13 Essential Vitamins to Ensure Healthy Living
What exactly are vitamins and why do we need them?
Vitamins are compounds and nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. When an organic compound that is needed by our body isn’t something the body makes by itself in sufficient quantities and needs to be ingested as food, it’s considered a vitamin. Technically this wouldn’t include many other substances such as amino acids, essential fatty acids, minerals or other essential nutrients the body also needs. It’s a very specific term but people often don’t use it that way. They will say “I take vitamins” and that usually covers pretty much any kind of nutritional supplement.
Types of vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- B Vitamin: Riboflavin
- B Vitamin: Niacin
- B Vitamin: Thiamine
- B Vitamin: Folate
- B Vitamin: B6
- B Vitamin: B12
- B Vitamin: Pantothenic
- B Vitamin: Biotin
There are 13 vitamins (listed above) currently recognized universally but each of them is made up of more than one compound. For instance Retinol, Retinal and four different Carotenoids are what make up Vitamin A, and Vitamin E has Tocopherols and Tocotrienols. Vitamins are responsible for a wide range of functions in the body from metabolism, cell repair and growth, immune function as well as supporting enzyme function. Many are also considered anti-oxidants that help the body rid itself of free radicals, the byproduct of energy production that needs to be detoxified from our systems to prevent aging and disease.
The body can synthesize some vitamins naturally without having to eat them in fruits and vegetables. For instance, Vitamin D is made by having your skin exposed to sunlight and the microbes in your intestinal track will produce Vitamin K and Biotin. However, if you are not exposed to sunlight free of sunscreen or your gut flora has been compromised by antibiotics, other medications or poor diet, the vitamin synthesis will be impaired. Some vitamins are able to be stored in the body such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. They are what are called “fat soluble” vitamins, which means your body will store them in the fat cells and they can build up in your system if taken in extremely high dosages. Other vitamins such as Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are called “water soluble”, which means any excess you ingest that your body can’t use will be flushed out in the urine.
It’s important that your body receives a wide range of vitamins because it uses them for a wide range of functions. It’s especially important that pregnant women have enough vitamins in their diets because even a small deficiency can lead to deficiencies in the developing fetus that can have permanent negative effects.
Reasons to add vitamin supplements to your diet
If you want to get the most variety of vitamins in your diet you should increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, eating many different kinds with all different colors as often as possible. Most Americans however, don’t eat the healthiest diet and may not ingest a healthy amount of phytonutrients. That’s where vitamin and nutritional supplements can fill in the gaps. Make sure you find one that is by a reputable company, with high quality standards. The brands we sell on Blue Sky Vitamin definitely qualify.