Functions of Vitamins

Your body needs small amount of vitamins to help it grow, develop, and function properly. Although vitamins are micronutrients and don’t provide calories or energy to the body the way the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) do, they perform many vital functions to help the body operate smoothly and efficiently.

Most of us can usually get all the vitamins we need by consuming a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet that incorporates all the key food groups. Our bodies can also make two vitamins – D and K – to help us meet our daily needs. Nevertheless, there are some times in life and some situations during which vitamin supplements might be warranted. Those who might need specific vitamin supplements include the following:

• People who follow vegetarian diets might need a vitamin B12 supplement if they don’t consume many animal products. Vegans definitely need a B12 supplement, as it is not found in plant foods.
• Women who are planning to become pregnant are urged to take a folic acid supplement
• Older people, who have a lower ability to absorb vitamin B12 because of declining stomach acidity with age, could benefit from a multivitamin that includes it.
• Those who follow limited or special diets because of food allergies, sensitivities, or certain medical conditions might need a multivitamin supplement
There are 13 vitamins; they are categorized as either fat-soluble or water-soluble.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat tissue before they’re absorbed by the bloodstream and can perform their vital functions. If you consume more of them than is required, the excesses are stored in the liver.

The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A helps eyes and skin stay healthy and protects the body against infections. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and can protect against several disease, including colon cancer. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids against harmful substances that can destroy them. Vitamin K helps blood clot, and there is increasing evidence it helps keeps bones strong, may help keep inflammation at bay, and may have a role in controlling blood glucose levels.

Fat-soluble vitamins are not needed by the body every day because they can be stored for long period of time in the liver and fatty tissues for use when needed.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are eliminated by the body because they cannot be stored. They include eight B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) and vitamin C. B vitamins play a key role in metabolism and help the body release energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein; vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy, and oversees the growth and repair of all body tissues.

Micronutrients are essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that are required in relatively small amounts by the body to help you grow and stay healthy.

Macronutrients are essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that are required in relatively large amounts to help you grow and stay healthy.

Metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that occur in the body to support normal growth and development, assist reproduction, and maintain structures. Metabolism includes anabolism (building up complex substances from simpler molecules) and catabolism (breaking down complex substances into simpler molecules).

The liver manufactures many important blood proteins; assists in the conversion of fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals into more usable forms; and stores many vitamins and minerals, including iron and B12. The USANA Vitamins Hepasil DTX™ supplement was formulated by USANA to provide a unique
blend of antioxidants to help support healthy liver function.

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