What are Vitamins and How Do They Help Our Bodies?

Vitamins are organic substances that are essential for our bodies to develop and function normally. They are divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins

(vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K) dissolve in fat and can accumulate in the body, while water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate) must dissolve in water before they can be absorbed and cannot be stored. A balanced diet is necessary to ensure that our bodies get all the essential vitamins they need.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps regulate metabolic processes such as the synthesis of amino acids and hormones, as well as maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamins and minerals are both micronutrients that are required by the body to perform a number of normal functions. In 1910, Umetaro Suzuki was the first to isolate a water-soluble micronutrient complex from rice bran, which he called aberic acid (later Orizanin). Calcium is similar to a fat-soluble vitamin because it requires a carrier for absorption and transport.

Vitamins are also important for keeping our immune system strong, so they help us fight off diseases. Vitamins differ from the other three categories of essential nutrients: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. In 1930, Paul Karrer clarified the correct structure of beta-carotene, the main precursor of vitamin A, and identified other carotenoids. B-complex vitamins include thiamine (B), riboflavin (B), niacin (B), pantothenic acid (B), pyridoxine (B), biotin (B), folic acid (B), and B12. The importance of eating certain foods to maintain health was known long before vitamins were identified.

The Danish scientists who isolated and described vitamin K (in addition to naming it that way) did so because the vitamin is involved in blood clotting after an injury (from the Danish word Koagulation). In East Asia, where polished white rice was the common staple food of the middle class, beriberi resulting from a lack of vitamin B1 was endemic. Vitamins are an important part of a balanced diet; they can be found naturally in foods or added to processed foods to increase their nutritional value.

Ben Liebhardt
Ben Liebhardt

Amateur travel fanatic. General web buff. Certified travel junkie. Twitter nerd. Infuriatingly humble web practitioner. Certified beer nerd.

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