What Are Vitamins All About Nutritionally

Having a healthy body is an essential ingredient for success in life. Exercise, complete diet, and sufficient sleep are necessary to incorporate in your lifestyle to have good health. For a healthy lifestyle, Vitamins play a vital role in the nutrition of your body. So, we must know, what are Vitamins all about?

In This Article

1. What are Vitamins?

2. What are the Types of Vitamins?

3. What is a Vitamin Deficiency?

4. What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins All About

4.1 Vitamin C

4.2 Vitamin B1 / Thiamin

4.3 Vitamin B2 / Riboflavin

4.4 Vitamin B3 / Niacin

4.5 Vitamin B6

4.6 Vitamin B9 / Folic Acid

4.7 Vitamin B12 / Cobalamin

5. What Are Fat-Soluble Vitamins All About

5.1 Vitamin A

5.2 Vitamin D

5.3 Vitamin E

5.4 Vitamin K

6. Conclusion

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are required in small quantities by organisms to sustain life. Lack of Vitamins can hinder bodily functions and severe cases may lead to adverse conditions.

What are the Types of Vitamins?

Vitamins are of two types, one of which is water-soluble and the other is fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins can easily dissolve in water, but our bodies care unable to store them. Water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin C, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid.

Our bodies can absorb fat-soluble vitamins by consuming fatty foods. Fatty tissues and liver can store these vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.

What is a Vitamin Deficiency?

By vitamin deficiency, we mean a lack of Vitamins which cause various malfunctions in our body. Each Vitamin has its functions to perform.

If we do not get the proper amount of Vitamins, we may have deficiency diseases. Some of the deficiency diseases may lead to adverse health conditions.

What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins All About

What Are Vitamins All About 1

Water-soluble vitamins are namely Vitamin C, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid.

Let us explore each vitamin one by one and learn what vitamins are all about?

What is Vitamin C all about

Sources: Vitamin C is abundant in Citrus Fruits, broccoli and Indian gooseberry among other edibles.

Daily Requirement:

Age Daily Requirement  
Infants 0-6 months 40 mg/ day 6 mg/kg
Infants 7-12 months 50 mg/ day 6 mg/kg
Children 1-3 years 15 mg/ day 
Children 4-8 years 25 mg/day 
Adolescents  9-13 years 45 mg/day 
Boys 14-18 years 75 mg/day 
Girls 14-18 years 65 mg/day 
Men 19-50 years 90 g/day 
Women 19-50 years 75 mg/day 
Men >51 years 90 mg/day 
Women >51 years 75 mg/day 

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225480/

Consuming above 2000mg/day will result in the adverse effects.

 Functions: Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and protects the cell from damage caused by free radicals.

It helps in iron absorption from plant-based sources and the formation of collagen facilitating the healing of the wound. It improves immunity and is effective in controlling high blood pressure. It also improves skin tone.

Deficiency and symptoms: Scurvy, gum bleeding, corkscrew-like hair, poor and red hair follicles, rough and bumpy skin, slow healing of a wound, spoon-shaped nails with lines, poor immunity, and anaemia.

Smoking and alcoholism may cause vitamin deficiency.

What is Vitamin B1 / Thiamin all about

Sources: Cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, peaches and avocado are some of the sources of Vitamin B1 found in food.

Daily Requirement:

  Age Daily Requirement  
Infants 0-6 months 0.2 mg/ day 0.03 mg/kg
Infants 7-12 months 0.03 mg/ day 0.03 mg/kg
Children 1-3 years 0.5 mg/ day 
Children 4-8 years 0.6 mg/day 
Adolescents 9-13 years 0.9 mg/day 
Boys 14-18 years 1.2 mg/day 
Girls 14-18 years 1.0 mg/day 
Men 19-30 years 1.2 g/day 
Women 19-30 years 1.1 mg/day 
Men 31-50 years 1.2 mg/day 
Women 31-50 years 1.1 mg/day 
Men >51 years 1.2 mg/day 
Women >51 years 1.1 mg/day 

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114331/

Function: Thiamin helps with glucose metabolism and facilitates neurotransmission.

Deficiency and symptoms: Wet Beriberi( fast heart rate and cardiac problems), shortness of breath, and swelling of legs. Dry Beriberi (peripheral neuritis, severe leg pain, pain in joints) and in the chronic situation, paralysis are caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency.

Also, Wernicke – Korsakofff syndrome (cerebral beriberi) caused due to deficiency, affects cerebellum causing changes in posture and balance. It can also affect the brain stem and sensory organs.

