What are Vitamins?

what are vitamins

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What are Vitamins?

Vitamins, in addition to minerals, belong to the group of micronutrients, which are mainly essential and heterogeneous substances for our body that cannot be synthesized or can only be synthesized in insufficient quantities and therefore must be obtained from the diet.

Vitamins are essential to carry out physiological processes. (digestion, respiration, metabolism…).

las Vitaminas / vitamins

What Functions Do Vitamins Fulfill?

Each type of vitamin listed below plays an important role in the body. The lack of certain vitamins results in avitaminosis, it is the lack of one or more of the essential vitamins. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to health problems. Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, whole grains, and fortified dairy products can increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and other health problems.

What Functions Do Vitamins Fulfill

How are they classified?

Vitamins are divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble, depending on whether they are water-soluble or fat, which determines their absorption, storage in the body and excretion.

The Properties of Water-soluble Vitamins (Groups B and C):

  • Their storage is minimal, so they must be eaten daily.
  • Absorption by passive diffusion.
  • Urinary Excretion: When water-soluble vitamins are present in excess, they are excreted in the urine and do not produce toxic effects, even at high doses.

The Properties of Fat-soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K):

  • These are stored in the liver and fatty deposits.
  • Absorption by bile salts.
  • Fecal level excretion.

Type of Vitamins:

Having talked about what vitamins are and their functions, as well as the benefits they have, a brief explanation of the types of vitamins that exist will be given:

Vitamin A

It is involved in the formation and maintenance of skin, bone, and mucous membranes, forming new tissue and helping to protect against infection. Similarly, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (diseases that impair central vision acuity). Retinol is found in eggs, meat, fatty fish, and butter.

Vitamin B

A compound containing several vitamins or nutrients, or entire groups thereof, is required in very small amounts by the body to function and maintain good health. The B vitamins of the vitamin B complex are thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and niacin, in addition to the group of vitamins B6, biotin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, vitamin B12.

The vitamin B complex is water soluble and is found in yeast, seeds, eggs, liver, meat and vegetables. Some members of the vitamin B complex are being studied in the prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer.

Vitamin C

It intervenes in the repair and maintenance of tissues, is an antioxidant, and favors the correct healing of wounds. Fruits and vegetables are foods rich in vitamin C, with recommended intakes of 75-90 mg per day.


Vitamin D

By absorbing calcium and phosphorous, it interferes with bone mineralization, blood clotting, and muscle function. Foods rich in this vitamin are fish, mushrooms, full-fat dairy products and eggs, with a recommended daily intake of 15-20 mg. It should be noted that most of this vitamin is not obtained from food, but from exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin E

It has antioxidant properties and protects the cells of the nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems from oxidation. It also prevents the oxidation of fats, proteins and nucleic acids. Foods rich in vitamin E are extra virgin olive oil, olives, nuts and the green parts of vegetables.

Vitamin H

Vitamin H helps some enzymes break down substances in the body into energy and helps tissue grow. It is found in yeast, whole milk, egg yolks, and organ meats. Vitamin H is water soluble and must be taken daily. Vitamin H is more present in some cancer tissues than in normal tissues. The application of vitamin H to substances used to treat some types of cancer can help detect cancer cells. Also called biotin.

Vitamin k

It prevents blood coagulation, that is, vascular bleeding. It is also involved in the production of osteocalcin, a protein abundant in bones, which helps bone mineralization. Vitamin K is found in vegetables, especially lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and spinach, and the recommended intake is 90 to 120 mg per day.