Vitamins – the Basics

Vitamins are micro-nutrients. They were discovered by Eijkman (1897) in Indonesia, Java, while studying a disease called beriberi common among natives whose main diet was rice. He noticed that fowl fed on polished rice, developed beri beri, but not when fed on crudely milled rice.

In 1911 Funk obtained an alcoholic extract of the outer husk of rice which cured beri beri. This was thought to be a vital amine introducing the name vitamine. The “e” was later dropped to read “vitamin”.

Vitamins Functions And Sources:

As micro nutrients, vitamins are required in small quantities. Generally your body cannot manufacture or synthesize vitamins from scratch. So you need to get them from the food you eat or from supplement pills. Though, vitamins can be synthesized by some bacteria, yeast, mould, algae and some plant species. Some vitamins like vitamin B5 have been found to be synthesized by bacteria in the human large intestines. However it is not clear if the vitamins are available for absorption and use by the body.

Vitamins are required by the body for a variety of biological processes. These include growth e.g Vitamin B6; mental alertness e.g Choline, Niacin; resistance to infection e.g. Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They also act as catalysts in the body chemistry as well as precursors to vital body factors. This enables the body to use carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Vitamins in themselves do not have calories and buy best Ashwagandha Gummies online near me therefore do not give energy to the body. Natural vitamins are found in living things that is plants and animals and are organic food substances. There are many artificially synthesized vitamins.

Vitamins exist in varying quantities in an array of food sources from yeasts, wheat bran, cooked egg that provides Biotin, citrus fruits and milk that provide Vitamin C, green leafy vegetables and legumes that supply Folic acid .

Vitamin Classification:

There are mainly two types of vitamins classified based on their solubility. These are water soluble and fat soluble vitamins.

i) Water soluble vitamins include : Vitamin C also called citric acid, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B9 (folic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), Cholin, Biotin.

Water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body in any appreciable amounts. The surplus is washed out mainly through urine. They requires consistent replenishing using the diet we consume. This makes them safe because they do not collect in the body toxic levels, making large doses of vitamin supplementary safe. But caution should still be practiced because mega doses have side effects and even can be fatal.

For example, there is a low risk of vitamin toxicity from nicotinic acid with mega doses. Nicotinic acid a derivative of vitamin niacin, one may experience flushing, itching, nausea and vomiting, liver cell damage. So supplement with daily value doses. Do not use megadoses unless under ongoing expert advice.

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