Human life cannot be sustained without a full complement of the essential vitamins. In fact, the deficiency of any one vitamin can cause diseases that can only be cured by ingestion and absorption of that vitamin!
THE TWO TYPES OF VITAMINS
There are two types of vitamins - fat soluble and water soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, meaning they dissolve in fat and can be stored in your body.
Water soluble vitamins can't be stored in your body. Any of these vitamins that aren't processed immediately as they move through your system are lost through urination. For this reason, it is important that you have a continuous supply of these vitamins on a daily basis!
WHAT ARE THE RECOGNIZED VITAMINS?
In the USA the following are officially listed as vitamins:
- Folate (Folic Acid)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins, while the remaining vitamins are water soluble.
WHAT DO VITAMINS DO FOR US?
Each vitamin plays a different role to play in keeping your body strong and healthy!
Vitamin A is important to good eyesight, and also boosts your immune system. Rich sources of Vitamin A include: dark green leafy vegetables, orange fruits and vegetables, liver, and milk fortified with Vitamin A.
The B Vitamins
The following vitamins are considered a part of the "B Vitamin" complex: B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid. B vitamins are important to the proper functioning of your metabolism. In other words, they create energy and then release it when your body needs it. Rich sources of B Vitamins include: beans and peas, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, eggs, poultry and meats, fish and seafood, and whole grains.
Vitamin C is very important for keeping your body tissues in good working order. It helps tissues heal if damaged, and also helps your body fight infection. Rich sources of Vitamin C include: citrus fruits, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries.
Vitamin D helps keep your bones and teeth strong, and assists your body in the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is created in your skin, so it is important that you get enough sunlight (don't forget the sunblock, though!). Other rich sources of Vitamin D include: liver, egg yolks, fortified cereal, fish, and milk fortified with Vitamin D.
Vitamin E also helps protect your cells and tissues from damage. Additionally, it plays an important part in keeping your red blood cells healthy. Rich sources of Vitamin E include: wheat germ, nuts and seeds, egg yolks, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and vegetable oils.
Vitamin K plays an important part in enabling blood clotting. Rich sources of Vitamin K include broccoli, dairy products, soybean oil, and leafy green vegetables.
HOW TO GET ALL THE VITAMINS YOU NEED
You've seen how important vitamins are to the development and maintenance of a healthy body. The best way to get all the vitamins you need is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. A healthy diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean red meats, fish, and poultry. A daily vitamin supplement capsule can also help ensure all your vitamin needs are met.
Earl Mindell's New Vitamin Bible
One of the best resource guides on vitamins/supplements! Includes information on how to maximize the effectiveness of your vitamins/supplements and avoid problems by taking them in the right combinations, new warnings about potentially drug interactions, expanded sections on nutraceuticals, homeopathy and aromatherapy, and information on how to personalize your dietary regimen to fit your lifestyle and health profile.
Nutrient A-Z: A User's Guide to Foods, Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements
This book is an excellent quick reference guide to vitamins, minerals and other food supplements. Each entry provides a definition, i.e. what it is, where it comes from, the form it takes, how to prepare or take it, the medicinal and health benefits and the recommended daily use.
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