Vitamins are essential nutrients (also known as micronutrients) that the body requires for healthy growth, maintenance, development and functioning.
They are needed by the body to carry out specific reactions, performing hundreds of roles. Vitamins help in keeping bones strong, help heal wounds, and bolster the immune system, converting food into energy, and repairing cellular damage.
Vitamins are organic compounds. (Organic meaning from living matter). The body is not able to manufacture vitamins, that is why they must be ingested. Vitamins come in two forms, fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble means it dissolves in fat, and water soluble means it dissolves in water.
Water soluble vitamins are found in the watery parts of the food we eat and are absorbed into the bloodstream during digestion. Many of the water soluble vitamins circulate easily within the body; the excess is expelled out through the urine via the kidneys which is constantly regulating the amount we have.
An important task of water-soluble vitamins is helping to free the energy found in the food we eat, others are to help keep tissues healthy. Water soluble vitamins need regular replenishing because they are highly soluble.
Fat soluble vitamins enter the blood through the food which has been digested by stomach acid, which is then further digested in the small intestine. Bile is then needed to help absorb the fat soluble vitamins, which breaks down fat, which is then in turn absorbed through the lymph channels through the intestine wall.
Fat tissue and the liver are the main storage units for these vitamins and are released them as they are needed. These can be consumed every now and again in weeks or months apart rather than daily and we can still have enough, as the excess is stored in body fat.
It is harder to get the vitamins into the body from the food and other sources because they can be destroyed by cooking, storage and even simply being exposed to the air, which can inactivate them or destroy them.
Some natural foods that contain vitamin A:
Some natural foods that contain vitamin C
some natural foods that contain vitamin D:
Some natural foods that contain vitamin E
Some natural foods that contain vitamin K