Thursday, August 26, 2010


Fruit on display at La Boqueria market in Barc...Image via Wikipedia
First of all, I do not believe in taking vitamin supplements; you have all your vitamins if you follow a balanced diet of vegetables and grains. Together with other essential nutrients such as dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, or essential amino acids, vitamins are necessary for your body to function properly.
Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions, including function as hormones (e.g. vitamin D), antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E), and mediators of cell signaling and regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation  (e.g. vitamin A). The largest number of vitamins (e.g. B complex vitamins) function as precursors for enzyme cofactor bio-molecules (coenzymes), that help act as catalysts and substrates in metabolism.
Vitamins are classified as either water soluble or fat soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat soluble (A, D, E and K) and 9 water soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Water soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water,  and in general, are readily excreted from the body, to the degree that urinary output is a strong predictor of  vitamin consumption. Because they are not readily stored, consistent daily intake is important.
Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids (fats). Because they are more likely to accumulate in the body, they are more likely to lead to hypervitaminosis than are water soluble vitamins. 
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