Vitamins

Amongst the macro and the micro nutrients, the roles of vitamins are predominant in the balanced diet. Diverse in their functions in the body, requirements of vitamins may not be a lot however, they are significant and very important for proper functioning of the body systems.

Vitamins are of segregated as per their chemical nature, i.e whether they are soluble in fat medium or in water. The various fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E and K and the rest 8 being water soluble.  Vitamins need to be consumed from food as the human body cannot synthesize them. Fat-soluble vitamins are deposited in the fat tissues in the body, as well as the liver. Fat-soluble vitamins are easier to store than water-soluble ones, and can stay in the body as reserves for days, some of them for months.

The role of vitamins in the body is diverse as they assist in regulation of metabolism, prevention of chronic diseases like heart diseases or cancer, and help in the maintenance of immunity and health in general. The cooking method greatly affects the bio-availability of vitamins, as water soluble vitamins like C and B are damaged under strong heat or exposure to excessive sunlight. Therefore it is advisable to store and cook vitamins sources like green leafy vegetables, fruits and vegetables under proper storage conditions.

Consumption of balanced diet is an ideal way to get the required vitamins that the body needs. However, high doses of some vitamins can have adverse effect on the body and hence one should not indulge in excessive consumption.

S.No. Vitamin Alias Function in the body
Fat Soluble Vitamins
1 Vitamin A Retinol and Beta Carotene Promotes healthy skin and eyes (vision), builds immunity, provides antioxidants and is essential for night vision.
2 Vitamin E D- Alpha tocopherol Source of antioxidant, helps protect the cells against free radicals, is excellent for skin and hair.
3 Vitamin D Cholecalciferol Helps in the maintenance of strong and healthy bones with the help of mineral – calcium.
4 Vitamin K Phylloquinone Helps in the clotting of blood and is a part of metabolic processes.
Water Soluble Vitamins
5 Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid Acts as an antioxidant, immune booster, helps in the formation of collagen, helps in the absorption of iron, helps fight infection.
6 Vitamin B1 Thiamine Is a part of metabolic process in the body, helps in the functioning of brain and helps protect against deficiency disease called Beri-Beri.
7 Vitamin B2 Riboflavin Helps in the conversion of nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins and helps in then maintenance of healthy skin.
8 Vitamin B3 Niacin It plays an important role in energy production, helps in brain functioning, balancing the blood sugar level, digestion process and maintenance of the cholesterol levels.
9 Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid It is a part of the energy production process and assists in fat metabolism, essential for brain and nerves. It is involved in the production of anti-stress hormones and maintains healthy skin and hair.
10 Vitamin B 6 Pyridoxine Functioning of various hormones in the body is an essential role for this vitamin.  
11 Vitamin B 9 Biotin Helps in the utilization of essential fats, assisting in promotion of healthy skin and nerves.
12 Vitamin B 12 Cynocobalamin Essential for the synthesis of DNA, nerves and oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

Author Name: 

Rohini Saran