By Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD
Vitamins are tiny organic compounds with a massive impact on your general health and well-being. Vitamins can be obtained from your daily diet, or they can be sourced from the sun (only vitamin D). More so, they have a say in almost each and every aspect of the digestive system. The best part is that as essential as they are, your body only requires them in small amounts.
There is a lot that we still don’t know about vitamins, and yet a lot is misunderstood about them. You can learn various facts on the fundamentals of vitamins from Medalerthelp’s detailed infographic on the sources and benefits of vitamins.
We can become vitamin deficient, a condition that eventually results in devastating effects on our body’s normal functioning. On the other hand, an overdose of vitamins can also be dangerous because of the toxicities that some of them possess. Fortunately, toxicities due to an overdose do not occur in all but only a few of the vitamins.
Often, we fall for marketing ploys that convince us we need vitamin supplements when in truth our body can get all the vitamins it requires from the vitamin-rich foods.
Which Types of Vitamins Exist?
As a result of thorough research into essentials of vitamins, scientists came to categorize them into two main classifications. These categories came up due to the absorption nature of the vitamins. In view of that, there are 13 vitamins essential for human health, and they can be either water-soluble or fat-soluble.
The water-soluble vitamins include all the B vitamins - B1(thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxal phosphate), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin) as well as vitamin C (ascorbic acid). On the other hand, vitamins A (retinol), D (calciferol), E (alpha-tocopherol), and K (phylloquinone) make up the fat-soluble vitamins.
It’s very hard to overdose on water-soluble vitamins since they are easily excreted when in excess. However, the body stores the fat-soluble vitamins for the future, so it’s important to speak with your doctor about the recommended amounts you should be consuming.
Classification of vitamins can also be done according to their source. Certain vitamins can be sourced from vegetables such as vitamin C while others can only be found in animal products like vitamin B12.
It is very important that we eat a nutritious, balanced diet that contains the necessary vitamins. When we stick to one type of food, we may be giving our body too much of one type of vitamin and end up with other vitamin deficiencies.
Nikola Djordjevic, MD, Head of Content at MedAlertHelp.org. Coming from Serbia, Nikola is a doctor of medicine who started this project in 2018 out of his passion for helping others, particularly seniors. Apart from reviewing medical alert systems, he also writes a blog dedicated to health, aging, retirement, and other senior-related topics.