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A Comprehensive Vitamin Guide

A Comprehensive Vitamin Guide

By Dr. Patrick Lovegrove Medically Reviewed by Lindsay Langley, BSN, RN, CHT
Posted Monday, February 13th, 2023
A Comprehensive Vitamin Guide

There are thirteen vitamins, separated into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. The body cannot store water-soluble vitamins, which include Vitamin C and the B-complex group. Vitamins are rapidly released through urine; thus, they must be replaced regularly. In contrast, fat-soluble substances are retained temporarily in the liver and fatty tissues.

There are thirteen vitamins, separated into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. The body cannot store water-soluble vitamins, which include Vitamin C and the B-complex group. Vitamins are rapidly released through urine; thus, they must replace regularly. In contrast, fat-soluble substances are retained temporarily in the liver and fatty tissues.

Vitamin Guide: List of Thirteen Vitamins and Their Advantages

  • Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that improves night vision because it creates pigments present in the retina of the eye. Commonly known as retinol. Vitamin A promotes the health and development of all body cells and tissues. It helps create and maintain healthy teeth, skin, tissues, and mucous membranes. We must be aware that the retinol form can sometimes not be properly made from the beta carotene form in the diet from vegetables and thus retinol specific form would need to be taken or consumed e.g Cod Liver Oil
  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in some foods and created by the body in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. It is a vitamin that facilitates calcium and phosphorus absorption and helps deposit these minerals in teeth and bones.

    Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, which aids in the formation and maintenance of strong bones. According to studies, vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune system and regulates the growth and differentiation of cells.
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble and potent antioxidant that protects cellular tissues from free radical damage. Free radicals are potentially hazardous byproducts of energy metabolism that may contribute to the onset of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Here is a list of antioxidant foods that has Vitamin E.

    According to research, vitamin E may help prevent colon, breast, and prostate cancers. In addition, current research has shown that Vitamin E enhances the immune system, improves brain function, and contributes to the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin E has been seen to lessen the likelihood of acquiring various vision diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Please note that taking Vitamin E as a supplement often does not include all the isomer forms of vitamin E that you find in nature and thus we should always look for the “mixed tocopherol” forms in supplementation.
  • Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin called the “clotting vitamin.” The principal function of this vitamin is to maintain regular blood coagulation (through the formation of prothrombin). The blood begins to clot immediately when a blood vessel is damaged or torn.

    It governs the process of calcium transport in the body and thus has a role in bone formation and preventing osteoporosis. Vitamin K contributes to creating several essential proteins for coagulation and anticoagulation. Vitamin K can reduce arterial calcification by decreasing the incidence of heart disease and heart failure.
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has multiple effects on the body. It is necessary to create collagen. A crucial protein in forming blood vessels, scar tissue, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Vitamin C is required to repair and maintain these tissues and aids wound healing.

    Aside from Vitamin D, Vitamin C protects against degeneration associated with osteoarthritis.

    Vitamin C is active in producing norepinephrine, a crucial neurotransmitter for brain function. Small doses of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, can prevent the damage caused by free radicals, which are byproducts of metabolic activity.

    The accumulation of these free radicals has been linked to aging. Numerous studies have demonstrated that free radicals contribute to cardiovascular disease, retinal degeneration, and cancer development.
  • Thiamin, a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, helps the body manufacture energy by breaking down carbs and lipids. Thiamine, commonly known as vitamin B1, is needed for proper growth and development since it helps maintain optimal function in the heart, neurological, and digestive systems. Vitamin B1 aids in maintaining healthy digestive, neurological, and cardiovascular systems. Storing it briefly in muscle tissue; depletion can occur within 14 days.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is a water-soluble vitamin that aids in synthesizing carbohydrates and lipids to produce energy. It also converts the vital amino acid tryptophan into the B vitamin niacin and activates vitamin B6. Additionally, riboflavin helps the body’s antioxidant system guard against free radical damage. It is essential for multiple physiological systems, including the neurological, reproductive, and immunological systems.
  • Niacin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that functions in energy metabolism by converting carbs and lipids. Additionally, it assists the body in eliminating dangerous pollutants, producing steroid hormones, and repairing DNA. Vitamin B3 is crucial in maintaining the smooth muscle tone of the digestive tract. According to studies, Niacin is excellent at lowering cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular circulation.
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin. Like other B-complex family members, it aids in metabolizing lipids, proteins, and carbs to produce and release energy.

    Experts commonly call it the “anti-stress vitamin.” It helps the adrenal gland release cortisol, the stress hormone. Here are 7 ways to manage stress for a healthy lifestyle. Pantothenic acid assists the adrenal gland in the production of other vital hormones that help the body combat allergies and regulate metabolism. Moreover, it is essential for encouraging the immune system to manufacture more antibodies.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is a water-soluble vitamin that aids in producing proteins. Used to construct cell bodies. It converts tryptophan (a vital amino acid) into Niacin (Vitamin B3) and Serotonin, a neurotransmitter.

    Vitamin B6 aids the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells (WBCs) to fight illness. Hemoglobin production necessitates Vitamin B6. Hemoglobin, a central component of red blood cells, binds to oxygen and transports it to all body tissues.

    Additionally, it enhances the oxygen transported by hemoglobin. Consequently, vitamin B6 deficiency causes anemia. Additionally, it helps maintain normal blood glucose levels.

    Your body requires vitamin B6 to convert stored carbs into glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels when glucose levels are low. Recent studies have demonstrated that vitamin B6 reduces homocysteine levels linked to cardiovascular disease.
  • Folate is a water-soluble vitamin crucial in creating DNA and RNA, which generate new cell bodies. Folate is necessary for DNA replication and can prevent DNA mutations that could lead to cancer.

    It participates actively in rapid cell division and proliferation throughout infancy and pregnancy. In conjunction with vitamin B12, folate produces hemoglobin in red blood cells and helps efficiently transfer oxygen to surrounding tissues. Folate helps reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. We need to always pay attention that folate is not the same as folic acid and has different capabilities when consumed and need to ask your physician which form is best for you.
  • Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin for developing healthy red blood cells and nerve cells. It is necessary for both DNA and RNA replication. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 and folate regulate homocysteine levels in the body.

    Higher homocysteine levels are related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Vitamin B12, like other water-soluble vitamins, is essential for cell division and development.

    Moreover, it enhances our energy by metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. The body absorbs Vitamin B12 into the body via attaching to dietary proteins. Hydrochloric acid releases vitamin B12 from protein during digestion. Vitamin B12, once released, mixes with a molecule called intrinsic factor (IF). Then, the digestive system absorbs this organic compound.
  • Biotin is a B-complex vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin. Similar to other B vitamins, it assists cells in producing energy. It aids in metabolizing dietary lipids, proteins (amino acids), and carbohydrates. It is essential for cell growth, synthesizing fatty acids, maintaining stable blood sugar levels, and strengthening hair and nails.

    It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, generating biological energy during aerobic respiration. So, it facilitates the movement of carbon dioxide within the body. Preliminary research indicates that biotin may assist people with diabetes, particularly those with type 2 diabetes, better controlling their blood sugar levels.

About the author

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove