Vitamins are essential for the body, they participate in growth, muscle, bone, immune, nervous systems … With the exception of vitamin D and K that the body manufactures, the others are available in the food. Role, food, deficiencies … Everything you need to know about vitamins.
What is a vitamin?
The vitamins are organic substances without energy value but essential to the body. The human body cannot generally produce them by itself, and their dietary intake is therefore essential. They contribute to the construction of the organism (growth, development of the skeleton…), to the functioning and maintenance of the body (transformation and use of macro-nutrients, vision, blood coagulation, muscular, nervous, immune systems, manufacture of DNA…)… “To date, we have identified thirteen vitamins, including eight vitamins of the B group (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12), vitamin C and four liposoluble vitamins, soluble in the fat of food. These are vitamins A, D, E and K”, says Laurence Plumey, nutritionist.
Role of vitamins for the body
Vitamins play many roles in the proper functioning of the human body. They are numerous and we distinguish in particular vitamin A, having a role in growth and vision in particular, group B vitamins helping in many reactions of manufacture (anabolism) the destruction (catabolism) of materials, vitamin C promoting the absorption of iron and entering into the synthesis of blood cells, vitamin D allowing the absorption of calcium and its fixation to strengthen the bones, vitamin K, which contributes to blood clotting …
→ “there are no vitamins more essential than others. They are all important. On the other hand, there are vitamins that are more concerned by deficiencies than others. Such is the case for vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B9”.
What are the benefits of vitamins?
- Vitamin A (retinol or beta-carotene) is important for vision, skin cell renewal and the immune system.
Group B vitamins refer to all eight B vitamins.
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8 transform proteins, lipids and carbohydrates that we eat into energy”, explains Laurence Plumey.
- Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is involved in cell division. “It is a very important vitamin for women,” says our specialist, “because almost one woman in two lacks it, which can cause fetal malformations at the beginning of a pregnancy in a deficient woman.
- ” The vitamin B12 also intervenes in the cellular divisions as the B9 “, she adds. It also contributes to the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Vitamins B9 and B12 are also involved in the formation of red blood cells.
- Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that fight against cell aging. It helps healing and strengthens teeth and bones. “Very valuable in winter, it also strengthens the immune system,” says Laurence Plumey.
- The vitamin D is absolutely essential serves to fix the calcium on the waters. It has a valuable role in immunity and prevention of cancers, “emphasizes the nutritionist. “It has been noticed, moreover, that many patients who developed a severe form of Covid-19 were deficient in vitamin D, unlike those who did a mild form,” adds Laurence Plumey.
- Vitamin E is involved in the protection of cell membranes and thus contributes to slow down skin aging. “Vitamin E also has antioxidant properties. It is very useful to limit the oxidation of cholesterol in the blood, the first risk factor for the formation of atheromatous plaques, the cause of many cardiovascular diseases,” adds our expert.
- Vitamin K “is mainly involved in the coagulation process”, notes Dr. Plumey. It also contributes to bone mineralization and cell growth.