Importance of vitamins – Part 3

Fat soluble vitamins

Vitamin A

Vitamin A which is also known as retinol is essential for normal vision, particularly in low-light conditions. It is a component of the light-absorbing pigment in the retina called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin enables the eyes to detect and process light, allowing us to see in dim light. For maintaining the health and integrity of epithelial cells, which are found in mucous membranes and skin Vitamin A is necessary. It helps keep these surfaces moist and functional, contributing to the prevention of infections and promoting wound healing. Retinol is important for reproductive health in both males and females. It plays a role in the development of sperm and eggs. During pregnancy, vitamin A is crucial for proper embryonic development, including the formation of the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. This vitamin is also essential for normal growth and development, particularly in children. It supports bone growth and helps regulate the balance between bone formation and resorption. Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. It supports the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, which are the body’s first line of defense against pathogens. Additionally, vitamin A is involved in the production and function of immune cells. Another function is importance for the differentiation of cells, meaning it helps guide cells to develop into specific types with specialized functions. This function is essential for various tissues and organs, including the skin and digestive tract. As well as Beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A found in many plant-based foods, functions as an antioxidant. It helps neutralize harmful free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to aging and disease and this vitamin supports bone health by contributing to bone growth and remodeling processes. It interacts with vitamin D, another important nutrient for bone health.

Deficiencies of Vitamin A can cause ocular disturbances leading to blindness, growth retardation, dry skin, diarrhea, vulnerability to infection

Food Sources of vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, broccoli, eggs, liver, dairy products

Vitamin D

One of the primary functions of vitamin D is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. It works closely with parathyroid hormone (PTH) to ensure that blood levels of these minerals are within a narrow, optimal range. Another importance is for bone health and proper mineralization of bones. It facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive tract and their deposition into bone tissue, helping to maintain bone density and strength. As well as vitamin D supports bone growth and remodeling processes. It is important for children and adolescents, as it contributes to the development of strong and healthy bones during growth In addition to that Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining healthy muscle function. Adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with improved muscle strength and coordination. Emerging research suggests that vitamin D plays a role in supporting the immune system. It may help modulate immune responses and enhance the body’s ability to fight off infections. Furthermore, vitamin D plays a role in regulating cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis (programmed cell death). It can influence the behavior of various types of cells in the body. Some studies suggest that vitamin D might have a protective effect on cardiovascular health by supporting blood vessel health, regulating blood pressure, and reducing inflammation. This vitamin has been linked to mood and mental health. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of mood disorders, such as depression. As well as influences the expression of genes involved in various physiological processes is another function of vitamin D. It acts as a hormone that binds to specific receptors in cells, affecting gene transcription and cellular functions

Deficiencies of Vitamin D can cause defective bone growth in children, soft bones in adults

Food Sources of Vitamin D are Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), fortified dairy products, fortified cereals, egg yolks.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it helps protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can lead to cellular damage and contribute to various chronic diseases and aging. This vitamin works by interrupting and neutralizing the chain reactions caused by free radicals. It helps prevent the spread of oxidative damage within cells and tissues. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as those found in cell membranes and lipids, are particularly vulnerable to oxidation. Vitamin E helps protect these fatty acids from oxidation, preserving the structural integrity of cell membranes and maintaining their functionality. Vitamin E is incorporated into cell membranes, where it acts as a shield against oxidative damage. By maintaining the health of cell membranes, vitamin E supports the proper functioning of cells and their communication with each other. In addition to that Vitamin E plays a role in supporting the immune system. It helps maintain the integrity and functionality of immune cells, allowing them to effectively combat infections and other challenges. Vitamin E is often included in skincare products due to its potential benefits for skin health. It may help protect the skin from UV-induced damage and maintain skin moisture. Apart from that vitamin E is involved in the process of wound healing. It contributes to tissue repair by aiding in the formation of new blood vessels and promoting the regeneration of skin cells. Vitamin E has been studied for its potential cardiovascular benefits. It may help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a contributing factor to the development of atherosclerosis. Vitamin E is thought to have a protective role in maintaining neurological health. It may help protect nerve cells from oxidative damage and support cognitive function.

Deficiencies of Vitamin E can cause peripheral neuropathy, breakdown of red blood cells

Food Sources of Vitamin E are Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower, olive), spinach, broccoli.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for the synthesis of several proteins involved in blood coagulation, collectively referred to as clotting factors. These proteins are necessary for the formation of blood clots that help stop bleeding after an injury. As well as it plays a role in bone health by contributing to the regulation of calcium and bone mineralization. It is involved in the activation of a protein called osteocalcin, which helps bind calcium to the bone matrix, promoting bone strength and density. Another one of the primary functions of vitamin K is its role in preventing excessive bleeding. Without adequate vitamin K, the body’s ability to form blood clots is compromised, leading to an increased risk of hemorrhages and prolonged bleeding. Vitamin K helps regulate the levels of calcium in the body. It contributes to the proper distribution of calcium between bones and soft tissues, preventing the accumulation of calcium deposits in blood vessels and other areas. Vitamin K is also involved in regulating anticoagulant proteins, which help prevent blood clots from forming excessively. These proteins ensure that the body maintains a delicate balance between clotting and preventing excessive clot formation. Emerging research suggests that vitamin K might play a role in supporting cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. It is involved in the activation of proteins that influence cell signaling and gene expression. Some studies suggest that adequate vitamin K intake may contribute to heart health by reducing the risk of arterial calcification, which is the buildup of calcium in blood vessels.

Deficiencies of Vitamin K can cause impaired clotting of the blood and internal bleeding

Food Sources are Leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fermented foods



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