Vitamins are organic substances that are necessary for normal health and growth in both animals and humans. If a vitamin is absent from the diet, or we don’t properly absorb it, a specific deficiency disease may develop. Even worse, our entire body may start a decline that, over a period of years, may develop into a very serious disease such as, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.
In this article, we are going to take a deeper look into Vitamins and how to incorporate them into your like for better health & wellbeing
Discovery & History Of Vitamins
That there is a relationship between what we eat and specific disease was first noted by the Englishman William Fletcher in 1905 while researching the causes of the disease beriberi. He observed that the disease was prevented by eating unpolished rather than polished rice. He concluded that the husk of rice must have special nutrients, which we know today as vitamins.
Even before they had scientific evidence, people recognized the need for vitamins. The most common example of this is shown in the British Navy. During long trips, they discovered that eating limes helped prevent an illness that was pervasive among the sailors. This condition, called scurvy, was common on long trips on the sea. To this day the English are still often called Limeys.
While vitamins prevent and cure some specific diseases, they also are necessary for virtually every function within our bodies. Minor nutritional deficiencies can cause serious issues in your body. A good example is Vitamin C.
Contrary to popular belief Vitamin C does not work by curing the common cold, even though that is the impression you get from the media. Instead, it works because it bolsters your immunity so you can better fight off the virus. Vitamin C performs many other important functions within the body. A major function is synthesis of hydroxyproline, an important component of collagen and, thereby, all connective tissues.
Vitamin C is essential for growth of cartilage, bone and teeth, and for wound healing. It contributes to the structure of bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Vitamin C helps support the immune system, aids amino acid metabolism and iron absorption. Vitamin C is also water-soluble which means it can be dissolved in water, and excess is removed from your body through elimination.
Another vitamin—B6—is not as well known as Vitamin C, yet it I plays an important role for good health. Vitamin B6 cannot claim dramatic and immediate “cures” for diseases like scurvy, beriberi, or colds like other vitamins, but it is known as the master vitamin in processing amino acids. It is estimated that 50% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin B6.
The same is true for virtually every vitamin. Without a proper supply of vitamins, the body develops disease. Some diseases, such as beriberi and scurvy, show up quickly and dramatically. Other diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, take years to develop. They go undetected for many years until it may be too late.
Because the body is a “closed system”, vitamins, like every other nutrient, must come from the food we consume. The principal sources of vitamins are the grains, fruits, and vegetables we consume. You may find that is not enough though to meet your needs. Taking multivitamins can help make up for lacks in your diet. Research scientists have long recommended that nutritional supplements are absolutely essential to our health and well being. This is especially true when we consider our long term health.
In addition to the vitamins, supplements also provide trace amounts of antioxidants, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and fiber. Many of these are no longer found in significant quantities in our soil the way they used to be. It is still critical to eat a well balanced and healthy diet, but adding multivitamins can benefit your overall health plan. This is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight and are cutting your caloric intake.
When the body lacks one component it probably lacks many, even most, simply because the source of the components is deficient. Adding only one component to the diet not only ignores the fact that the basic diet is deficient but gives a false sense of security that we are correcting a health problem.
The word ‘vitamin’ has its root in ‘vitamine’ that means vital amine. Vitamins are powerful organic compounds found mainly in the food that we eat. Vitamins are essential for all human beings because they help cells and tissues to perform basic functions. Basically, vitamins are required for the growth of the body.
There are two types of vitamins- the water soluble vitamins and the fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are also called hormones. All the commonly known vitamins are water soluble vitamins, of which vitamin C or ascorbic acid is the most common. Earlier it was believed that all these vitamins belong to one group called B complex as they were all found in the same source. Later they were categorized as different vitamins.
Vitamin A, B1, B3, B5, B9, D, E, H, K, P, Choline and Inositol are some of the other vitamins. Few of these vitamins are known by their biological names, like vitamin B1 is known as thiamine and vitamin H, Biotin.
Vitamins form an essential component of the balanced diet that we eat. People with chronic illnesses are advised to take vitamin supplements by their doctors. Pregnant women and people suffering from bowel disorders need to watch out their vitamin intake. Bowel disorder retards the absorption of fat soluble vitamin. Folic acid is prescribed for a person suffering from thalassaemia. Patients with pernicious anemia have to be given injections of vitamin B12 because of its acute deficiency in their body.
We need small amounts of these vitamins on regular basis to help the body function smoothly and remain healthy. These vitamins help the organs to carry out their individual functions. In the absence of these vitamins, our body falls sick and suffers from vitamin deficiency diseases. There are enough vitamins present in our foods but if we don’t eat a balanced diet the external supplements will do the needful.
Vitamins are useful and mandatory for the body, but excess of everything is bad. Even vitamins taken in excess can cause severe damage to the body. For instance, the body needs only 400 to 800 units of vitamin D in a day. If this amount is exceeded, too much calcium gets absorbed by the bloodstream, which can damage the kidneys. Moreover, supplements can never replace a healthy diet, so it’s better to take vitamin-rich diet than take supplements.
Lastly, before you rush off to add these into your health plan, Always be sure to talk with your doctor about adding multivitamin supplements to your diet. This way you are sure to maximize the benefits to your overall health.