Many of us have heard about vitamin A, C or D, but are we really aware of their importance for our bodies? Or are We consuming the necessary amounts?
First of all, it is important to say that vitamins are nutrients considered essential for maintaining the body’s balance, because they act together with some enzymes and control the cells’ activities. In general, vitamins act on the health of the skin and mucous membranes, contribute to the body’s healing and detoxification processes, provide energy, and even strengthen the immune system.
These nutrients, however, are not always produced by our bodies, so, in some cases they are obtained through food. Due to that, it is important to be aware of each type of vitamin, because there is a variety, and also of eating habits.
Thereafter we explain in more detail about vitamin A, C and D.
Categorized as a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A is important for the proper functioning of the visual system as it protects the eyes against macular degeneration and also supports mucosal growth. Low intake of this vitamin can cause low vision in certain environments and in some cases lead to blindness.
Just as vitamin A acts in the maintenance of the mucous membranes, it also acts in the repair of the skin epithelium. Therefore, it benefits the skin cells and mucous membranes that line the digestive tract, urinary tract, and urinary tract and are considered the body’s front line of defense against infection. In other words, this nutrient strengthens the functions and integrity of these cells.
Another positive point of vitamin A is its contribution to growth, either in cell proliferation and division, or in the regulation of the gene responsible for the formation of the growth hormone (GH).
With its antioxidant effect, the nutrient also prevents the action of free radicals, known to have harmful effects on cells and cause arteriosclerosis, tumors, skin diseases, and cataracts.
Foods with vitamin A
Vitamin A is present in foods of animal and plant origin. In the former case, it is found in the form of retinoids, which are then converted into nutrients. They are:
- viscera, especially liver
- egg yolk
- whole milk and its derivatives, such as butter and cheese
In plant foods vitamin A is in the form of carotenoids and, like the above, is also converted. These are sources of vitamin A:
- red guava
- yellow corn
- sweet potato
- pumpkin moranga
- beet leaves and carrots
Although it is very important, too much of this vitamin, which occurs mainly through supplementation, can be bad for your health. Thus, large amounts can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, decreased bone mineral density, and lower HDL-cholesterol levels.
The ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C, is in the category of water-soluble vitamin and is not produced by the body. In other words, just like vitamin A, to obtain it you need to consume foods that are a source.
This nutrient, when ingested, acts in several biochemical actions vital to the body, one of them being immunity. This is because vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, the cells that make up the immune system and fight microorganisms and stranger structures.
In addition, the nutrient increases antibody levels, thus strengthening the immune system and making the body less vulnerable to disease.
The vitamin C is essential for the body’s natural production of collagen, besides having antioxidant action. In other words, it neutralizes free radicals and prevents premature aging of the skin. But it is not only the skin that benefits, collagen production provides resistance to bones and teeth. Besides avoiding possible rupture of clots and formation of plaque in the arteries. Then, there is a decrease in the chances of stroke.
It is also through vitamin C that colds and flus are prevented and improved. This happens because, as initially said, vitamin C acts strongly on the immune system, therefore, when the levels of this nutrient are good, the risks of contracting diseases, such as the flu and the cold, decrease.
On the other hand, if the immune system is weakened, vitamin C supplementation may be necessary. It is worth saying, however, that only health professionals are able to point out if there is a need for supplementation or not.
Foods with vitamin C
In any case, to avoid vitamin C deficiency, consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended, such as:
- camu-camu and acerola
- orange and tangerine
- goji berry
- bell pepper
Excessive consumption of vitamin C can cause health problems, however, experts explain that the main chance of this occurring is through supplements. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the amount of vitamin C consumed.
Unlike vitamins A and C, vitamin D is produced naturally in the body through exposure of the skin to sunlight. It is best to stay in the sun for a few minutes between 10 AM and 12 pm or between 3 PM and 4:30 PM.
Besides exposure, the nutrient can also be obtained by consuming certain foods of animal origin, such as:
- egg yolk
- fish liver oil
- milk and dairy products
It is important to note that despite the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D, exposure to sunlight is still the main source of this nutrient. Therefore, in some cases, it is common for the doctor to indicate supplementation.
Benefits of vitamin D
Vitamin D is necessary for numerous processes in the body, and it is no wonder that its concentration is considered so important. For example, the nutrient is responsible for preventing bacterial and viral infections and for lowering blood pressure, the risk of hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Vitamin D is also responsible for increasing the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestine, as well as facilitating the entry of these minerals into the bones, contributing to their strengthening. By acting to maintain the health of the pancreas, which produces insulin, Vitamin D also acts to prevent diabetes.
Lack of vitamin D in the body leads to decreased calcium and phosphorus in the blood, muscle weakness, weakened bones, and rickets in children. To identify whether you are deficient in this vitamin, a blood test called 25(OH)D is recommended.
On the other hand, ingesting too much of this vitamin can lead to the development of kidney stones and cardiac arrhythmia.
Do you have any more questions about these vitamins? Leave them in the comments!