1. Not all vitamins are the same.
Few people know that vitamins are actually not substances of the same kind.
By definition they are elements of nutritious value that the body requires in a small amount but cannot synthesize by itself.
They need to be taken in with vitamin rich food, fortified meals, or food supplements.
Unlike other nutrients, it is their function that puts them in the same category, and not their structure
2. Vitamins actually know the alphabet.
The order of vitamin names looks like a 4-year-old is trying to say the alphabet.
Stuck on some letters, skipping big chunks and just not finishing until the end…
Contrary to the intuition, there is actually logic behind it. The letters initially indicate the chronological order of discovering vital nutrients that can be classified as vitamins.
The missing letters would indicate substances that are declassified or reclassified.
If a particular substance is discovered to not be needed, or it turns out it is possible to have it synthesized in the body, it no longer belongs in the vitamins family.
B vitamins are classified together, because their common function as coenzymes.
3. ‘Refill’ times are different.
What happens when we consume food rich in vitamins that our body does not need right now?
In those cases, it would store them. Storage times vary. Some vitamins accumulate big reserves. Others need to be ‘refilled’ more often.
For example, vitamins A, D, and B12 may have severe consequences once deficiency occurs, however, that happens rarely, because the body stores the extras in the liver for a long time, and uses those reserves when they are needed.
4. The vitamins that run out the quickest.
Vitamin B3, on the other hand, remains in your system for just a couple of weeks. Since it is available in many popular foods – meet, eggs, fish, vegetables, deficiencies are rarely observed.
On a bad diet though, one may pretty quickly run out of Vitamin B3 (niacin) which will quickly start damaging the body.
The symptoms include developing bad skin lesions, hair loss, sensitivity to sunlight, difficulties falling asleep, aggression and great gastrointestinal discomfort.
Under similar conditions, you may run out of any reserves of Vitamin C in one to six months and start showing the first signs of scurvy – lack of energy, shortness of breath and bone pain. You need to restock via a proper diet, or good Vitamin C rich supplements.
5. A nutritious diet is not always enough.
No, not always. Even if you are careful to include all food groups in your meals, to provide yourself with the proper nutrients, you may still develop a deficiency.
There are substances called anti-vitamins that block your body’s ability to interact with the vitamins.
Curiously, for example, vitamin B7, available in egg yolks, is blocked by avidin, found in egg whites. So, in order to back up on vitamin B7, better go for leafy greens or supplements.
Without magnesium, vitamin D is not activated cannot be used by the body to regulate the calcium levels and promote bone health.
6. There is a ‘proper way’ to take vitamins
There are 4 vitamins that are fat-soluble
A, D, E and K. The rest are water-soluble which makes them tricky for consumption.
Cooking the vitamin rich meals will transfer the nutrients from the food into the water.
Some vitamins are sensitive to air or light exposure. Cutting the food affects its vitamin source potential.
Whenever you are trying to stock up on vitamins, it is recommended you consume the food raw, when possible.
7. Vitamins are for everyone, but not really.
There is such a thing as vitamin overdose. In general, the side effects include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you feel uneasy, give yourself a break.
There is no way to track your vitamin intake from foods. That is one of the reasons why eating a varied diet is recommended. Eating similar foods, even if they are considered healthy, will overload your body with the same nutrients.
When you take your vitamins as supplements, make sure you are following the instructions closely.
If you are a smoker, avoid taking extra vitamin A. It potentiates the toxic effects of cigarettes and may be harmful for you.
Now you know.
It is particularly important for people with restricted food intake due to moral obligations (i.e. vegetarians and vegans), allergies (i.e. lactose intolerance) or other conditions or lifestyle choices.
If you feel uncomfortable, have unexplained chronic skin conditions or pains, you are irritable or lack energy, make sure you are taking your vitamins.
Check Apran’s full list of vitamins and nutrients for more information.