near-wild foods to supplement the rubbish produce we buy today.

    For anyone wanting to know more, I have written up the finding of my last 32 years of research on and exploration of wild foods in my book, Wild Foods; Looking back 60,000 years for clues to our future survival.

  4. elena says:

    Excellent details on vitamins and its different types. This guide can be very helpful for those who are working hard to cut down the calories and stick to a healthy diet.
    http://www.centeracne.com/

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