What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are the most vital organic micronutrient that our body need for proper functioning. The body needs vitamin in very small amount, but its supply is very crucial for the body to maintain its functions properly. As the body cannot synthesize vitamins, so its demand can only be met from the diet. All the metabolic functions in the body are dependent on the supply of vitamin its deficiency may lead to different metabolic disorder.
Types of Vitamins
Up to now the total known vitamins are thirteen in number, which are further categorized into two categories water soluble vitamins and fats soluble vitamins.
What are Water-Soluble Vitamins?
As this categorization of vitamins is based on its solubility, so the vitamins that are soluble in water are known as water-soluble vitamins.
Types of Water Soluble Vitamins
The water-soluble vitamins are nine in numbers which include Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B9, and Vitamin B12. The functions, types, and sources of these vitamins are described in detail below.
Vitamin C is the only water-soluble vitamin that is not a member of Vitamins-B family. Vitamin C has a vital role in the repairing of tissues and in the production of enzymes. It is mostly found in vegetables and fruits.
Types of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is mostly present in nature in two forms, the one that occurs in most abundant in nature is ascorbic acid followed by less abundant called Dehydroascorbic acid, the oxidized form of ascorbic acid.
Functions of Vitamin C
Vitamin C as an Antioxidant
Vitamin C is the most important source of antioxidant, it helps the body to reduce oxidative stress, and it is a condition created by accumulations of free radicals in the body. Antioxidant levels can be increased by 30% by taking Vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C Decreases Blood Pressure and Risk of Heart Attack
Although the use of vitamin C can help the body to reduce blood pressure. But it is not sure that its effect is enough to rely on it as a treatment. But however different studies show that on average a reduction of 4.9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 1.7 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure occur by using vitamin C supplements.
Along with this vitamin C supplement also helps the body to reduce the risk of heart attack by reducing the risk factors of the heart attack like blood pressure and cholesterol level.
There are protein mostly found in connective tissues called collagen. Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of this protein. Its deficiency may lead to skin and bone issues.
Vitamin C Boosts Immune System
Vitamin C boost body immunity in many ways. Vitamin C helps the body in the production of white blood cells, which is the front line component of the immune system. It also enhances the function of white blood cells. Vitamin C also saves white blood cells from damage by free radicals.
Sources of Vitamin C
The deficiency of vitamin c can be met by eating vegetables and fruits. The cooked foods contain very less amount of vitamin C.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B1 also named as thiamine or thiamin is one of the most essential vitamins in Vitamins B family. It exists in the body in the following different forms.
Types of Vitamin B1
It is the most occurring types of thiamine in the body. It is also called thiamine diphosphate. It mostly occurs in grains like beans and nuts etc.
Thiamine Triphosphate is the second most abundant form of thiamine that occur in the body. It is mostly sourced from animal-sourced food. In the body, this form of thiamine occurs less than 10% of the total thiamine present in the body.
Thiamine Mononitrate is a synthetic pyrimidine derivatives of salts of vitamin B which is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and other vital functions. Its use is in the preparation of various multivitamins and processed food.
It is a colorless synthetic salt form of thiamine. It is mostly used in vitamin B1 supplements. The body frequently requires thiamine hydrochloride for aerobic metabolism and cell growth.
Functions of Vitamin B1
All forms of thiamine (vitamin B1) act as co-enzyme in the body. It helps the enzyme in its function. Thiamin especially thiamine pyrophosphate plays a vital role in different chemical reactions in the body.
Thiamine has also an important role in metabolism of carbohydrates (especially aerobic metabolism) and other cellular function. It also helps in the synthesis of acetylcholine and transmission of nerve impulses.
Sources of Vitamin B1
The foods that are loaded with Vitamin B1 are mostly present in grains including beans, sunflower seeds, nuts, and other whole grains. The animal-sourced foods that are rich in vitamin B1 are liver, and pork meat.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 is another important member of vitamins B family. It is also called riboflavin mostly used coloring foods and occurs in different dairy products and plant products.
Types of Vitamin B2
Riboflavin released during the digestion of Flavoprotein. Flavoprotein occurs in two forms one is Flavin adenine dinucleotide and the other is Flavin Mononucleotide.
Functions of Vitamin B2
Like other vitamin B family members, it acts as coenzymes. Vitamin B2 has a key role in the supply of energy to the body, it helps the body in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from carbohydrates. ATP is a ready-made organic pack of energy which supplies energy to the body on demand. Vitamin B2 also helps the body in the metabolism of fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Riboflavin has also a helpful effect on the health of different vital organs like skin, digestive tract, liver, and blood cells.
Sources of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is found in many different foods. In green vegetables, spinach and broccoli are the main source of riboflavin.
