The ABCs of Vitamins

Vitamins are crucial to our health and must be present for basic human development and growth. Most vitamins are ingested as we eat our food, but the majority of Americans aren't getting enough of them through diet alone. Each of the 13 recognized vitamins offer a range of health benefits that are required to prevent deficiency diseases and other serious health problems. For further explanation of these essential nutrients, here are the ABCs of vitamins:

A
Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue and mucus membranes. Vitamin A is also need for the retina of the eye. This important vitamin typically comes from animal sources, such as eggs, milk, cheese, liver, kidney, cod, fish oil and several vegetables.
B
B vitamins, such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12, are essential for development, growth and many other vital functions. They help maintain healthy skin and muscle, promote cell growth and division, as well as enhance your immune and nervous system. B vitamins are found in a wide range of foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and animal sources.
C
Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues and aides in the healing of wounds. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help block damage caused by free radicals and help boost your immune system. It is also a popular remedy for the common cold. Fruits, vegetables, some cereals and beverages are rich in vitamin C.
D
Vitamin D serves many important functions for the body, including calcium absorption in the gut and promoting healthy bone growth. It also reduces inflammation and ensures normal cell growth. Since very foods contain vitamin D naturally, you may need to get it from vitamin supplement or fortified foods.
E
Vitamin E has many antioxidant properties and health benefits, such as protecting cells from the damage of free radicals, enhancing immune function and preventing various diseases like heart disease and cancer. Vitamin E is naturally occurring in several foods, such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, leafy greens and vegetables.
Folic Acid
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is essential for making new healthy cells. Pregnant women especially need folic acid to prevent birth defects of the baby's spine or brain. Folic acid can be obtained through fruits, leafy green vegetables, peas, nuts and dried beans.
Get it From Food
It's very easy to get your daily dose of vitamins straight from the foods you eat. A well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, will provide a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals. Also, animal sources like meat, eggs and dairy will help boost your vitamin intake.
H
Vitamin H, now known as biotin, is needed for preventing and treating biotin deficiency that is associated with malnutrition and pregnancy. Biotin supplements may be taken for hair loss, weak nails, skin rashes and diabetes.
Indigestion
Indigestion is a common side effect of taking vitamin supplements. These powerful capsules can be tough on your stomach and cause stomach pain, gas and bloating. To avoid indigestion, be sure to take your vitamins with a plenty of solids and liquids to help in the digestion process.
Jump Start Your Health
A daily dose of vitamins will jumpstart your health and keep you strong throughout your life. Taking vitamins is one of the easiest health routines to follow and will benefit you in the long run.
K
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and maintaining strong bones. Since vitamin K is naturally occurring in several foods, eating vitamin K-rich foods is the best way to get your daily intake. Green leafy vegetables, fish, liver, meat, eggs and cereals are the best sources.
L
Vitamin L, now known as anthranilic acid, is required for lactation in females. Some studies show that anthranilic acid also has anti-inflammatory and anti-depressive benefits, as well.
Multivitamin
Multivitamins are one of the easiest ways to ensure that you get all of the essential vitamins and minerals into your daily diet. Multivitamins are also beneficial for those with dietary imbalances and different nutritional needs.
Niacin
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is needed for reducing cholesterol and fatty substances in the blood. Those taking niacin are typically undergoing a diet change and have restricted their cholesterol and fat intake.
Overdose
Believe it or not, you can overdose on vitamins if taken in large doses. Consuming too many vitamins from food is very unlikely, but overdosing on vitamin supplements is a real health concern. Always follow the dosage instructions, unless otherwise noted by your physician.
Physician
Before you start taking vitamins, you should talk to your physician first. Your doctor can perform tests to see if your deficient in any vitamin and help you find the best diet or supplement for you.
Quench Your Thirst
If you're looking for another way to take in your daily vitamins, quench your thirst with a vitamin-rich beverage, such as fortified milk, fruit juice or sports drink.
Riboflavin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is needed for red blood cell production and releasing energy from carbohydrates. Riboflavin is naturally occurring in several foods, such as dairy, eggs, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, legumes and nuts.
Soluble
Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. If a vitamin is water-soluble, it is not stored in the body and must be replenished through diet or supplement. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract through lipids.
Thiamine
Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is essential for the breakdown of sugars in the diet. It can also be taken to correct nerve and heart problems that occur from a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine can be obtained through the diet from rice bran, beans, peas, nuts, fruit, eggs and lean meats.
Unborn Baby
Vitamins are vital to the health and development of your unborn baby. It's very important that pregnant mothers take their doctor recommended vitamins to prevent vitamin deficiency and reduce the risk of serious birth defects.
Variety
Your body needs a variety of vitamins to perform daily bodily functions and maintain your health. When taking vitamin supplements or simply eating, make sure that you're obtaining a variety of vitamin content and getting enough of the recommended daily amount.
Workout Vitamins
If you're a fitness fanatic and want to get the most out of your workouts, you might want to consider taking certain workout vitamins to maintain healthy muscles and bones. Multivitamins are also a good way to cover all the vitamin bases in one.
Xpire
When buying vitamin tablets, make sure you pay attention to the expiration dates because vitamins do expire. Also, keep your vitamins in a cool, dry area out of the sunlight so that they don't go bad.
Youthful
Vitamins have the power to keep you looking and feeling youthful at any age. Certain vitamins like Vitamin C and E are specifically designed to block and help reverse damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals are directly linked to aging.
Zero Regret
Taking vitamins every day comes with zero regret. Vitamin-rich foods and vitamin supplements are full of heart-healthy nutrients and minerals that will keep you feeling your best inside and out.