Vitamins We Need: Their Importance & Sources

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  • 0:02 Vitamins and Minerals
  • 0:24 The Different Kinds of…
  • 1:18 Antioxidant Vitamins
  • 2:05 The Roles Vitamins…
  • 4:21 Where to Find These…
  • 5:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
There are a lot of different vitamins, and they come from many different places! This lesson will teach you about what they are, how many different kinds you need, what they do, and where you can obtain them naturally.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are substances found normally in food or may be taken in, not surprisingly, via a vitamin pill. They are micronutrients that come in tiny quantities but pack a big punch when it comes to your health. Therefore, I think it's important we explore the major vitamins your body needs, why, and where you can find them in nature.

The Different Kinds of Vitamins

Vitamins are organic compounds necessary for the growth and maintenance of your body's normal functions. When I say something is organic, that means it contains carbon in its molecular structure.

Vitamins are broken into two main groups. There are fat soluble vitamins, vitamins A, D, E, and K, and water soluble vitamins, vitamins B and C.

Water soluble vitamins are easily excreted by your body in urine if you take too many of them. In contrast, fat soluble vitamins are stored by the body and are removed more slowly. Namely, fat soluble vitamins are stored in (not surprisingly) fat but also the liver.

What this means is that it's much easier to overdose on fat soluble vitamins, especially over the long run, than it is on water soluble vitamins.

Antioxidant Vitamins

While all vitamins play important roles in your body that I'll mention in just a little bit, some vitamins have an added role. Certain vitamins are known as antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help to neutralize dangerous substances called free radicals attacking you from inside and outside your body.

I always like to imagine that antioxidants are like a shield or bulletproof vest and the free radicals are like arrows, swords, or bullets trying to hurt you. Vitamins that have antioxidant properties include vitamins E, C, and a precursor to vitamin A called beta-carotene. I'm sure you are well familiar with beta-carotene - it's the stuff that gives carrots its orange color.

The Roles Vitamins Play in the Body

Be they antioxidants or not, your body needs a total of 13 vitamins. It needs the four fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) as well as vitamin C and eight different kinds of vitamin B, including vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate.

But we'll be simple about it and just stick to the fact that you need vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.

Keeping this in mind, let's find out why you need them besides the antioxidant function found in some of them.

Vitamin A is important to healthy vision in your eyes. Vitamin A in my mind is really Vitamin 'A'ye, a pirate with a patch over one eye, screaming 'Aye!' like mad.

Vitamin B is really Vitamin Bee. 'B'ees 'b'uzz around like 'b'onkers because they have so much energy. Vitamin B is necessary for energy. Vitamin B has other roles, including helping to make red 'b'lood cells.

Vitamin C is Vitamin 'C'onnectivity, because it's useful for the health of connective tissue, including that found in bone, teeth, and skin.

Vitamin D is required for the appropriate 'D'evelopment of bone and teeth as well as the absorption of calcium. Those 'Got Milk?' commercials should make it easy to remember what vitamin D is for. Vitamin D, coupled with calcium, helps to prevent a condition called osteoporosis, which leads to thin and fragile bones.

Vitamin E is needed to keep you healthy by modulating your immunit-'E.' It is found in the membranes that envelop your body's cells and protect them there from free radicals, like little forts on the front lines of war.

Finally, vitamin K should be really called vitamin 'K'lot, as this vitamin is important in helping your blood clot. Meaning, if you didn't have enough vitamin Klot, you might just bleed to death.

Where to Find These Vitamins in Your Diet

Vitamin 'A'ye, important for eye health, can be found in many places, including the liver, milk, carrots, and dark green vegetables.

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