Vitamin -Meaning, functions and examples of Vitamins

Introduction

All other nutrients needed in the body(carbohydrate, protein, fats and oils, mineral salt and water) are important. As such vitamins are very essential to human growth and development.

Vitamins are nutrients that the body needs to fight disease, develop cell function. They perform various functions such as resisting infections, keeping the nerves healthy and helping the body get energy.

What are Vitamins?

Vitamin is an organic molecule or a set of molecules closely related chemically, that is an essential micronutrient which an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism (Wikipedia). Examples of Vitamins are vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.

Functions of Vitamin B

It facilitates the development of foetus and child development. It helps in the formation of red blood cells, Vitamins help the body to fight disease and improve eyesight. It helps the brain to function properly and aids good digestion. Vitamins also give healthy appetite.

It helps the nerves to function properly. It facilitates cholesterol production and improves nerve function. It increases the testosterone level in men and builds their muscles.

Examples and sources of Vitamin B

Vitamin B contains eight vitamins. They include B1 known as Thiamine, B2 known as Riboflavin, B3 called Niacin, B5 known as Pantothenic acid, B6 known as Pyridoxine, B7 known as Biotin, B9 called folic acid and B12 called Cobalamin.

Foods that contain Vitamin B are milk, cheese, eggs, liver and kidney, meat such as chicken and red meat, fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon, shellfish such as oysters and clamsdark, green vegetables such as spinach and kale, vegetables such as beets, avocados, and potatoes, whole grains and cereals, beans such as kidney beans, black beans, and chick peanuts and seed.

Fruits, such as citrus, banana, and watermelon, soy products such as soy milk and tempeh blackstrap molasses, wheat, germ yeast and nutritional yeast.

Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin plays a vital role in the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can be found in beef, oysters, cramps, liver, meat, egg, cheese, fish and nutritional yeast.

Lack of Vitamin B12 in the body can result in a disruption in the nervous system, poor memory, constipation, weakness, loss of appetite and weight, numbness in the fingers. Most important, it can lead to a disease called megaloblastic anaemia.

Vitamin B6 also known as pyridoxine helps in the conversion of food into energy as well as the fight against infection. Poultry, fish, organ meat (kidney, heart, liver), all fruits except citrus family and potato. Deficiency in vitamin B6 can lead to anaemia, depression, skin diseases (itchy rashes and cracks in the mouth) and all other types of infection.

Vitamin B3 also known as niacin helps in accurate digestion of food, a healthy appetite and cell development. Foods that contain Vitamin B 3 are meat( beef, pork and chicken), some nuts (groundnut, almond nut, peanut), legumes, grain food, bread and cereals.

Lack of Vitamin B3 can lead to a condition known as pellagra. Pellagra is a condition in which the skin turns red or brown in the sun, vomiting, constipation, aggressiveness, suicidal behaviour, a bright red tongue.

Vitamin B9 also called folic acid. It enhances the growth of red blood cells. Pregnant women are always encouraged to take Vitamin B9 because it reduces the risk of birth defect. The following are food rich in this vitamin orange/orange juice intake, kidney beans, black eye pea, rice, pasta, other fruits, spinach, lettuce, and green.

Lack of this vitamin can lead to megaloblastic anaemia, which causes weakness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, headache, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, open sores in the mouth, changes in skin, hair, or fingernail colour, megaloblastic anaemia, which causes weakness.

Vitamin B1 also known as thiamine also helps to convert food into energy. Sources of this vitamin are grains, fortified bread, cereal, pasta, rice, pork, fish, legumes, including black beans and soybeans, nuts and seeds. Deficiency leads to weakness in the body.

Vitamin B2 also known as riboflavin really centres on giving of proper eyesight. Sources of it are eggs, organ meats, including kidney and liver, lean meats, low – fat milk, green vegetables, including broccoli and spinach, fortified cereals, grains, and bread. Note that eggs and milk have the largest content of B2.
Vitamin B7 can be found largely in eggs.

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