Vitamins Nutrition and Growth

The term vitamin, being derived from "vital amine" was made up by a Polish scientist. The term came about after the discovery that the factors that prevent beriberi and other similar dietary-deficiency diseases might be the deficient of certain chemical amines.

Vitamin deficiencies are categorized into two board groups, primary and secondary deficiencies.Primary deficiencies: These factors arise when the organism is not able to absorb or get sufficient vitamins from its natural environment and surroundings, thus resulting in a deficit of vitamins from its food.Secondary deficiencies: Are factors mainly caused by a change in or an improper lifestyle. Factors contributing to this type are often excessive smoking, consumption of alcohol. Intake of certain medicines that interfere with the rate of vitamin absorption or even vitamin supplements often result in an imbalance.

Nutrition lays a major contribution to the foundation for health and development. It has been documented that there is a strong interaction between infection and malnutrition. Nutrition, being the most essential part of your daily diet, is well-documented for strengthening the immune system and other biological processes taking place in the human body.

The key component or the niche of nutrition is vitamins. Vitamins are classified into water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are vitamins including the B group vitamins and Vitamin C that are dissolved in water and cannot be stored for long in the body. Fat soluble vitamins consist of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. All these vitamins are prerequisites for human development.

The natural food sources of vitamins are milk, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, vegetables and fruits. It is very essential to consume these natural sources of vitamins as per the recommended dietary allowances.

Benefits of vitamins are immense. Vitamins are vital organic substances that are beneficial for sustaining life. World Health Organization has indicated that various forms of vitamin deficiency have led to an increase in mortality and morbidity rate in infants, children and adults. This increase in mortality rate has increased the demand of children's vitamins and other vitamins required for improving overall health of an individual. If vitamins are not consumed through natural food sources then, the nutritional gap should be filled with vitamin supplements or multi vitamins. If an optimal level of vitamins is not reached, it often results in vitamin deficiency. Most common symptoms of deficiency of vitamins are nausea, fatigue, vomiting, impaired growth, mental instability, weak muscles and low energy. The only way to prevent these symptoms is by consuming the right amount of essential vitamins.

Vitamin supplements are usually classified into natural vitamins, synthetic vitamins, organic vitamins and whole food vitamins. All these kinds of vitamins have the ability to balance out the deficiencies of improper eating habits, overcooked foods and non-nutritive, processed foods. These supplements are available in global market in various different forms such as tablets, liquid vitamins, gluten free vitamins, gel vitamins and vitamin injections.

In short, there is a well-established and a long lasting relationship between nutrition, vitamins, health, diet and wellness. All these factors are interdependent and have one common objective – Healthy Growth.

Vitamins have been, over the years, categorized into a few sub-groups on the basis of their availability and functionality, the most recognized being:

Vitamin A

Is needed particularly by the retina of the eye and is absolutely necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision. It also serves a completely different purpose as acts as an oxidized form of retinoic acid which acts as a growth factor for epithelial and other cells. Vitamin A also plays other important roles in bodily functions like Gene transcription, Bone metabolism, Antioxidant activity and Skin health.

A deficiency of vitamin A has various signs and symptoms such as inhibiting the production of rhodopsin, the eye pigment responsible for sensing low light situations resulting in partial or complete night blindness however, an excess of it is conversely bad for the body. Vitamin A is fat soluble and excess of it causes vitamin A toxicity which can result in nausea, jaundice, irritability, anorexia, vomiting, blurry vision, headaches, hair loss, muscle and abdominal pain and weakness, drowsiness, and altered mental status.

Vitamin A is available in various foods like the liver of beef, pork, chicken, turkey and fish and also in egg. It is also present in several vegetables like sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, carrots and pea and also in fruits like pumpkin, mango, papaya and cantaloupe along with milk being a mentionable source.

Vitamin B

These kinds of vitamins are water soluble vitamins that are essential for cell metabolism. Originally thought to be a single vitamin, studies later confirmed that there were distinct chemical differences between two chemicals available in similar foods. Collectively known as “Vitamin B complex”, vitamin B is actually made up of eight chemically different types of vitamins known as vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and so on.