In animal source foods, eggs, low-fat dairy products, vital organs (like kidney, liver, lean) meats are the main sources of vitamin B2.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin, Niacin is an important vitamin that our body needs for proper functioning. It has a lot of beneficial effects on the brain, cholesterol level, and cardiovascular functions. Vitamin B3 occurs in the following main forms.
Types of Vitamin B3
Nicotinamide also name as niacinamide is an active water-soluble vitamin often used as a supplement and medication in vitamin B3 deficient patient.
Nicotinic acid is another name of Niacin. It is the most essential nutrient and form of Vitamin B3 needed by the body for the health of the skin, digestive and nervous system.
Nicotinamide Riboside is a newly discovered form of vitamin B3 having the chemical formula as C11H15N2O5+ and is mostly used as an anti-aging supplement.
Functions of Vitamin B3
Vitamins B3 has a lot of health benefits, among them the most important are boosting of brain and lowering of cholesterol level.
Vitamin B3 has an important level in dealing with cholesterol levels. It lowers LDL cholesterol and Triglyceride level and increased HDL cholesterol level. This effect of vitamin B3 on cholesterol levels is helpful for the health of the heart. It improves the prevention of heart diseases.
Apart from this vitamin B3 also reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of type I diabetes.
Sources of Vitamin B3
The main sources of vitamin B3 include fish, poultry products, nuts, and meat.
Vitamin B5 is also an essential member of the vitamin B family that helps the body in the production of energy from fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It has also a key role in the production of blood cells. Vitamin B5 is also named as pantothenic acid.
Types of Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5, Pantothenic acid, mostly occurs in the diet as Phosphopantetheine which is then converted in the small intestine, by digestive enzymes, into Pantothenic acid it exists 85% of the total in nature.
25 % of the vitamin B5 occurs as a free pantothenic acid. Free pantothenic acid does not need any enzymatic action and directly absorbed by cells in the intestine.
Functions of Vitamin B5
Just like other vitamins B Vitamin B5 also helps the body in the consumption of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for the production of energy.
Vitamin B5 has also a helpful effect on the health of the digestive tract, nervous system, skin, hair, eye, and liver.
Vitamin B5 also helps the body in the production of red blood cells and adrenal hormones.
Sources of Vitamin B5
In plant-sourced food, vitamin B5 occurs in the following vegetables and grains, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, cereals, mushrooms, nuts, and peas.
While in the animal-sourced food vitamin B5 occurred in the dairy and poultry products and meats.
Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, is another helpful vitamin out of eight vitamin B vitamins.
Types of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 occurs in the following main three forms that are pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal.
Functions of vitamin B6 like other vitamin B vitamins also helps the body in the production of energy, red blood cells, and transmission of nerve impulses.
In cooperation with vitamin B9 and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 helps the body to control the level of Homocysteine.
Sources of Vitamin B6
In plant sourced food vitamin B6 occur in vegetables and whole grains.
In animal-sourced food, poultry products and fish are the main supplier of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B7, also referred to as biotin or vitamin H, is one of the most needed vitamins to the body. Our body needs vitamin B7 for the creation of different enzymes and performing different metabolic functions. Vitamin B7 has a key impact on the health of nails and hairs that is vitamin B7 is also known as vitamin H.
Types of Vitamin B7
Biotin, also called vitamin B7, occurs in eight different forms (Stereoisomers). Out of these eight forms of biotin, only one form of biotin naturally exists in nature which is called D-Biotin which is also the only active form of biotin.
Function of Vitamin B7
- Vitamin b7 helps in the production of energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- The unique function of vitamin B7 is to keep hair, nails and skin healthy.
- Vitamin B7 also plays a vital role in nervous and psychological function. It also keeps the mucus membrane healthy.
Sources of Vitamin B7
- The plant sourced foods that contain vitamin b7 are cauliflower, mushroom, salmon, peanuts and cereals.
- While the animal sourced foods that contain vitamin B7 are egg, milk, yeast and liver meat.
Folate or Folacin famous with the alternate name of vitamin B9 which is an essential nutrient like other B vitamins.
Types of Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 occurs in different forms of folic acids and its compound like Folacin, Pteroylglutamic acid, Methenyl tetra hydro folate, methyl tetra hydro folate, and Tetrahydro folic acid.
Functions of vitamin B9
- Vitamin B9 share the common function of all B vitamins of conversion of carbohydrates into glucose.
- Vitamin B9 along with vitamin B12 accelerate the process of production of red blood cells.
- Vitamin B9 has a role in heredity which comes the importance of vitamin B9 in the synthesis of DNA.
Sources of Vitamin B9
The foods that contain vitamin B9 obtain from plants are cauliflower, spinach, beans, citrus fruits and whole grains. And the foods that are rich in vitamin B9 and obtain from animals are eggs, milk, liver meat, yeast and cheese.
Cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, is the most popular and important vitamin B vitamin. Our body needs it for the metabolism of amino-acid, fatty-acid, and carbohydrates.
Types of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 exist in the following main forms.
Methylcobalamin is an active form of vitamin B12 or cobalamin. It is also the natural form of vitamin B12 that exist in nature in the body. It participates in the different helpful processes in the body like the production of red blood cells, amino acid, and maintenance of DNA.
Adenosylcobalamin is another form of vitamin B12 that our body needs for different vital metabolic processes. Its supplements are unavailable because of the instability of its molecules.
Hydroxocobalamin is not an active form of vitamin B12, but can be converted into the active form easily. This form of vitamin B12 can be prepared in laboratories and digestive track with the help of microorganisms.
Cyanocobalamin is the most unsafe and poison form of vitamin B12. It does not exist in nature, but prepared in the laboratory artificially.
Functions of Vitamin B12
- Like other B vitamins, vitamin B12 helps the body in the production of energy.
- Vitamin B12 also helps the body to produce red blood cells, fatty acids, and repairing DNA.
- Vitamin B12 also boosts the brain functions and nervous system.
Sources of Vitamin B12
In most of the plants-sourced food vitamin B12 is unavailable. While in the animal-sourced food it is present in poultry and dairy products. Meats and fish also the main sources of Vitamin B12.
What are Fats-Soluble Vitamins?
The other main category of vitamins is the fats soluble vitamins. All those vitamins fall in this category which are soluble in fats. Most of these vitamins are present in fats sourced foods. These vitamins are four in number which are Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin responsible for the proper function of the eyes. A proper4 vision is impossible without a sufficiency of vitamin A in the body.
Types of Vitamins A
Vitamin A exists in two different forms of a compound known as Retinoid and Retinol. Retinoid, naturally exist in the body and some the dietary foods while Retinol is a Provitamin-A that our body converts into vitamin A.
Functions of Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays its role in the following vital functions of the body which include.
- Boosting of immunity
- Cell recognition
- Detoxification of body
- Growth and development
Sources of Vitamin A
- The plants that can give body vitamin A are pumpkin, carrot, squash, orange, potatoes, mangos, spinach, broccoli, and turnip.
- While the foods that are rich in vitamin A and obtain from animals are fish, fish oils, organs meat like liver, poultry, and dairy products like butter, egg, milk, and cheese.
Vitamin D is the most valuable fat soluble vitamin that helps the body to keep healthy bones and muscles. It also improves the absorption of calcium and magnesium from food. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be obtained from food and can also be prepared in the body with the help of sunlight.
Types of vitamin D
Vitamin D occurs in the following two main forms.
Vitamin D2 is also called Ergocalciferol, which is produced in the plant and cannot be synthesized in the human body.
Vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, is the only vitamin that can be sourced from sunlight in D3 is also called Cholecalciferol which is synthesized in the skin with the help of sunlight.
Functions of Vitamin D
- Vitamin D helpfully participates in different biological processes in the body.
- Vitamin D has a key role in the absorptions of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in small- intestine from foods.
- The absorbed calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium helps the body to have healthy and strong bones.
- The research shows that taking a proper dose of vitamin D has a positive impact on immunity, hypertension, and depression.
Sources of Vitamin D
- The animal sourced foods which are loaded with Vitamin D are dairy and poultry products, fish and organ meat like liver.
- The plant sourced foods that contain vitamin D are orange, juice and cereals.
- Apart from this vitamin D can also be sourced from sunlight.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that has a role in blood clotting. It also regulates the level of calcium in the blood that helps the body to have healthy and strong bones.
Types of Vitamin K
- Vitamin K occurs in different forms, the most common of them is vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 mostly available in vitamin K supplements and is sourced from plants.
- While vitamin K2 is mostly present in foods like meats and eggs that are obtained from animal-sourced foods.
Functions of Vitamin K
- The vital role of vitamin k is in blood clotting. Vitamin K participates in the production of special proteins called Prothrombin, which is responsible for blood clotting.
- Vitamin K also helps in regulating proper calcium levels in the body. The health of bones, connective tissues, and its metabolism is related to the consumption of vitamin K.
Sources of vitamin K
- The plants which can provide vitamin K to the body are green leafy vegetables, spinach, turnip, broccoli, cabbage, mustard and cauliflower etc.
- While the animal sourced foods that contain vitamin K are fish, liver, meat and eggs.
Vitamin E is an important vitamin that our body needs good health of skin, brain and eye.
Types of vitamin E
As there is only one form of vitamin E that our body needs which is alpha-tocopherol. But however, vitamin K occurs in two main forms that are tocopherol and tocotrienol each of them have more four sub-forms differentiated by using prefixes as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta before their names.