Vitamins are essential nutrients. They help strengthen bones, heal wounds, and boost the immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair cellular damage. The essential vitamins your body needs are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins.
Vitamin A is fat-soluble. It requires fats as well as minerals to be properly absorbed by the digestive tract. It can be stored for a while in your body and therefore, need not be replenished daily.
It occurs in two forms, preformed and pro-vitamin A or carotene. Preformed vitamin A (Retinol) is found in foods of animal origin while carotene is provided by both plant-based and animal-based sources.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and is a potent antioxidant. It is used up by the body more rapidly under stress conditions. The daily requirement of an adult is 60mg per day. This vitamin is not synthesized by the human body. It is supplied by the food we eat.
Breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women may require up to 95mg of this vitamin daily. Smokers and older persons are required to increase their intake as well. Remember, if you smoke 1 cigarette, it will destroy 25- 100mg of the vitamin.
Note that vitamin C is excreted within 2-3 hours. If you are using supplements, it is advisable to go for a time-release type or supplement twice to three times a day. Make sure your meals are rich in vitamin C. If you are on a high dose of vitamin C supplementation, it may alter laboratory results for a Pap smear or urine test for sugar levels in diabetics.
You can lower high blood pressure with daily supplementation of 500mg (consult with your doctor). Remember carbon monoxide destroys this vitamin. It is therefore advisable for town dwellers to increase consumption of foods rich in vitamin C or can be guided by a physician to supplement. If you are looking to reduce the severity of colds and flu, it is advisable to increase your daily intake to 1000mg daily.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It dissolves in fats and oils and can be stored in the body for long. It is acquired through sunlight or diet. Light or sunlight acts on the oils of the skin to produce the vitamin.
It is important to note that people working at night/ night shifts require more vitamin D it may be advisable for them to supplement. Children who do not drink enough milk (less than 500mls per day) may also require to supplement with Vitamin D. Older people of 65+ years may want to consider supplementation. If one is obese, they will require more intake of vitamin D.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is an active antioxidant which prevents oxidation in fats, vitamin A, selenium and some vitamin C.
Vitamin E is necessary for people on high junk food consumption. If you drink unfiltered water or chlorinated you may need more of vitamin E. Women on the pill, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, premenopausal and menopausal women all need a good Vitamin E intake.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is necessary for the formation of prothrombin, a blood-clotting chemical.
Vitamin K deficiency is prevalent in people with gallstone and liver disease. Excessive diarrhoea can cause vitamin K deficiency. Those people who experience frequent nose bleeding may require vitamin K supplementation.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs may cause vitamin K deficiency.
It is necessary for the proper function of vitamin C and gives flavonoids, the colour to the fruits. Yellow, orange and red.
Vitamins play a vital role in the health of our bodies. We require vitamins for our bodies’ metabolism and cell regeneration. For a lot more information, more vitamin elements and customized meal plans,
We also recommend ways to cook or prepare your meals for optimal nutrition.