Deficiencies of vitamin B cause various ailments and diseases from beriberi, ariboflavinosis, pellagra, acne, paresthesia, microcytic anemia and sometimes impaired growth and neurological disorders in infants. There is also the possibility of a Vitamin B overdose and this is generally associated with a very high intake of Vitamin B supplements. The individual may suffer from B complex vitamin, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12 side effects depending on the type of supplement. Some of the most common symptoms of a Vitamin B overdose are nausea and vomiting along with symptoms of liver toxicity. However, it is important to note that it is highly unlikely that an individual will suffer from a Vitamin B overdose simply by consuming foods that are rich in this vitamin. Just as the overdose of Vitamin B is extremely dangerous, so also is the deficiency of this vitamin. Vitamin b12 deficiency is the result of a diet that is severely lacking in this vitamin but since it is easily stored in the body it is a rather rare occurrence that takes many months or even years to develop. When it does occur, it is generally seen in children who follow a vegan diet. This deficiency arises as a result of a diet that lacks meat products which contain Vitamin b12. In most cases, Vitamin B12 supplements are often necessary for children who follow a vegan diet, although it may also be recommended for adults following a similar diet plan. It is also important to note that most commercial Vitamin B12 supplements are obtained through a bacterial process and so an individual following a vegan diet may need specific Vitamin B12 supplements meant for vegans. Vitamin B6 deficiency is not very common and when it does occur it is generally accompanied by other Vitamin B deficiencies.

Vitamin B is available through a host of varied sources such as unprocessed foods and meats like turkey and tuna, in liver and other similar meat products. Other sources for B vitamins include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans and nutritional yeast along with being got in most leafy vegetables. Vitamin B also aids in the conversation of carbohydrates, starches, and proteins into energy. These vitamin B6 and B12 benefits are especially valuable in a kid's diet as they tend to have very high energy requirements.

Vitamin B9, Vitamin B6 and B complex vitamins during pregnancy are often recommended to prevent stress and morning sickness. Vitamin B complex benefits affect both the mother and her child and in fact Vitamin B 9 is essential for the baby's well being as it helps to prevent neural tube defects. A vitamin B 12 deficiency has also been linked to weight gain and so one of the many benefits of this vitamin is weight loss.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate. Ascorbic acid in the form of Ascorbate is essential in facilitating many metabolic reactions in animals as well as certain plants. Naturally synthesized by certain species of plants and animals, it has to be ingested in diet of most mammals, which include humans. Vitamin C also helps in other factors like an antioxidant acting as a reducing agent to reverse oxidation in certain liquids. While the main C vitamin deficiency related disease is scurvy, since without vitamin C, the synthesised collagen is too unstable to perform its function; other known c vitamin side effects include an increase in iron absorption leading to iron poisoning and this is known to cause indigestion when consumed on an empty stomach. C vitamin benefits include immune system fortification and improved hair and skin health. Vitamin C is readily available in various plant sources, the highest concentrations being in Kakadu plum, Camu Camu, Rose hip and common sources being Red pepper, Brussels sprouts, Strawberry, Orange, Lemon, Lime and Spinach. It is also available in animal sources like liver (calf/beef, chicken, pork, and lamb), lamb brain and milk (goat, camel, and cow).

Vitamin D

This type of vitamins is a type of fat-soluble secosteroids. Vitamin D in addition to helping the body absorb calcium also helps the body keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. A Vitamin D deficiency in the body can cause rickets which is most commonly seen in children. It could also lead to a condition known as osteoporosis in adults. There is also a lot of ongoing research regarding D3 vitamin for depression as well as other D3 vitamin benefits. An excess of vitamin D is known to cause high levels of calcium in the blood resulting in calcium deposits in sensitive organs such as the heart and lungs. This is one of the main vitamin D3 side effects and is generally the result of an excessive intake of Vitamin D supplements and not through dietary choices. It is important that a person suffering from vitamin D side effects receive immediate treatment to prevent further complications. D3 vitamin deficiency reduces the amount of calcium and phosphorous that is absorbed by the body and so it is important that children and young adults receive adequate amounts of this vitamin.

Along with direct sunlight, other vitamin d foods include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Meats like Beef liver, cheese, egg yolks are also modest sources of vitamin D.

Vitamin K

K2 vitamin is the name given to a group of vitamins that are fat soluble. Humans acquire this vitamin in a very unique manner as it is produced by bacteria that occur naturally in the large intestine. In most cases additional K2 vitamin sources and supplements are not needed and K2 vitamin side effects are caused by a drastic intake of this vitamin. Vitamin K2 is generally used as an adjunctive therapy for reducing the pain caused by osteoporosis.

There are several vitamins and minerals that are necessary for skin health and these have come to be known as skin vitamins. There are also several vitamins for acne that have modest results when dealing with minor acne outbreaks. In the same way there are also vitamins for hair growth and vitamins for hair loss that can help treat these conditions. Prenatal vitamins are often recommended for women who are trying to conceive and this may be in the form of natural vitamin sources or vitamin supplements.