How do Vitamins Help Our Body?

Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. They are not substitutes for food, but only take active part in the process of metabolism. The vitamins essential for our bodily functions are thirteen in number: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and folate). The names A, B, C… were assigned in the order of their discovery.

Depending on their solubility, the vitamins are classified as water and fat soluble vitamins. The water soluble ones (eight B vitamins and vitamin C), have to be consumed on a daily basis in order to avoid depletion. The fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) can be stored in the body and hence an excess dose of these vitamins should be avoided, for it can increase toxic levels in the body.

Our body cannot synthesize vitamins, and hence, have to be supplied in diet. A balanced diet would provide all the essential vitamins required by our body. There are a few exceptions like Vitamin D, which are produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Another Vitamin produced in the body is vitamin K by the micro-organisms that flourish in the intestinal tracts.

Vitamins are necessary to maintain life and growth. They take part in the metabolic activities of the body. They help in the conversion of fats and carbohydrates, derived from the food, into energy and aid in the formation of strong bones and tissues.

It is essential that the body is supplied with all the vital vitamins in order to lead a healthy life. The vitamin requirements of a person are established through the dietary allowances. RDA or Recommended Dietary Allowances are the amount of essential nutrients, judged by the Food and Nutrition Board, which, if supplied daily, is considered sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of a healthy person.

If vitamins in essential amounts are not consumed by a person, their deficiency can be replaced by taking vitamin supplements. But in certain cases, such intake of dietary supplements may prove harmful. Hence, consumption of pills without consulting a knowledgeable person must be avoided. Consumption of vitamin supplements might also result in certain side effects. If vitamin deficiency can cause diseases, its overdose can also have an adverse effect. An excess dose of these vitamins can increase the toxic levels in the body. This might result in a condition called hypervitaminosis.

All the vitamins work together in several chemical reactions that place in the body. Lack of these vitamins or deficiency in the diet which provides these vitamins can upset the internal balance of the body. As such, vitamins are no doubt, very vital for a healthy life.