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Expert Guides

Basics about Vitamins

Publish date: 19/07/2013

Vitamins and minerals are crucial nutrient that are necessary for proper functioning of the human body. Deficiencies of vitamins in the human body can lead to a lot of diseases and problems. If you are an athlete or an active person engaged in weight training and muscle building, your vitamin needs are higher than an average sedentary person because you deplete your body’s reserves of these nutrients during training sessions. While vitamins and minerals can be taken through food, at times such intake is not enough and supplements become necessary to bridge the gaps. The major vitamins that are needed by our body are Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K

  1. Vitamin A and its Functions

    Vitamin A can be of two kinds, viz. Animal and plant. Vitamin that comes from animal source like eggs, milk, cheese, liver, etc. is called performed Vitamin A and is one of the most active forms of the vitamin. Those derived from plant sources like fruits, vegetables, etc. is called provitamin A carotenoid. The functions of vitamin A include:

    • Regulating and boosting the immune system
    • Preventing diseases and fighting infections
    • Keeping your vision (especially night vision) healthy
    • Ensuring a strong bone structure

    What Problems are Caused by Vitamin A Deficiency

    Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness, skin problems, hair problems, impaired growth of bones, problems with tooth enamel, etc. Developmental defects in an embryo can also be caused by its deficiency.

    Does vitamin A supplements have any side effects

    Taking too much of performed vitamin A may cause hypervitaminosis. Though really adverse side effects are rare, it may cause nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, dry skin, and cerebral edema. Also since the vitamin is rapidly absorbed and slowly cleared by the body care should be taken not to take too much of it.

  2. Vitamin B and its Functions

    Vitamin B consists of 8 vitamins in all which include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and folic acid. Most of the Vitamin B kinds are found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, brewer’s yeast, liver, eggs, and nuts, leaving out Vitamin B12 which is found in animal products like dairy, eggs, meat. Etc. 

    The vitamin B group helps in many things which include maintaining a healthy skin and muscle tone, increasing the rate of metabolism, enhancing immune systems, aiding functioning of the nervous system, promoting cell growth and division, etc. They also help in stress reduction, fighting cardiovascular issues and depression. For weight trainers it helps in digestion of carbs and fats and also to maintain high energy levels.

    What Problems are Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin B Cmplex

    Deficiency of Vitamin B1 causes beriberi, that of Vitamin B2 causes ariboflavinosis, Vitamin B3 deficiency causes pellagra. Vitamin B5 deficiency causes in acne and skin tingling, Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause high blood pressure, anaemia, depression, dermatitis, etc. Vitamin B7 deficiency in infants can result in impaired growth and neurological disorders. Vitamin B9 deficiency can result in anaemia and birth defects in infants when the pregnant mother is deficient. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes memory loss, cognitive disorders, macrocytic anemia, and even paralysis.

    The above deficiencies can be prevented when vitamin B supplements are taken in prescribed doses.

    Does vitamin B have any side effects

    There have been no instances of vitamin B causing any adverse effect when taken in recommended doses.

  3. Vitamin C and its Functions

    Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and plays a vital role in the synthesis of collagen, the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, and transportation of fat to mitochondria for burning. It is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol and acts as an efficient antioxidant. It also helps to maintain high testosterone levels. It is available abundantly in fruits and vegetables.

    What Problems are Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin C

    Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy which can be even fatal.

    Does vitamin C have any side effects?

    As long as it is taken in recommended doses there are no adverse side effects.

  4. Vitamin D and Its Functions

    Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that has a vital role to play in maintaining of calcium balance, regulation of the immune system, cell differentiation and regulation of blood pressure. It also helps to maintain strong bones and prevents muscle cramps. Fatty fish, fish oils, orange juice and certain cereals are good sources of vitamin D.

    What Problems are Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin D

    Deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets, osteomalacia and greatly increases the risk of osteoporosis.

    Does vitamin D have any side effects?

    No, as long as you don’t take too much. It’s recommended that you do not take more than 50 mcg daily, as prolonged exposure to too much vitamin D can cause bone loss, kidney stones, and calcification of organs such as your heart and kidneys if left untreated. (7)

  5. Vitamin E and its Functions

    Vitamin E in constituted by eight antioxidants, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols, both groups including alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Vitamin E acts as an extremely effective anti-oxidant, help cell membranes keep their structural integrity, protects the fats found in low density lipoproteins (LDL)s from becoming a victim to oxidation and also helps in strengthening the immune system. Leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, sunflower oil and safflower are good sources of vitamin E.

    What Problems are Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin E

    Vitamin deficiency causes problems with balance and coordination, damages to sensory nerves and retina and muscle weakness. Deficiency in children can cause neurological problems.

    Does vitamin E have any side effects?

    Vitamin E can lead to impairment of blood clotting systems increasing the chances of haemorrhage.

  6. Vitamin K and Its Functions

    Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin and plays a vital role in blood clotting, cell growth, and bone mineralization processes. It also helps the body absorb calcium and regulates blood flow. It has two forms K1 and K2. Green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils are good sources of vitamin K.

    What Problems are Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin K

    Vitamin K deficiency results in impaired blood clotting. Deficiency in infants can cause a fatal condition of intracranial haemorrhage.

    Does vitamin K have any side effects

    Though there are certain allergic reactions that vitamin K may cause, there are no really adverse side effects. However, people with a critical history of blood clotting, cardiac arrest and stroke should consult their physicians before taking vitamin K.

Author: Greg