Vitamins: definition, list, benefits, deficiencies

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A, E, D, B, C… Vitamins are essential for the body, they participate in growth, in the muscular, bone, immune, nervous systems… With the exception of vitamin D and K that the body manufactures, the others are available in food. Definition, role, foods, deficiencies… All about vitamins.

What is a vitamin?

Vitamins are organic substances without energy value but essential to the body. The human body cannot usually produce them on its own, and therefore their dietary intake is essential. They participate in the construction of the organism (growth, development of the skeleton, etc.), in the functioning and maintenance of the body (transformation and use of macro-nutrients , vision, blood coagulation, muscular, nervous, immune systems, production of DNA…). « To date, we have identified thirteen vitamins , including eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12), vitamin Cand four fat-soluble, fat-soluble vitamins from foods. These are vitamins A, D, E and K », explains Laurence Plumey, nutritionist. 

List of vitamins

  • Lack of vitamin C: signs, causes, what to do?
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency: cause, symptoms, among vegans?
  • Vitamin C: when to take it? Liposomal more effective?
  • Berocca: benefits, danger, when to take a cure?
  • BCAA: what is it, bodybuilding, danger, usefulness, for whom?
  • Vitamin E: benefits, deficiency, in capsule?
  • Vitamin D: food, supplement, what daily dose?
  • Vitamin K: role in coagulation, where to find it?
  • Vitamin D3: food, ampoule, benefits, how to take it?
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): deficiency, food, without a prescription?
  • Vitamin B12: role, foods, dosage, deficiency
  • Vitamin K1: role, indications, dosage, foods
  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene, retinol): role, benefit, foods, deficiency
  • Vitamin B6: benefits, dosage, foods

Role: What are vitamins for?

Via multiple mechanisms of action, vitamins play many roles that contribute to the proper functioning of the human body. Vitamins are numerous and we distinguish in particular vitamin A , having a role in growth and vision in particular, vitamins of group B helping in many reactions of production (anabolism) or destruction (catabolism) of materials, vitamin C promoting the absorption of iron and entering into the synthesis of blood cells, vitamin D allowing the absorption of calcium and its fixation to strengthen the bones, vitamin K, which contributes to blood coagulation…  « It does not There are no vitamins more essential than others.They are all important . On the other hand, there are vitamins which are more affected by deficiencies than others. This is the case for vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B9”.

What are the benefits of vitamins?

► Vitamin A  (retinol or beta-carotene) plays an important role in vision, skin cell renewal and the immune system.

►  B group vitamins refer to all eight B group vitamins.

►  Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B8  are involved in energy production. « Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8 transform the proteins, lipids and carbohydrates we eat into energy » , specifies Laurence Plumey.

►  Vitamin B9, or folic acid , is involved in cell division. « It is a very important vitamin for women , assures our specialist, because almost one woman in two lacks it, which can cause fetal malformations during early pregnancy in a deficient woman. »  

►   » Vitamin B12  is also involved in cell division like B9″ , she adds. It also contributes to the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Vitamins B9 and B12 also participate in the formation of red blood cells.  

► Vitamin C  has antioxidant properties that fight against cell aging. It helps healing and strengthens teeth and bones. « Very valuable in winter, it also strengthens the immune defenses, » says Laurence Plumey.

► Vitamin D  « This absolutely essential vitamin is used to fix calcium in the water. It has a valuable role in immunity and the prevention of cancer », underlines the nutritionist.  We have also noticed that many patients who developed a severe form of Covid-19 were deficient in vitamin D, unlike those who did, unlike those who had a mild form ”, adds Laurence Plumey.

►Vitamin E  participates in the protection of cell membranes and thus helps to slow down skin aging. « Vitamin E also has antioxidant properties. It is very useful for limiting the oxidation of cholesterol in the blood, the first risk factor for the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, the cause of many cardiovascular diseases », adds our expert.

►  Vitamin K  » mainly intervenes in the coagulation process », notes Dr. Plumey. It also participates in bone mineralization and cell growth.

Vitamins and diet

Apart from vitamins K and D that the body manufactures, the others are provided by food, hence the importance of having a balanced diet to avoid deficiencies. 

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