• Vitamin lexicon

    Posted on August 13, 2021 by in Digestion

    Vitamin lexicon
    To take Vitamins or not? What are vitamins anyway, which ones are there and in which foods do they occur? 

    Definition: what are vitamins actually?

    Vitamins are essential substances that the body, with a few exceptions, cannot produce itself. Therefore it is dependent on the intake of food. An exception is vitamin D – the only vitamin that the body can produce in significant quantities. Bacteria in the human intestine also produce vitamin K and B12, but not enough to supply the organism with them.

    Fat and water-soluble vitamins

    Vitamins can be divided into two groups: fat and water-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K. They are particularly well absorbed from the intestine when fat is also supplied. While humans usually excrete water-soluble vitamins quite well through the kidneys, the body stores fat-soluble vitamins. They tend to accumulate more if too much of it is ingested.

    List of vitamins from A to K.

    Our vitamin lexicon gives you an overview of the vitamins and their function in the body.

    Vitamin A (retinol)

    Why does the body need vitamin A?
    Vitamin A includes a variety of substances that have a similar effect in the body. The best known is retinol, which is often mistakenly equated with vitamin A. In addition, there are precursors of vitamin A, so-called provitamins, which the body can convert into vitamin A. These include, for example, beta-carotene (provitamin A).
    Vitamin A is important for the growth processes of many cells. Vitamin A also helps keep the skin and mucous membranes healthy. Vitamin A is also important for the eyes.

    What foods contain vitamin A?
    Good vitamin A suppliers are animal foods. A small portion of liver already contains a multiple of the daily ration.
    Butter and cheese are also rich in vitamin A.
    In plant foods, vitamin A is often found in the form of beta-carotene (provitamin A). Carrots contain particularly large amounts of beta-carotene, but other fruits or vegetables such as spinach, red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli or apricots can also cover their daily needs. The organism can absorb beta-carotene more easily if a small amount of fat is consumed at the same time, for example in the form of olive oil.

    Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

    Why does the body need vitamin B1?
    Vitamin B1, called thiamine in technical jargon, is a water-soluble vitamin. The body needs it to metabolize the nutrients, especially the carbohydrates, from our food and convert them into energy. Vitamin B1 also supports various nerve functions.
    Vitamin B1 is sensitive to heat, UV rays and oxygen. Its content in food can therefore vary depending on storage and preparation. The body cannot store vitamin B1 for a longer period of time.

    What foods contain vitamin B1?
    Whole grains: For example, muesli with lots of oatmeal. Vitamin B1 is mainly found in the outer layers of grains
    Legumes such as lentils, peas and beans
    Meat, fish: Pork provides a lot of vitamin B1, fish with vitamin B1 content are, for example, plaice or tuna
    Vegetables: for example, potatoes, asparagus, spinach
    Walnuts

    Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

    What does the body need vitamin B2 for?
    Vitamin B2 plays a role in numerous metabolic processes. If, for example, the body converts glucose (glucose) or fatty acids into energy, it needs vitamin B2 – also known as riboflavin or lactoflavin. The vitamin is also important for special proteins in the lens of the eye.
    Vitamin B2 is one of the water-soluble vitamins and can be present in the diet as unbound riboflavin or bound to proteins.

    What foods contain vitamin B2?
    Good vitamin B2 suppliers are:
    Milk and dairy products
    Meat and fish
    Whole grains
    certain vegetables such as broccoli or kale
    Yeast

    Vitamin B3 (niacin)

    Why does the body need vitamin B3?
    We need vitamin B3 for numerous metabolic processes in the body, for example for the production of fatty acids. Vitamin B3 belongs to the group of water-soluble B vitamins. It is also called niacin. Niacin comes in two forms: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. The body can convert the two forms into each other and also form niacin itself from the amino acid tryptophan. We also take vitamin B3 from food.

