Vitamins are molecules or micronutrients that we need in small amounts to enable the correct working of our minds and bodies. Think of them as the constructors, guards and maintenance workers of our bodies.
Vitamins are grouped into 2 categories based on how they are absorbed into, and stored in, our bodies:
- Fat-soluble: vitamin A, D, E, and K are absorbed with fats in our digestive system, and are stored within the fatty tissues of our bodies and our liver, meaning that we have stores of these to draw on when our intake doesn’t meet our needs.
- Water-soluble: vitamin C & and the B vitamin group (including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, biotin, folic acid, B12) are absorbed with liquid in our digestive system, and cannot be stored in the body. They are eliminated daily, therefore we need to make sure we eat the daily recommended intake of these vitamins
Why do we need vitamins?
We need vitamins so that our body can perform vital functions such as:
- Releasing energy from our food
- Building and maintaining strong bones, muscles and teeth
- Supporting our nervous and immune systems
Some vitamins work together with other nutrients, like vitamin D, that plays a role in calcium absorbtion, or vitamin C, that boosts the absorption of iron,
What is the best way to get vitamins?
The best way to get your vitamins is to eat a healthy, varied and balanced diet, that contains plenty of vegetables and fruits. Vitamin deficiencies can develop when following certain restrictive diets or suffering from certain medical conditions, so in these cases it’s best to consult your GP who may recommend vitamin supplements to ensure you’re achieving the daily intake.