Vitamins are essential to life and cannot be synthesized by your body, exceptions are Vitamin D (synthesized by skin in sunlight), Vitamin K and Biotin(synthesized by bacteria in the colon) and Niacin or Vitamin B-3 ( can be manufactured from amino acid Tryptophan).
Vitamins contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and are involved in the biochemical processes that help release energy from digested food.
Vitamins are co-enzymes that work with enzymes as catalysts in the chemical reactions that are continually taking place within the body.
Lack of a vitamin for a long period of time may cause a deficiency disease (e.g. beri-beri, scurvy etc.)
Classes of Vitamins There are two major categories of Vitamins:
Water soluble Vitamins
These vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored by body. You loose a great amount of these vitamins when you sweat, take diuretic drugs or laxatives. Stress and sickness also deplete the body of these important nutrients. If we are to maintain even reasonably good health, these vitamins have to be constantly replaced.
Plus 3 other nutrients that are not officially recognized as vitamins but sometimes given these vitamin designations: Choline, Inositol, Paba.
Fat soluble Vitamins
These vitamins dissolve in fat or in substances that dissolve fat. They are stored in the fatty parts of the Liver. You need to have fat in the food to absorb these vitamins.
This category involves: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K
Recommended daily allowances (RDA’s) were instituted over 40 years ago by US Food and Nutrition Board as a standard for daily minimum amounts of Vitamins required by a person in order to ward off a deficiency disease of a particular nutrient but scientific studies have shown that larger quantities of Vitamins are needed to maintain Optimal health.
Vitamins are available in various forms: Tablets, capsules, soft gels, sublingual, lozenges, chewable tablets and liquids. they are available as isolated forms or in combination with other vitamins and nutrients.
All vitamins work best when taken in combination with food.
Proper balance of Vitamins and minerals is important for proper functioning of the body.
Do I really need extra Vitamins and Minerals?
Everybody needs extra vitamins and Minerals. stress, emotional strain, surgery, sickness,Use of Tobacco, alcohol, salt, sugar, rancid fats, use of contraceptives, cortisone, mineral oils, antibiotics, aspirin, anti acids, sleeping pills, tranquilizers all increase your need for Vitamins and Minerals.