When medulla is affected, there can be, changed heart rate and breathing.

Too much alcohol is also known to promote vitamin B1 deficiency.

What is Vitamin B2 / Riboflavin all about

Sources: Riboflavin can be found in animal liver, fish, milk, leafy vegetables, cereals and legumes.

Daily Requirement:

Age Daily Requirement
Infants 0-12 months 0.3-0.4 mg/ day
Children 1-9 years 0.5-0.6 mg/day
Adolescents  10-18 years 0.9-1.3 mg/day
Men 19-70 years 1.1-1.3 mg/day
Women 19-70 years 0.9-1.1 mg/day

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015041/

Functions: The main function of vitamin B2 is metabolism.

Deficiency and symptoms: Pellagra and Beriberi are caused by Vitamin B2 deficiency. The deficiency may result in rash or redness near the lips (Cheilosis), purple or magenta colouration of the tongue(Glossitis), and vascular cornea( circum corneal vascularization).

What is Vitamin B3 / Niacin all about

Sources: Broccoli, peanuts, chicken, mushrooms, bell peppers, kidney beans, animal livers, whole wheat, unpolished rice, etc. are some of the sources of Vitamin B3.

Daily requirement:

Daily Requirement
Infants 5-6 mg/ day
Childrern 9-13 mg/day
Adults 13-20 mg/day

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526107/

Functions: Glycolysis and fatty acid metabolism are some of the functions of Niacin.

Deficiency and Symptoms: Pellegra, dryness of skin, redness on the skin, Dermatitis ( bright red erythema in feet, hands, ankles and face increase in pigmentation around the neck, etc. are caused due to insufficient Vitamin B3 in the body.

Severe stomach pain, vomiting and nausea, poor concentration and headache are some of the indications of Vitamin B3 deficiency.

The deficiency can be caused by poor dietary intake, eating too much corn, etc.

What is Vitamin B6 all about

Sources: Fish, leafy vegetables, cereals, legumes, meat, eggs, olive oil, and, sunflower oil are some of the sources of Vitamin B6.

Daily Requirement:

Age Daily Requirement
Infants 0–6 months 0.1(AI)
Infants 7-12 months 0.3(AI)
Children 1-3 years 0.5 mg/day
Children 4-8 years 0.6 mg/day
Children  9-13 years 1.0 mg/day
Boys 14–18 y 1.3 mg/day
Girls 14–18 y 1.2 mg/day
Adults 19-50 years 1.3 mg/day
Men >51 years 1.7 mg/day
Women >51 years 1.5 mg/day

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288272/

Functions: The basic function promoted by Vitamin B6 is amino acid metabolism.

Deficiency: The deficiency of Vitamin B6 are anaemia and glycogenolysis. It also accompanies the deficiency of vitamin B3 as both are correlated.
Too much vitamin B6 may lead to numbness, nerve damage, muscle atrophy and muscle pain.

What is Vitamin B9 / Folic Acid all about

Sources: Green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits are the major sources of Vitamin B9

Daily Requirement:

Age Daily Requirement
Infants 0-6 months 65 µg/day(AI)
Infants 7-12 months 80 µg/day(AI)
Children 1-3 years 150 µg/day
Children 4-8 years 200 µg/day
Male & Female 9-13 years 300 µg/day
Male & Female ≥14 years 400 µg/day

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478945/

Function: Folic Acid helps in the Synthesis of DNA and Fetal Development.

Deficiency and Symptoms: Due to deficiency in Vitamin B9 RBC, WBC and platelet precursors are affected (anaemia), there can be reduction of WBC, Pancytopenia(lower RBC, WBC and platelets), inflammation, shortness of breath, soreness of the tongue, easy fatigability, ischemic heart disease, stroke, chest pain, slurred speech, and paralysis.

The high demand for Vitamin B9 during pregnancy, low dietary intake longer than 6 weeks, consumption of alcohol are some of the causes of deficiency.

What is Vitamin B12 / Cobalamin all about

Sources:  Vitamin B12 is found in Chlorella, liver, sardines, Clams, Eggs, Cremini Mushrooms (brown), Trout, Salmon, Tuna, etc.

Daily Requirement:

Age Daily Requirement  
Infants 0–6 months 0.4 μg/day (AI) ≈0.05 μg/kg
Infants 7-12 months 0.5 μg/day (AI) ≈0.05 μg/kg
Children 1-3 years 0.9 μg/day  
Children  4-8 years 1.2 μg/day  
Adolescents 9-13 years 1.8 μg/day   
Adolescents 14-18 years 2.4 μg/day  
Adults >19 years 2.4 μg/day  

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114302/

Function: Cobalamin promotes the production of RBC and DNA, and the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Deficiency and Symptoms: Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to breathlessness and dizziness, blurry disturbed vision (optic neuropathy), high temperature, sensations of pins and needles, nerve damage, weakness and fatigue, pale or jaundice skin.

