Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vitamins 101, Part 1


It seems like we have been waiting a long time for a warm, sunny day like this.

I looked outside and thought, "I need to get out there in the sunshine and get my vitamin D."

That got me thinking about vitamins.

Most of us know that we get vitamin D from the sun, but do we even know what vitamin D does in our bodies? In fact, do we even know what any vitamin does for our bodies?

Well, I thought I would use the next few posts to demystify vitamins starting with the ABC's:
Source: Truestar Health

Vitamin A (Retinol) - A fat soluble vitamin that maintains eye health and helps our cells reproduce normally. It is also vital in embryo and fetus development as well as normal reproductive function. Vitamin A is found in liver, dairy products and cod liver oil.

Vitamin B Complex - This refers to all the water soluble vitamins, except for Vitamin C.
  • B1 (Thiamine) - Required to process fats, carbohydrates and protein. Nerve cells also require vitamin B to function normally. It can be found in whole wheat, beans and peanuts.
  • B2 (Riboflavin) - Needed to process fats and amino acids and also to activate vitamin B6 and folic acid. It helps the body convert carbohydrates to fuel. Good sources of vitamin B2 are dairy products, meats and eggs.
  • B3 (Niacin) - Needed to release energy from and form fat from carbohydrates. It also helps process alcohol. Vitamin B3 is found in meat, peanuts and fish.
  • B5 ( Pantethine) - Essential in producing, releasing and transporting energy from fat. The synthesis of cholesterol depend on vitamin B5 and it also activates the adrenal glands. Good sources of vitamin B5 are liver, yeast and salmon.
  • B6 (Pyridoxine) - Master vitamin for processing amino acids. It is also needed to make hormones, serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. You can find vitamin B6 is bananas, potatoes and lentils.
  • B12 (Cobalamin) - Vital in nerve cell activity and DNA replication. Vitamins B6 & B12 act together to control homocysteine levels. Excess homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Sources of vitamin B12 are poultry, eggs and dairy products.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) - A water soluble vitamin that is important for many metabolic reactions in the body. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes a healthy immune system. It can be found in strawberries, citrus fruits and broccoli.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


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