A vitamin is an important nutrient and organic compound which organisms require in a limited amount to support normal physiological activity. The human body is unable to synthesize vitamins quickly enough to fulfill the daily requirements. So, you need vitamins in your diet and when any of them is absent from your diet, it will result in a deficiency.
Types of Vitamins
There are in total 13 vitamins which the human body requires. These 13 vitamins can be divided into two types:
- Water-Soluble Vitamins: (Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, and C)
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins: (Vitamin A, D, E, and K)
Each of the types is described below:
These vitamins are easily dissolved in water and generally, are excreted from the human body. The urinary output predicts strongly that you have consumed vitamin. These vitamins are not stored readily, so, daily intake is necessary. Bacteria synthesize many water-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin B1 /Thiamin:
Sources: Asparagus, Sunflower seeds, lettuce, black beans, mushrooms, lentils, navy beans, peas, spinach, lima beans, pinto beans, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, tuna, tomatoes, soybeans, and whole wheat are sources of vitamin B1 or Thiamin.
Deficiency: Toxicity is unknown. Weakness in extremities, burning feet, swelling, rapid heart rate, nausea, anorexia, gastrointestinal problems, and fatigue are the symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency.
Vitamin B2/ Riboflavin:
Sources: Soybeans/tempeh, almonds, spinach, mushrooms, yogurt, whole wheat, mackerel, liver, and eggs are sources of vitamin B2 or Riboflavin. The risk of breaking DNA strand in chromium’s presence may increase because of excess Riboflavin. Riboflavin intake in high-dose intensifies urine color to flavinuria or a bright yellow color which is harmless.
Deficiency: Sores, fissures and cracks at the corner of lips and mouth, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, glossitis of tongue, photophobia, anxiety, fatigue, and loss of appetite are the symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency.
Vitamin B3/ Niacin:
Sources: Asparagus, mushrooms, brown rice, peanuts, corn, sweet potato, green leafy vegetables, potato, barley, lentil, almonds, carrots, turnips, celery, chicken meat, peaches, salmon, and tuna are the sources of vitamin B3 or Niacin. There is no adverse effect of natural Niacin or which you get from food. Supplemental Niacin may result in itching, impaired glucose tolerance, flushing of the skin and gastrointestinal problem. Intaking 750 mg Niacin supplement per day for a period of fewer than three months causes damage to the liver cell. Nicotinamide in high dose may cause liver toxicity and nausea.
Deficiency: Diarrhea, dermatitis, stomatitis, and dementia are symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency.
Vitamin B5 /Pantothenic acid:
Sources: Lentils, broccoli, avocado, split peas, mushrooms, whole wheat, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, eggs, cauliflower, strawberries, squash, liver and green leafy vegetables are the sources of vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid. High dose of Pantothenic acid supplements may cause diarrhea, heartburn, and nausea.
Deficiency: Deficiency of vitamin B5 is very rare. In case of severe malnutrition, tingling of feet is noticed.
Vitamin B6 /Pyridoxine:
Sources: Brown rice, whole wheat, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, garbanzo beans, potato, trout, banana, tomatoes, spinach, walnuts, avocado, tuna, peanut butter, lima beans, salmon, chicken meat and bell peppers are the sources of vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 supplements if taken in high doses may cause neurological problems.
Deficiency: Glossitis, cheilosis, dermatitis, stomatitis, nervous system disorders, confusion, sleeplessness, depression, nervousness, interference with muscles supplying nerves, difficulties in these muscles’ movement, irritability and anemia are the symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency. Prenatal deficiency may cause blood disorders and mental retardation for the newborn.
Vitamin B7 /Biotin:
Sources: Most nuts, green leafy vegetables, avocado, whole grain bread, cauliflower, raspberries, papaya, carrots, eggs, salmon and banana are the sources of vitamin B7 or Biotin. It has no toxic effect. Vitamin B7 deficiency is very rare among people. Consuming raw egg whites for a long time may result in a deficiency of biotin. Protein avidin, present in egg whites prevents biotin’s absorption in the body.
Vitamin B9 /Folic acid:
Sources: You can get Folate from different natural foods. Folate’s synthetic form is folic acid which is used in commercially prepared fortified foods and supplements. Asparagus, green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, citrus fruits, spinach, black-eyed peas, whole grains, great northern beans, green peas, baked beans, peanuts, avocado, tomato juice, lettuce, papaya, banana, and organ meats are the sources of vitamin B9 or Folate.
