Taking Supplements? This Is What Each Vitamin Does For Your Health

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Taking Supplements? This Is What Each Vitamin Does For Your Health

When it comes to getting the nutrients we need, the best possible source is food, specifically fruits and vegetables. They lend support to our bodies, which can’t produce enough of the nutrients necessary for it to function properly. When the food necessary to attain the recommended daily intake of these vitamins isn’t available, however, there are supplement pills. But what role do specific vitamins play when it comes to our health?

Vitamins A to K all have important jobs in the body. They can be grouped into two categories: fat-soluble vitamins, which are stored in the body’s fatty tissue (vitamins A, D, E, and K), and water-soluble vitamins, which the body uses right away. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years. See what vitamins A through K do for our overall health. It’ll help you prevent vitamin deficiency.Each Vitamin Does For Your Health© Food and Drink/Rex Shutterstock/Rex Features


Vitamin A

This vitamin is touted for promoting good eyesight and a properly functioning immune system. A 2007 study published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology found getting enough vitamin A in our diet is crucial for good vision. Participants who ate more foods with vitamin A (leutein/zeazanthin) were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Both lutein and zeaxanthin work together to reverse age-related vision loss by protecting the eye’s macula.Dr. Jason Deviney, a therapeutic optometrist for Vision Source in San Antonio, Texas, told Medical Daily in an email: “Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, guards the surface of the eye to decrease the risk of ocular infections as well as other infectious illnesses.”Food sources: Cod-liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, and leafy vegetables.Vitamin A© Public Domain


Vitamin B Complex

All of the vitamins in the vitamin B complex play a role in several cellular functions in the body. They include eight vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin). These essential nutrients help convert the carbohydrates, fats, and protein we eat into fuel, which allows us to stay energized throughout the day.Out of the vitamin B family, one nutrient that most of us aren’t getting enough of is vitamin B12, according to a 2004 study published in the Annual Review of Nutrition . Like all vitamins, it is essential for our normal metabolic function and health. B12 is essential to manufacturing red blood cells, supporting the normal function of nerve cells, replicating DNA, and producing myelin — a material that surrounds the ends of nerve cells and facilitates communication between them.Food sources: Fish, meat, and fortified foods.Vitamin B Complex© Public Domain


Vitamin C

This is one of the most well-known vitamins due the array of benefits it confers to the body. This antioxidant prevents cancer, protects against infection, and enhances immunity. High doses of vitamin C have been shown to slow the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, and other types of cancer cells.However, Kevin Meehan, a holistic practitioner and founder of Meehan Formulations in Jackson, Wyo., advises us to exercise caution when taking vitamin C in supplement form. “In general, vitamin C is safe when taken in moderation. But high load dosing may cause just the opposite of what people have been taught,” he told Medical Daily in an email.Food sources: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and broccoli.Vitamin C© Public Domain


Vitamin D

This vitamin is naturally obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements. Vitamin D supports bone and tooth formation, and muscle and thyroid gland function. It is necessary for the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorous, especially when it comes to the growth and development of bones and teeth in children.The vitamin D that’s absorbed from sunlight into the skin and the vitamin D we get supplements has to be converted several times in the body before it can be used, according to the Vitamin D Council. Once it’s ready, the body uses it to regulate the amount of calcium in our blood, bones, and gut. It also promotes communication between cells throughout the body.Food sources: Fortified milk, cheese, and cereals.Vitamin D© Public Domain


Vitamin E

This hair- and skin-friendly vitamin works by acting as an antioxidant in the body, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. We are exposed to all types of free radicals in the environment, from cigarette smoke to ultraviolet light from the sun. The National Institutes of Health says the body also needs vitamin E to boost the immune system so that it can fight off any invading bacteria and viruses.A 2012 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found vitamin E may protect against liver cancer. A higher intake of vitamin E lowered liver cancer risk irrespective of whether the participants reported liver disease or a family history of liver cancer. It’s important to note that there are different kinds of vitamin E, but this study looked at the effects of all types of vitamin E on liver cancer risk.Food sources: Leafy green vegetables, almonds, and vegetable oils, like sunflower oil.Vitamin E© Public Domain


Vitamin K

This vitamin is mainly known for its major role in blood clotting and maintaining bone health. It is commonly utilized to reverse the effects of blood thinners, to prevent clotting problems in newborns with a vitamin K deficiency, and to treat bleeding caused by medications like antibiotics.”This would often be considered as the safest form to take as a supplement,” said Meehan. He recommended women over age 40 and men over age 50 start taking these supplements, since there is growing evidence that adequate levels of vitamin K1 (phytonadione) protect against osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.Food sources: Leafy green vegetables, olive, and broccoli.Vitamin K© Public Domain

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