Do we ever wonder why vitamins are necessary in our diet? They play a very important role in our diet. How can we get vitamins?

There are several ways we can get vitamins. First of all, vitamins are synthesized by plants. When a man eats plants, for example, fruits and vegetables, he fulfills his need in the vitamins. Animals also absorb vitamins from plants, so we can obtain some vitamins by eating animal products (eggs, fish or meat). Another way in which we can get vitamins is to consume supplements. Vitamins have many healthy functions.

Vitamin Function

Most of the vitamins have identifiable roles in maintaining the function and health of our body. For instance, vitamin C strengthens the immune system thus improving the ability of our body to fight off the infection. Vitamin E is linked to skin, hair and nail health, and the B vitamins are involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy. Vitamin D works alongside the mineral calcium to promote healthy bones. Vitamin K is necessary for forming blood clots, and vitamin A is important for ocular health and vision. Although many vitamins have identifiable roles, they seldom work alone and work far better in concert than they do in isolation.

Types of vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E and K are classed as fat-soluble vitamins and are transported and utilized in the body in the presence of dietary fats. Your body stores excess fat-soluble vitamins for use when needed. Vitamins B and C are water soluble and cannot be stored in your body. Your kidneys eliminate excess vitamin B and C in your urine, so you need to consume adequate amounts of B and C on a daily basis.

Selected Sources of Vitamins

You can obtain vitamins from a variety of food sources as well as vitamin supplements. Fish oils and liver contain vitamin A; you’ll find B vitamins in meat, grains and leafy green vegetables; vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits such as oranges; vitamin D and vitamin E can be obtained from fish oils and nut oils; and leafy green vegetables are a good source of vitamin K. Eating a variety of plant and animal-based foods ensures that you obtain a broad range of vitamins.

Considerations

The symptoms associated with taking too many vitamins are unpleasant. Although it is very hard to overdose on vitamins, consuming too many may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, stomach upsets and diarrhea. It is highly unlikely you will consume too many vitamins from natural foods alone, but if you take too many vitamin supplements in addition to an already vitamin-dense diet, you may consume too many. In the case of vitamins, more does not necessarily equal better.

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