Vitamin up your life

As a nutrition major, I’m constantly hearing about the importance of vitamins and minerals in our diets.

They promote immunity, regulate metabolism and boost overall health. But with so many vitamins out there and their various health benefits, it can be difficult to keep them all straight.

This week, I’ll flesh out which vitamins do what, and what natural sources provide them.

Vitamin C

            Vitamin C, as well as the B vitamins, are a water-soluble vitamin, meaning they dissolve in water, and therefore require daily replenishment from food, according to the FitDay website.

Fat-soluble vitamins on the other hand, including Vitamins A, D, E and K, are stored in the liver if in excess in the body, and therefore do not need daily replenishment, according to the website.

            Vitamin C is very important in holding the cells of the body together. It helps with various healing processes, strengthens blood vessels and is extremely significant in immune system function, according to the National Library of Medicine.

            Vitamin C may also play an antioxidant role, which could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Citrus fruits, including oranges and grapefruits, are potent sources of Vitamin C, according to the National Library of Medicine.

   B Vitamins

            The B vitamins are a group of eight different vitamins that play vital roles in cell metabolism, according to the National Institutes of Health.

            These substances are critical in the process of the body’s conversion of food to energy. Many of the vitamins in this family can be found in dark leafy greens, beans and peas, according to the website.

          

Vitamin A

            Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, teeth and skeletal and soft tissue. It is also very important for vision and may play a role in breastfeeding and reproduction, according to the National Library of Medicine.

            Vitamin A can be found in many animal sources just as milk, cheese, eggs and meat. For all those vegans out there, Vitamin A can also be found in some plant sources, such as broccoli and many dark leafy greens, according to the website.

           

Vitamin D     

            Vitamin D functions to help the body absorb calcium, which is essential for strong, healthy bone development, according to the National Library of Medicine.

            The body can make Vitamin D naturally when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight, according to the website.

            Vitamin D is found in few food sources, but can be found in moderate amounts in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, according to the website.

           

Vitamin E

            Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and plays important roles in immune system function as well as in many metabolic processes, according to the National Library of Medicine.

            Vitamin E is also rumored to help lower the risk of developing certain types of cancers, but clinical studies haven’t confirmed its efficacy in that role, according to the website.

            Sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, according to the website.

Vitamin K

            Vitamin K is vital in the synthesis of proteins involved in blood clotting. It also helps in forming and maintaining strong bones and body tissues.

            Vitamin K can be found in leafy greens and dark berries, according to the National Institutes of Health.