Feb 1, 2023
Vitamins are organic mixtures that are necessary for small amounts in animals and human diets to sustain life and health. The absence of certain vitamins can cause diseases, poor growth and variety of syndromes. 13 vitamins have been identified as essential for our overall health, these are– vitamin A, Vitamin C, D, E,K and the group of B vitamin (consist of 8 vitamins) collectively known as B complex vitamins.
We cannot produce most vitamins ourselves at least not in adequate quantities to meet our needs. Therefore, they have to be gained from the food we eat. Each of the vitamin known today has specific functions in the body, which makes it unique and irreplaceable. No single food contains the full range of vitamins and inadequate intake may result in deficiencies. A variety of food is therefore vital to meet the body’s requirement.
Of the known vitamins, 4 are fat-soluble. This means that fat/oil must be consumed for these vitamin to be absorbed by the body .These fat – soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. The others are water – soluble; these are vitamin C and the B-group vitamins. These cannot be stored in the body for long as they are soon excreted in urine. Therefore water soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often.
Eating a balanced diet is the best way to get enough of the 13 essential vitamin. Here we start with a series to why you need each essential vitamin, and the best food sources from which to obtain them.
Vitamin A plays a very important role in your overall health by maintaining healthy vision vision, healthy skin and hormonal / reproductive health, and support the lungs, liver, kidneys and digestive organs.
Vitamin A is available in 2 forms in the diet:-
Animal source of retinol is bio-available, which means the body can utilize it. In contrast, beta carotene form from plant sources must be first converted to retinol to be useful in body. The conversion is at the rate of 6 unit beta carotene sources is equivalent to 1 unit retinol source which simply means one must eat around 2 kg of carrots to get vitamin A in the available form to the body.
Changes in vision is amongst the first symptoms to occur due to vitamin A deficiency. If left untreated may lead to night blindness or potential blindness.