The body needs vitamins daily
Vitamins are organic compounds which a human being needs. Small amounts of these compounds are needed for different functions in the body. The body can produce some of these vitamins to some extent, but some not enough and some not at all. Vitamins should therefore be acquired from foods in order for the body to function properly.
One exception to this is vitamin D: skin can produce vitamin D with the help of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. However, a sufficient amount of UV radiation is needed for this synthesis to happen and the further up North you live, the shorter the period of time when it is possible to acquire enough UV radiation from outside. In the Nordic countries, this covers the summer months and even then you need to stay outside at certain times of the day. Therefore vitamin D should also be acquired from foods or supplements, at least outside the summer months.
The 13 essential vitamins
There are 13 essential vitamins that need to be acquired from foods. Vitamins were previously named only by a letter. Later, when it was discovered that there are in fact various different B vitamins, a number was added after the letter to clarify which vitamin is in question. Later on specific names were also given to these vitamins, such as biotin, which refers to vitamin B7. There are also gaps in the naming of the B vitamins since according to current knowledge, not all B vitamins that were originally named as vitamins are in fact vitamins at all.
Necessary vitamins include:
- vitamin A
- vitamin B1
- vitamin B2
- vitamin B3
- vitamin B4
- vitamin B5
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B7i (biotin)
- vitamin B12
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
Fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins
Vitamins are divided into two groups, fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins, whereas vitamins B and C are water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body whereas water-soluble vitamins are not. Fatty acids, minerals and amino acids are not vitamins but other groups of essential nutrients.
More vitality from multivitamins
A diet which is diverse and includes plenty of vegetables, fruits and berries is a natural source of vitamins and minerals. However, in our busy lifestyle, it is not always possible to eat according to the recommendations and too often we resort to fast foods and prepared foods which have a poorer nutrient content. We need different vitamins to stay healthy and energetic. The body also needs vitamins for fully utilizing the carbohydrates, proteins and fats from the foods we eat.
The need for vitamins and minerals can increase due to certain lifestyle and environmental factors. Situations in which you should pay special attention to the intake of nutrients include sports, pregnancy, breastfeeding, stress, many illnesses and an excessive use of stimulants such as alcohol.
Vitamins are available in different forms: there are products which only contain one vitamin, a combination of vitamins or multivitamins. Multivitamins can include either all the essential vitamins or some of them.