Deficiency: Folate from natural foods has no toxic effect. Deficiency of either Folic acid or vitamin B12 or both can cause megaloblastic anemia. Folic acid in large doses given to a patient with an undiagnosed deficiency of vitamin B12 can cure megaloblastic anemia without curing the deficiency of vitamin B12.
Folate deficiency is related to some cancers and defects of neural tubes. Megaloblastic/macrocytic anemia, Leukopenia, sprue, thrombocytopenia, weight loss, weakness, diarrhea and redness and cracking of mouth and tongue are the symptoms of vitamin B9 or folic acid deficiency. Preterm delivery and low birth weight can be caused in pregnancy due to vitamin B9 deficiency.
Vitamin B12/ Cobalamin:
Sources: Vitamin B12 is absorbed into the blood after it has been combined with intrinsic factors. The human body can store a year’s required vitamin B12 but still, you should consume it regularly. Bacteria fermentation produces vitamin B12, so it is absent in plant foods of higher order. Liver, eggs, fortified cereals, salmon, trout, haddock, and tuna are sources of vitamin B12 or Cobalamin.
Neither food nor supplement form of this vitamin has any toxic effect. Because a very little amount is absorbed through the oral route, so the toxicity’s probability is low.
Deficiency: Sprue, neurological problems, and pernicious anemia are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin C/ Ascorbic acid:
Sources: Bell pepper, guava, orange, kiwi, strawberries, grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, papaya, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, sweet potato, kale, cauliflower, parsley, and lemon juice are the sources of vitamin C or Ascorbic acid. Most data describe that vitamin C intake up to 10 grams per day is safe. 2 grams of vitamin C or more per day can result in diarrhea. Very large intake of this vitamin can cause rebound scurvy, kidney stones, excess iron absorption, increased oxidative stress, dental enamel’s erosion, and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Deficiency: Gum infections, bruising, dental cavities, lethargy, tissue swelling, bleeding gums, dry skin and hair, hair loss, dry eyes, pitting edema, bone fragility, delayed wound healing, anemia, and joint pain are symptoms this vitamin deficiency.
Lipids (fats) absorb these vitamins through the intestine. Fat-soluble vitamins tend to accumulate in the human body, so they have more probability to cause hypervitaminosis than the water-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin A /Retinoids:
Sources: Carrots, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, cantaloupe, squash, Chinese cabbage, bell pepper, eggs, beef, and peaches are the sources of vitamin A. The body converts carotenoids into Retinol. Preformed vitamin A (not the plant carotenoid) consumption in high dose causes Hypervitaminosis A, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dry skin, and dizziness. During pregnancy excess intake can result in birth defects.
Deficiency: Dry/rough skin, difficulty seeing in low light are the symptoms of deficiency of this vitamin.
Sources: Sunlight, mushrooms, fortified foods, mackerel, salmon, tuna, eggs, and sardines are the sources of vitamin D. Chronic supplementation of this vitamin causes Hypervitaminosis D, increase of calcium levels in the blood, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, excessive urination, excessive thirst, muscle weakness, itching, disorientation, and joint pain. Vitamin D deficiency causes deformed bones, rickets, soft teeth, and retarded growth in children and softened bones, osteomalacia, tooth decay, and spontaneous fractures in adults.
Deficiency: Infants or elderly who have minimal sun exposure, people with dark skin, FMS (Fat Malabsorption Syndromes), seizure disorders, kidney failure, and inflammatory bowel diseases are at risk for this deficiency.
Vitamin E/ Tocopherol:
Sources: Almonds, green leafy vegetables, olives, sunflower seeds, most nuts, blueberries, most seeds, avocado, and tomatoes are the sources of vitamin E or Tocopherol. Side effects are minimal in adults who take supplements in less than 2000mg per day. Infants are more likely to have impaired blood clotting in case of over doses.
Deficiency: Vitamin E deficiency can be seen only in people suffering from severe malnutrition.
Sources: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, green leafy vegetables, green peas, parsley, carrots, and watercress are the sources of vitamin K. This vitamin may have interference with glutathione. The Toxic effect of high doses is unknown.
Deficiency: Anemia, hemorrhage or tendency to bleed are the symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency.