Vitamins: what are, why are they needed and how to take them correctly

Often we feel tired, unwell, especially in the “transition period” when the seasons change. The body lacks vitamins and other beneficial substances and trace elements. What is necessary for good health and proper functioning of the body?

Vitamins and nutrients are necessary components for the proper functioning of the body. Man consists of many tiny bricks cells. These cells have a certain structure, differ depending on the location and purpose.

Together, they form tissues, such as muscle, nervous. Tissues form organs and organ systems. Interacting with each other, with the help of complex biochemical reactions, form a complex structure the human body. And now, just for the correct and long functioning of this complex biological structure, the entry of vitamins and nutrients from the outside is necessary.


Most vitamins are not synthesized by the body itself but must be regularly supplied with food. The exceptions are vitamin D, which is formed in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, and vitamins K and B3, which are synthesized by the bacterial microflora of the human large intestine.

In their natural state, vitamins are present in all foods of organic origin.

To date, 13 substances (or groups of substances) are recognized as vitamins. The recognition of several other substances, such as carnitine and inositol, is being considered by the scientific community.

3 pathological conditions are associated with a violation of the intake of vitamins in the body: a lack of vitamin hypovitaminosis, a lack of vitamin deficiency and an excess of vitamin hypervitaminosis.

Vitamins are also divided into fat-soluble A, D, E, K, and water-soluble C and B vitamins. With an excess, some fat-soluble vitamins accumulate in adipose tissue and liver. And this can lead to hypervitaminosis A and D. Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine.


Can we get the necessary vitamins from food? Today no, scientists say. And there are a number of reasons for this.

The human need for vitamins was formed in those distant times, when our ancestors needed a lot of energy to survive, which food could give in 3,500-4,000 calories. Today, a person who is not engaged in heavy physical labor needs no more than 2500 calories, otherwise, he risks obesity. But, limiting ourselves in energy, we lack vitamins.

To satisfy the need for vitamin C, a person should eat 5-6 fresh vegetables and fruits a day, including in the form of salads. We need the number of B vitamins contained in 400 g of lean meat and 1.3 kg of brown bread. Of course, nobody eats so much.

French nutritionists during one of the studies put in the computer the chemical compositions of all the dishes of French cuisine and instructed the car to pick up a diet for 2.5 thousand kcal, the richest in vitamins. Computer calculations showed that in French cuisine there is no menu that would satisfy a person’s need for B vitamins by 100%!

Ideally, only 80% was obtained. But really with the food that we eat, vitamins of group B we can get only 60%.

Human intervention in nature has changed the composition of fruits and vegetables. Studies conducted by Japanese scientists have shown that in modern varieties of apples and oranges, vitamin C is 10–20 times less than in wild ones. As a result of selection, fruits and vegetables became large, frost-resistant, stored longer and better transported, but they, unfortunately, are now poor in vitamins.

So there are two ways for us: to enrich the most common foods, milk, and flour, or take vitamin complexes. Tablets, capsules, soluble powders, syrups are designed for a one-time intake of several vitamins and minerals.

The composition and amount of vitamins and minerals in one dose varies depending on the purpose of the drug: for all family members, for children, for the elderly, for pregnant women Important

Many people believe that vitamins from pharmacy complexes are less easily absorbed. In fact, they are absorbed better than from food. In dragees, vitamins are in the form of ready-made molecules, and the body needs to isolate them from the products, and then integrate them into their protein. This takes time, for which food with some vitamins is excreted from the body. The assimilation of vitamins from foods is at best 90–95%. In reality, it can be 50-60% or even lower.

Many are also afraid that an overdose may occur when taking pharmacy drugs. In fact, with excess in the body, only fat-soluble vitamins accumulate, and this can lead to hypervitaminosis A and D.

Therefore, vitamin-mineral complexes containing these vitamins should be taken only at the dose and course recommended in the instructions. Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine, it is not so dangerous, but here the recommended doses should not be significantly exceeded.

Keep in mind

Vitamin A acts most effectively if taken with B vitamins (complex), D, E. Its action is also enhanced by mineral elements such as calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Vitamins of group B are very well combined with vitamin C. Their effect on the human body is also enhanced by a combination of magnesium.

Vitamin C is better absorbed if taken with mineral elements such as calcium and magnesium.

Vitamin D is best combined with vitamins A, C, as well as calcium and phosphorus.

On a note

Some drugs interfere with the absorption of vitamins and remove valuable trace elements from the human body. The same can be said of some bad habits. For example:

  • alcohol destroys vitamins A, group B, as well as calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and iron;
  • nicotine destroys vitamins A, C, P, and selenium;
  • caffeine destroys the vitamins of group B, PP, and also reduces the content of iron, potassium, zinc, calcium in the body;
  • Aspirin reduces the content of B, C, A vitamins, as well as calcium and potassium;
  • hypnotics make it difficult to absorb vitamins A, D, E, B12, and also significantly reduce calcium levels;
  • antibiotics destroy B vitamins, as well as iron, calcium, magnesium;
  • diuretics remove B vitamins from the body, as well as magnesium, zinc, and potassium;
  • Laxatives interfere with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E.

Everyone has a role

Vitamins perform many functions in the body. Here are the most important ones.

Vitamin Functions
A Improves vision, stimulates the immune system, promotes healing and renewal of the skin, protects the liver
B1 Regulates carbohydrate metabolism and water balance, reduces the need for insulin and enhances its action, prevents the development of atherosclerosis
B2 Affects metabolism, stimulates the growth of the body and tissue healing, supports normal vision
B6 Regulates the activity of the nervous system, participates in the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, and fats, enhances the contraction of the heart muscle
B12 Good effect on the liver and nervous system is involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin
C Participates in carbohydrate metabolism, collagen synthesis, increases resistance to infections, increases blood coagulation
D Regulates phosphorus-calcium metabolism promotes mineralization and bone strengthening
E It has an antioxidant effect, participates in the synthesis of proteins, and is an immunomodulator
F Improves healing of the skin and mucous membranes, prevents the development of atherosclerosis, inhibits the aging
PP Participates in carbohydrate and protein metabolism favorably affects the heart muscle, dilates blood vessels, improves liver function