The Vitamin Almanac
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients — because, acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help bones, heal wounds and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair cellular damage.
Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential vitamins that Healthy Kingsport will explore this summer. The “Vitamins Almanac” will feature vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12 and folate). For this week, we will focus on vitamins D and E.
Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. Vitamin D also plays a significant role in the life cycle of human cells. It’s so essential that your body makes it by itself — but only after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight. About a third of the population is deficient in this sunshine vitamin. When your vitamin D is low, you can suffer from stress fractures, keep getting sick such as colds, etc., your mood can change and it seems harder to exercise. Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend. Vitamin D is in the food we eat every day, such as meats, egg yolks and oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods with antioxidant qualities that helps keep your immune system strong. In the body it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage, resulting in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness and vision problems. Another sign of deficiency is a weakened immune system. Vitamin E is in foods we eat every day, such as almonds, peanuts or peanut butter, beet greens, collard greens, spinach pumpkins and red bell peppers.
Intake of vitamins is significant to get your body’s physiological function running. Remember, supplements aren’t intended to replace food. They can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Whole foods offer three main advantages over dietary supplements. But it is critical to note that too many vitamins can cause toxic build-up in the body, and too many antioxidants can lead to the development of certain cancers. Take your vitamins at adequate levels and consult with your health care provider before starting a vitamin regimen.