People having an affinity towards diabetes having metformin, strict vegan diet, people taking long-term antacid drugs for heartburn tend to have Vitamin B12 deficiency.

What Are Fat-Soluble Vitamins All About

What Are Vitamins All About -2

What is Vitamin A all about

Sources: Carrots, cheese, egg, papaya, bell peppers, fish, and pumpkin contain Vitamin A.

Age Daily Requirement
Infants 0-6 months 400 μg RAE/day 
Infants 7–12 months 500 μg RAE/day
Children 1-3 years 300 μg RAE/day
Children 4–8 years 400 μg RAE/day
Children 9–13 years 600 μg RAE/day 
Boys 14–18 years 900 μg RAE/day
Girls 14–18 years 700 μg RAE/day
Men >19 years 900 μg RAE/day
Women >19 years 700 μg RAE/day 

Each μg RAE ( Retinol Activity Equivalent )corresponds to 1 μg retinol, 2 μg of β-carotene in oil, 12 μg of “dietary” beta-carotene, or 24 μg of the three other dietary provitamin-A carotenoids.

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222318/



Functions: Vitamin A helps in vision, repair and maintenance of skin, lowers heart attack, and acts as an antioxidant.

Deficiency and Symptoms: Nyctalopia ( night blindness), Xeropthalmia ( dryness of cornea), keratomalacia, and Phrynoderma (skin dryness and blemishes) are caused by the deficiency of Vitamin A.

What is Vitamin D all about

Sources: Vitamin D can be acquired by sunlight, and consuming fatty fish, egg yolks, milk, cereals, etc.

Daily Requirement:

Infants 0-12 months 10 μg /day 
Children 1–8 years 15 μg /day 
Adolescents 9-17 years 15 μg /day 
Adults 18-69 years 15 μg /day 
Adults >70 years 20 μg /day 

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6365669/

Functions: Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and building strong bones.

Deficiency and Symptoms: Deficiency of Vitamin K can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and rickets in children. The deficiency also causes tiredness and weakness.

What is Vitamin E all about

Sources: Wheat germ oil, Sunflower seeds, almonds, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, avocado, meat milk, and butter are some of the sources of Vitamin E.

Daily Requirement:

Infants 0-6 months  4 mg/day 
Infants 7-12 months  5 mg/day 
Children 1–3 years 6 mg /day 
Children 4-8 years 7 mg /day 
Adolescents 9-13 years 11 μg /day 
Adolescents 14-17 years 15 μg /day 
Adults >18 years 15 μg /day 


The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649464/

Function: Prevents blood clot, vascular functioning, prevention infection, antioxidant, storage of creatini7n skeletal muscles, slowing down ageing, improves fertility and prevents miscarriage

Deficiency and Symptoms: The deficiency of Vitamin E include hemolytic anaemia, impotency, and enlarged prostate. The deficiency can cause loss of weight and delayed growth in infants, poor feeding habits, physical and mental problems in children. It can lead to poor tendon reflex, muscle weakness, and slow growth in children. In adults, cataracts, hemolytic anaemia, fragile red blood cells, infertility, and loss of hair are some of the deficiency problems.

What is Vitamin K all about

Sources: Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish, meat liver, eggs, cereals, etc., and also, it is made by the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Daily Requirement:

Men >18 years 65 μg /kg/day 
Women >18 years 55 μg /kg/day 

The table is according to WHO DRI

The above table has been constructed using the information from the link below which also contains more information on the subject.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648719/

Functions: Vitamin K helps in blood clot and maintenance of strong bones in elders.

Deficiency and Symptoms: The deficiency of Vitamin K is very rare. The deficiency may lead to Hemarthrosis, intramuscular bleeding, excessive bleeding to minor injuries, and gum bleeding.

Some of the causes for Vitamin K deficiency are chronic illness, malnutrition, alcoholism, malabsorption and long term antibiotics.

Conclusion

There are various roles played by vitamins, the deficiency of which can have life-altering effects. But, vitamins are not always responsible for many symptoms which might indicate the same. Individual genes are also responsible for the manifestation of early degeneration or ageing like the shedding of hair, anaemia, etc. So, supplements should be taken only if it is prescribed by doctors.

It is better to derive Vitamins through whole food than to consume in small pills.

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