Vitamins Primer


Vitamins are organic, living compounds that are essential to life and good health. Vitamins are essential for the normal growth and development of the human body. Vitamins are either water soluble or fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins, like Vitamins C and B complex, that dissolve in water, are easily destroyed by cooking, air and light. Fat soluble vitamins, like Vitamins A, D, E and K, dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. They are not easily destroyed by cooking, air and light.

For the most part, we get our vitamins from the food we eat. A well-balanced diet is the first source for the vitamins the body needs for good health. But there are a few other sources for vitamins. For example, there are microorganisms in the intestine, also known as “gut flora”, to produce vitamin K and biotin. One form of vitamin D is synthesized in the skin with the help of the natural ultraviolet wavelength of sunlight. The human body can manufacture some vitamins from what is eaten. Vitamin A, for example, is produced from beta carotene. Niacin, another example, is produced from the amino acid tryptophan.

Why Do We Need Vitamins
We know that vitamin deficiencies lead to poor health and contribute to disease. Vitamin deficiency and mineral deficiencies may cause goitre, scurvy, osteoporosis, impaired immune system, disorders of cell metabolism, certain forms of cancer, symptoms of premature aging, and poor psychological health. Many diseases are caused by chronic or long-term vitamin deficiency. Disease may also be caused by a defect in metabolic conversion of vitamins. Sometimes, we can also have too much of a vitamin when excess fat-soluble vitamins build up in the body. This is called hypervitaminosis.

What is a Vitamin Supplement
Ideally, a balanced diet containing a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods is a dependable source of the essential vitamins. But the modern diet is deficient in many ways. Your diet may be lacking. because modern-day farming techniques have drained the soil of minerals and vitamins. Vitamin supplements provide the essential nutrients on a daily basis. Dietary supplements are also recommended for specific health conditions.

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