    What foods contain niacin?
    Niacin is found in many foods – especially in animal products such as meat, fish and offal. In pork and calf liver, for example, it is abundant (attention: pregnant women should not eat liver, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, as it also contains large amounts of vitamin A!).
    Plants contain a lower proportion of niacin, which the human body can absorb less from grains, for example, than vitamin B3 of animal origin.A good plant-based vitamin B3 supplier is coffee.

    Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

    Why does the body need vitamin B6?
    Vitamin B6 is a collective term for various substances. Vitamin B6 regulates central processes in the metabolism. The body needs it above all to be able to convert and incorporate proteins. Vitamin B6 also helps with fat metabolism. It contributes to the formation of messenger substances in the nerves and has an effect on the immune system. In addition, vitamin B6 influences certain hormonal activities.Vitamin B6 is one of the water-soluble vitamins. Heat and daylight, especially the sun, can impair its effect.

    What foods contain vitamin B6?
    Vitamin B6, for example, is contained in:
    Meat: mainly in chicken, beef fillet, pork and liver
    Fish: e.B. sardine, mackerel
    Whole grains
    Vegetables: potatoes, legumes such as green beans, peas, lentils, cabbage vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes
    Fruit: avocados, bananas
    Walnuts and peanuts

    Vitamin B7 (biotin)

    Why does the body need biotin?
    Biotin – also called vitamin B7, less often called vitamin H – is a water-soluble vitamin. The human organism needs it, for example, for healthy skin, hair and nails. In addition, biotin is involved in fat and protein metabolism and plays a role in the correct conversion of the information contained in the genetic material.

    In which foods is biotin contained?
    Biotin is found, for example, in liver, egg yolk and yeast.
    In addition, biotin is found in many plant foods. Possible suppliers include nuts, oatmeal, soybeans and unpeeled rice.

    Folic acid

    Why does the body need folic acid?
    Folic acid is water-soluble and belongs to the group of B vitamins. Occasionally it is also referred to as vitamin B9 or vitamin B11, even rarer is the name vitamin M. The human body cannot produce it itself and must therefore absorb it through food. Strictly speaking, a distinction must be made between so-called folates, which occur in nature, and industrially produced folic acid.
    In the body, folic acid plays a role in growth processes and cell division. Since the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow divide very frequently, a sufficient supply of the vitamin is important for blood formation.

    What foods contain folic acid?
    A natural source of folic acid is mainly green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Hence the name – “folium” is the Latin word for “leaf”. Other folic acid suppliers are also:
    Vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage
    Legumes like soybeans and peas
    Wheat bran and whole grains
    Egg yolk and liver also contain folic acid
    Synthetic folic acid is added, for example to table salt or vitamin juices

    Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

    What does the body need vitamin B12 for?
    Vitamin B12 plays an important role in various metabolic processes. For example, it is involved in the breakdown of certain fatty acids. In addition, vitamin B12 supports blood formation by converting folic acid stored in the organism into its active form.
    Vitamin B12 is a collective term for different compounds with the same chemical backbone, the so-called cobalamines. Vitamin B12 is usually found in food, bound to proteins.

    What foods contain vitamin B12?
    Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods. Good suppliers are meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products.
    In small amounts, the vitamin can also be found in plant products, for example, in sauerkraut.

    Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

    What does the body need vitamin C for?
    Vitamin C intercepts free radicals,n helps build connective tissue
    It promotes iron absorption from the intestine into the blood.
    In addition, it is involved in the formation of hormones.

    Where do you get a lot of vitamin C?
    There is a lot in acerola cherries, sea buckthorn, blackcurrants, peppers, parsley and wild garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale, citrus fruits and kiwi as well as raw spinach.

    Vitamin D

    What does the body need vitamin D for?
    The fat-soluble vitamin D takes over many tasks in our organism. For example, it strengthens the bones and has an impact on muscle strength.
    Some studies have provided evidence that vitamin D may be important for cardiovascular health, that it could lower the risk of diabetes and some cancers. In other studies, however, these effects could not be proven.

