Why are vitamins important?


Quick Answer

Vitamins are vital to human health and are essential for the body's everyday functions. Some vitamins are produced by the body, but others are not and can only come from dietary sources, according to HelpGuide.

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Why are vitamins important?
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Full Answer

Vitamins are essential nutrients involved in hundreds of interactions in the body, including repair of tissues, sending of chemical messages, converting food to useable energy and more. Vitamins are also called micronutrients since only a small amount is needed to produce the desired effect. There are 13 essential vitamins, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid) and B12.

Vitamins may be broken into two basic groups according to whether or not they are soluble in water - and therefore soluble in the watery parts of food items. Water soluble vitamins include the B vitamins and vitamin C, which are responsible for releasing and producing energy as well as building proteins, cells and collagen.

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissues. They include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are responsible for building bones (A, D and K) and protecting vision (A). As an antioxidant, vitamin E also protects the body against oxidative damage.

A vitamin-rich diet has been shown in studies to reduce the rates of many illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

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