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For Your Health: Learn the ABC of vitamins
Published on 7 Jun. 2011 12:42 AM IST
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The human body is like a power engine. Just as a machine needs to be fuelled constantly, our body must be replenished regularly with vitamins for it to function properly. Each of the vitamins- A, C, D, E, K and B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12) - has an individual role to play in the body. Barring vitamins B12 and D3, vitamins A, B, C, and E are dietary.
Most people believe that if they take a multivitamin tablet they won’t fall ill, or when they cross 40 they must supplement their diet with one. Some people also believe that if they’re stressed or dieting they must then double their dose of vitamins in order to compensate.
In fact, if the multi-vitamin contains iron and minerals it leads to gastric problems. A high dose of these vitamins can become toxic in the body and in extreme cases may even lead to mental, neurological changes like memory lapses, tremors and urinary incontinence, Mumbai Mirror reports.
There is no clinical syndrome or arithmetic to prove that if you do not intake vitamins and food today there will be a paucity of it in a couple of weeks. The most dependable way to replenish your body with adequate amounts of vitamins, is to follow a well-balanced diet.
Erratic lifestyles, eating late, not chewing the food properly, binging before going to bed, consuming too much oily stuff or junk food, antibiotics, caffeine, alcohol restrict the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the body.
Consumption of excess alcohol requires the vitamin B complex group for it to be metabolised.
When alcohol gets into the system, the liver gets too busy trying to metabolise it and doesn’t find the time to do its natural work, which is manufacturing proteins.
Likewise, people who smoke, go on crash diets, or intake other harmful substances can run down on vitamin reserves as well.
Ensure you get these Vitamins
Vitamin A (Retinol/Beta carotene): Needed for healthy eyes and bone development. It also helps in healing infections as it strengthens the immune system and enhances the production of RNA (Ribonucleicacid).
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Helps in converting glucose into energy.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Helps in the conversion of fats, sugar, proteins into energy and the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Your cells breathe because of vitamin B3. It promotes healthy skin and maintains blood sugar levels.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): This helps in the production of anti-stress hormones. It also promotes healthy skin, hair and nerves.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is considered to be an anti-depressant. It’s also involved in blood formation, is fundamental for protein metabolism and nervous system function.
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid): This vitamin is important for pregnant women as it helps the synthesis of DNA and protein. It is also essential for red blood cell formation.
Vitamin B12: Helps maintain healthy nervous system, required for normal growth and production of red blood cells. It also helps break down fatty acids. Vitamin B12 is manufactured only in the colon, that too in inadequate quantities.
Vitamin C: This aids in tissue healing, formation of bones and teeth. It is also a rich anti-oxidant.
Vitamin D3: This is essential for metabolism, skeletal formation and teeth. It promotes the absorption of calcium. Yet only 10-15 per cent of the vitamin content comes from a balanced diet. The rest is derived from sunlight, which is absorbed through the skin.
Vitamin E: A healthy dose of vitamin E detoxifies the liver. It is an antioxidant, protects cells and helps maintain red blood cells.
Vitamin K: It is important in the blood clotting process.

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