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  Category: Articles » Health & Fitness » Health Care » Article

Vitamins for Vitality

By Mel Sinclair

Vitamins are chemical substances essential for good health. They enable normal metabolism, growth and development and the regulation of cell function to occur.

Vitamins work together with enzymes, co-factors (substances that assist enzymes), and other substances necessary for healthy life. The body is unable to manufacture most vitamins so they must be obtained from food or dietary supplements. However Vitamins D and K can be synthesized by the body.

There are 13 vitamins in all and they can be classified into two main groups water soluble and fat soluble. The water soluble vitamins include vitamins C (ascorbic acid) and the B group vitamins. The B group vitamins include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin pantothenic acid, biotin, vitaminB-6, Vitamin B-12 and folate.

The fat soluble vitamins are A, D (sunshine vitamin), E (tocopherol) and K (clotting vitamin). They dissolve in fats and are transported by fats in the blood stream.

Each vitamin has specific functions and can be found in different foods. Various vitamins can be found in dairy products, vegetables and meats. There is a recommended dietary intake of each vitamin required by a healthy individual each day.

If levels of a particular vitamin are inadequate, a deficiency disease results. However the theory that if some is good more is better is not always the case with vitamins. An excess of some vitamins will cause a toxicity to develop.

The specific recommendations for each vitamin will vary according to a person's age, gender and other health conditions such as pregnancy and lactation. The best way to ensure your vitamin intake is adequate is to discuss your diet with your doctor or a dietician.

Eating a well balanced diet with a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid will ensure that the daily requirement of essential vitamins is met. If there is difficulty in achieving this then quality vitamin supplements can be taken.

About the Author
Mel Sinclair is a highly regarded health writer with expertise across a range of areas. A Registered Nurse (Nursing Sister) of 20+ years of experience, Mel is passionate about assisting others achieve the very best of health. More information at

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