It doesn’t have to have been long since you took some high school science to forget most of what you learned about vitamins. It’s one of those background bits of knowledge that makes up everyday life. Vitamins are good, they are listed on the labels of most food items and you need more of some than others.
The reason it’s so easy to get confused is because the most common vitamins do a lot of work and are plentiful enough that you rarely face a deficiency issue. Part of this is because they are common and they are essential, so foods rich in them have been the most cultivated and play roles in many recipes.
The other reason it’s easy to get confuses is that tat nutritional science changes at a rapid rate. The discovery of interactions between diet and the many many active parts of the digestive biome requires frequent revisits and revisions of knowledge.
Never fear, hers’ a quick crash course in seven of the most vital vitamins and what they do for you.
Functions of the Most Common Vitamins
Vitamins rarely appear in one form. The term represents a combination of complex molecules essential for your metabolism and charging the immune system. In a very real way, vitamins are the building blocks that make up the bits of you that aren’t fat and water (with water being that biggest piece of that pie chart).
Vitamins are complex and though they sometimes play overlapping roles, it’s far better to have all of them for total coverage than to risk a deficiency.
This is an easy one. A lifetime of milk commercials has locked into the collective consciousness the importance of calcium to bones and teeth.
Calcium does more than strengthen these tissues, though. Calcium plays a key role in the power stroke of muscles. Calcium resets the muscle fibers, draining ATP, and allowing the muscle to relax again.
Without sufficient calcium, exercise causes more cramps, tears, and strain. Too much calcium has been known to lead to bone spurs. However, this is a rare issue that has more to do with elimination than supply.
2. Vitamin D
Another favorite of the milk set, vitamin D also comes from an interaction within your skin. The lack of sunlight that many modern people face leads to more vitamin D deficiency than other common vitamins.
Along with calcium, vitamin D builds bones and also regulates the tensile strength of muscles in the colon. Vitamin D plays a role in other tissue regulation and deficiency is linked to heart disease.
Your nerves need a solid dose of vitamin D to keep firing as well. Electrical regulation falls under the watch of vitamin D.
The immune system requires vitamin D to facilitate signals and to generate white blood cells.
3. Vitamin A
The largest worldwide deficiency is in vitamin A. Populations that subsist mainly on rice are commonly found deficient in this crucial vitamin. That’s why the development of Golden Rice is so important to stabilize large populations that have poor access to other Vitamin A rich sources such as veggies, cantaloupe, and salmon.
Vitamin A helps with blood flow and is famously associated with night vision.
Be cautious with vitamin A supplements, it is one of the few vitamins that can damage the liver when taken in high doses.
4. Vitamin B6
One of the most important vitamins for a lifetime of healthy living is B6. It plays a primary role in sleep regulation, mood, and appetite. Memory function and cognitive fidelity are also influenced by vitamin B6.
Without enough B6 you get groggy, surly, and hungry. Deficiency in B6 is extra common when dealing with stressful situations.
A lack of B6 and vitamin D makes hair extra brittle and depletes the coting around the follicle, leading to permanent hair loss. If you’re stressing about the current times, consider hair friendly vitamins.
5. Vitamin B12
Trivia of the day, there are only eight B-vitamins but their numbering is more about the structure than a count.
B12 plays an essential role in breaking down complex sugars into energy for the body. It is a precursor to the creation of that adenine triphosphate (ATP) needed to move around.
Without B12, intestinal absorption of foods goes way down. This quickly leads to deficiencies of other vitamins, even when you are getting enough nourishment through a balanced diet.
Feel free to ramp up the B12 consumption if you’re worried, it’s a water-soluble vitamin, so it doesn’t build up or cause damage in larger doses.
6. Vitamin B9
Most of the b vitamins cause extra confusion because they have names in addition to the numbers. B9 is also known as folate.
Folate aids in the construction of red blood cells and other cell growth. Without folate, the cell walls aren’t up to snuff and take damage more easily. Healing from damage and growth are both domains of B9.
Loading up on B9 is important when building muscle for both the rejuvenation of the tissues and the bulk. The extra supply of red cells also helps.
7. Vitamin E
The principle antioxidant and major stress fighter is vitamin E. While B9 is responsible for supplying strong and durable building blocks for your cells, vitamin E acts as a handyman, repairing damage and shoring up the defenses against frequent environmental dangers.
Vitamin E assists blood flow by keeping jagged edges to a minimum and bolstering the transmission of messenger RNA between cells.
As an antioxidant, vitamin E leeches free radicals out of your system. These bits of unprocessed material gum up other systems by confusing cells and subverting messages.
There’s a lot of goodness to be found out there and so many ways to get at the most common vitamins. Keeping a rich, varied diet is always the best way to keep up on your essentials.
When you feel lax in one or another category, supplements make it easy to get back into shape without changing up your day to day diet. Keep strong and remember to follow us for more tips and articles on everyday health.