    How does vitamin D get into the body?
    Vitamin D has a special position among vitamins. The body can make it itself with the help of sunlight. In people who are regularly outside, the skin produces 80 to 90 percent of the need for vitamin D itself, under the typical living conditions in this country. For this you do not have to spend a long time in the sun every day and it is enough to expose your hands, face and parts of your arms and legs. An extended sunbathing is therefore not necessary.
    The remaining 10 to 20 percent of the vitamin D requirement is covered by humans through nutrition. However, vitamin D is only found to a limited extent in foods.
    The concentration is highest in fatty fish varieties, such as salmon, herring or mackerel.
    Liver, egg yolk and some edible mushrooms, for example, also contain vitamin D.

    Vitamin E (tocopherol)

    Why does the body need vitamin E?
    Vitamin E is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. There are different forms, which experts summarize under the term tocopherols. The best known is alpha-tocopherol. The body absorbs vitamin E with dietary fat.
    Vitamin E is a cell protection vitamin. It protects the body’s cells from harmful influences, for example from aggressive oxygen compounds (free radicals). The protective function of vitamin E specifically affects fat metabolism. Cosmetic manufacturers sometimes add vitamin E to skin creams and sunscreens because it is intended to nourish the skin.

    What foods contain vitamin E?
    Good sources of vitamin E are primarily vegetable oils.
    Nuts, seeds, butter and eggs also contain vitamin E, albeit in smaller amounts.

    Vitamin K

    Why does the body need vitamin K?
    The fat-soluble vitamin K plays a role in the formation of coagulation factors. In addition, it inhibits bone loss in women after menopause.

    What foods contain vitamin K?
    Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and cabbage are a good source of vitamin K. In addition, the vitamin is also in legumes, for example.
    Bacteria in the gut are able to make vitamin K. The role of the in-house production of vitamin K has not yet been clarified with certainty. The vitamin K-synthesizing bacteria occur in a section of the intestine where less fat-soluble vitamins are usually absorbed into the body. It is therefore assumed that this self-formed vitamin K hardly plays a role in the supply.
    Newborns cover their needs with the help of breast milk. However, this is often not enough to replenish the stores sufficiently, which is why babies generally receive additional vitamin K after birth and at the first preventive examinations by the pediatrician.

     

    How do you eat a diet rich in vitamins?

    • Eat well-balanced and varied.
    • Plant-based foods should make up the bulk of your diet.
    • Eat three handfuls of vegetables and two handfuls of fruit a day.
    • Do not store fruit and vegetables for long, but prepare your food as fresh as possible so that the vitamins are retained.
    • Frozen fruit and vegetables can be an alternative to fresh – as long as they are left as natural as possible.
    • Consume dairy products daily (unless allergic) and fish once or twice a week. Meat, sausage and eggs in moderation can also be on the menu – they provide B12, for example.
    • Choose gentle cooking methods and eat raw vegetables!
    • For fat-soluble vitamins, make sure that the meal also contains fat. For example, add a little oil to raw food.

    When is the vitamin requirement increased?

    Pregnant and breastfeeding women, for example, have an increased need for many vitamins. Even with athletes, smokers, in growth phases and stressful situations, more of one or the other nutrient may be required.

    Does a dietary supplement make sense?

    Generally yes, as the food can only give you what it gets from the soil, and in Australia that is not very much. People who have a balanced diet are usually better supplied with vitamins and might not need as much supplementation.
    There are also higher risk groups for a vitamin deficiency. These include, for example:

    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
    • Vegan
    • People with certain diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or atrophic gastritis
    • People who take in too few nutrients overall, such as the elderly or alcoholics

    Fat-soluble vitamins in particular, which the body cannot excrete so well, can be overdosed. In addition, side effects are possible with some vitamins if they are ingested in too high quantities.

    Unless your colon is clean and functioning, your body cannot absorb Vitamins efficiently. Also parasites will eat your nutrients, so doing a regular parasite cleanse and colonics certainly help with the absorption of your nutrients.

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