Vitamins are organic nutrients that are essential for life. Vitamins regulate the metabolism and all biochemical processes in our body. Vitamins turn on enzymes, which in turn make all body processes happen. Vitamins are needed to balance hormones, produce energy, boost the immune system, protect the arteries, make skin healthy etc.
Vitamins are considered micro-nutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared to macro-nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fats and water. Vitamins can be divided in water-soluble and oil/fat soluble. Water-soluble vitamins must be taken into the body daily, as they can’t be stored and are excreted within one to four days. These include vitamin C, and the B complex vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins can be stored to some degree for a longer period of time in the body’s fatty tissues and the liver. These include Vitamin A, D, E, H, K and P
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic Acid)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
– Essential for protein digestion and utilisation
Folic Acid (regarded as either B9 or B10)
Vitamine B12 (cyanocobalamin)
Biotin (vitamin H- officially not a true vitamin)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
– Protects against cancer and heart diseases
Vitamin D (ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol)
Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol)
– Controls blood clotting
Bioflavonoids, Hesperidine, Rutinine (vitamin P-do not fit the description of true vitamins) – Enhance the uptake of vitamine C
PABA (not an official vitamin)
– Often regarded as a member of the B vitamin complex
Vitamins can be found in several natural sources like fruit and vegetables. One could say by having a varied diet with natural sources there would be an adequate intake of vitamins. The sad truth is that our food is not what is used to be. Fruit and vegetables are only as good as the soil in which they grown. The trouble is that modern farming, which relies heavily on artificial fertilisers and pesticides, robs the soil of nutrients without replacing them. Through over -farming, the soil becomes nutrient-deficient anyway. Cooking also destroys part of the nutrients in the food you eat. Every process that food goes through, whether storing, freezing, baking, frying, cooking, takes it toll.
Recommended Daily allowances (RDA’s) were instituted over forty years ago, unfortunately the amounts recommended only give us the bare minimum requirements to prevent deficiency diseases like beriberi, scurvy, rickets, and night blindness. In no way they address the amount needed to maintain maximum health. Several scientific studies have shown that a larger amount of vitamins helps our bodies to operate better.