What are vitamins

Vitamin lexicon

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 with the 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. In addition, for each vitamin you will find information on the symptoms of a deficiency, the daily requirement and how you can cover it.

Vitamin A (retinol)

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B7 (biotin)

Folic acid

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin D

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

Vitamin K

How do you eat a diet rich in vitamins?

  • Eat well-balanced and varied.
  • Plant-based foods should make up the majority 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 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?

People who have a balanced diet are usually well supplied with vitamins. However, there are also risk groups for 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 little nutrients overall, for example the elderly or alcoholics

Whether a dietary supplement with vitamin preparations makes sense in individual cases should be discussed with the doctor or pharmacist. Fat-soluble vitamins in particular, which the body cannot excrete very well, can be overdosed. In addition, side effects are possible with some vitamins if they are ingested in too high quantities.

Also read:

Are Excessive Vitamins Harmful?

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