Working our way down the latter part of the alphabet in terms of vitamins takes us to vitamins D, E, and K. This is as far as we get in terms of our A to Z of vitamins. After that, an article may well be required on calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, which are minerals.
So, let us think about these lettered vitamins, how they help us, and the foods that provide them.
Vitamin D builds strong bones by assisting our body with the absorption of the calcium that we obtain from foods and supplements. It regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate that is in our bodies. Also, it boosts our immune system.
The most common types of vitamin D are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both have the same function within the human body, they just differ in their molecular structures. D2 comes from plants, whereas D3 is from animals, including humans.
Anybody who avoids the sun or masks their skin with sunscreen, which is a good idea to prevent skin cancer, may need supplements of vitamin D. Also, anyone who has difficulty in absorbing the nutrient because of a malabsorption disorder or a condition such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease will benefit from taking this vitamin supplement.
As far as coming across vitamin D, it is not naturally found in all that many foods. It is known as a “sunshine vitamin” because it is primarily obtainable through skin absorption of the sun’s rays. The foods that vitamin D is found in include tuna, salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, beef liver, and mushrooms. Also, fortified cereals. By fortified cereals, we mean those cereals that contain additional vitamins and minerals. Many a breakfast cereal will start your day off by providing you with some extra vitamins and minerals that you might not have had access to otherwise. It is one of the things that will help sell breakfast cereals. These types of ingredients will often also be displayed prominently on the packet in the name of marketing.
So, it is possible to increase your vitamin D levels by means other than sunshine. Also, vitamin D is the only vitamin that the body will make itself, which scientifically classifies it as a hormone.
To protect our cells from free radicals we will want to discover foods that contain vitamin E. In addition, take supplements to boost the amount of the vitamin our body is receiving.
By definition, free radicals are molecules that contain an uneven number of electrons. It is because of their obscure make-up that free radicals can react with other molecules and cause large chain reactions in the body called oxidation. Free radicals are bad because they are linked to a range of diseases and aging. Exhaustive exercise is to be avoided because it will generate free radicals. The diseases caused by free radicals include cancer, diabetes, asthma, inflammatory joint disease, degenerative eye disease, and senile dementia.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in preventing cells from becoming damaged by oxygen.
Foods containing vitamin E include sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, and avocados.
Vitamin K is responsible for blood clotting along with maintaining healthy bones, which vitamin D in part takes care of.
Those who have had bariatric surgery so that they can lose weight or have a malabsorption disorder will benefit from vitamin K supplements for an extra boost of the vitamin.
Foods containing vitamin K include spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, figs, blueberries, meat, eggs, cheese, and soybeans.
In summary, vitamin D will help with bones and is primarily available from sunshine, vitamin E is about protection from the free radicals, and vitamin K helps us with blood clotting. They all aid health and should not be ignored as vitamins, whether we obtain them from natural sources such as the sun, through eating certain foods, or from taking additional vitamin supplements. Sometimes a combination will be required.