The body needs a small number of organic nutrients known as vitamins for several biochemical processes necessary for an organism’s development, survival, and reproduction. Since the body typically cannot produce vitamins, they must be obtained from food. The role of vitamins in enzymatic processes as coenzymes (or prosthetic groups) is their most important function. The two primary categories of vitamins that are necessary for human diets are listed below.
Vitamins that dissolve in water and are easily absorbed into tissues for immediate use are known as water-soluble vitamins. They must frequently be supplied in the diet since the body cannot store them. Water-soluble vitamin excesses are swiftly eliminated in urine and seldom build up to hazardous amounts. Consuming too many water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, might result in diarrhea. The B-complex vitamins and vitamin C are among the water-soluble vitamins, and they both have the following positive health effects (Youness et al., 2022):
- Thiamine, vitamin B1, is crucial for maintaining the neurological system.
- Riboflavin, often vitamin B2, supports healthy skin and eyes.
- Niacin, vitamin B3, supports healthy enzyme activity, metabolism, and digestion.
- Pantothenic acid, often known as vitamin B5, supports hormone production and metabolism. It might reduce inflammation and aid with cholesterol management.
- B6 (pyridoxine) facilitates protein metabolism and the synthesis of hemoglobin, insulin, and red blood cells.
- B7 (biotin) assists in the release of energy.
- B9 (folate or folic acid) supports red blood cell production and protein metabolism.
- The generation of healthy red blood cells is aided by B12 (cobalamin).
Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat, as can be deducted from the name itself. They are taken up by fat globules that move through the small intestines and are then transported throughout the body in circulation. The fat-soluble vitamins (FSV) A, D, E, and K are absorbed in the gut when fat is present. Classic vitamin deficiency symptoms include vision problems (vitamin A), bone deformities (vitamin D), enhanced cellular oxidative stress (vitamin E), and internal bleeding (vitamin K) (Sagala et al., 2019). Contrary to water-soluble vitamins, excess fat-soluble vitamins are kept for later use in the liver and fatty (adipose) tissues. They are more prevalent in high-fat diets and are better absorbed when taken with fat.
There are many good reasons for taking vitamin supplements, as stated before. Despite this, experts are beginning to doubt the conventional wisdom surrounding the health advantages of vitamins, particularly for those who do not indeed have any pre-existing medical disorders. It is interesting to note that the U.S. PSTF either advises against using vitamin supplements or concludes that there is insufficient data to assess their health advantages accurately.
It is easy to understand why specific multivitamins can have a more favorable perception than their accurate results. Positive early research often leads people—including medical professionals- to believe the rumors surrounding particular vitamin supplements. Even after thorough studies, the majority of which take years to complete – discover that their health benefits are insignificant or founded on false presumptions, such as the notion that it is possible to encapsulate the advantages of vitamins and minerals into one daily pill. It is best to keep taking vitamins if the customer has a valid reason. However, most individuals would likely be better off if they just ate a healthy, balanced diet. Conversely, it is more objective to hold out on using a vitamin supplement until all the study is complete.
Sagala, N., Hayat, C., & Tandipuang, F. (2019). Identification of fat-soluble vitamins deficiency using artificial neural network. Jurnal Teknologi Dan Sistem Komputer, 8(1), 6–11.
Youness, R. A., Dawoud, A., ElTahtawy, O., & Farag, M. A. (2022). Fat-soluble vitamins: Updated review of their role and orchestration in human nutrition throughout life cycle with sex differences. Nutrition & Metabolism, 19(1).