The word vitamin is thrown around a lot these days. So and so causes this vitamin deficiency or that disease is caused by too much of that vitamin. Some of the references we hear are not even related to food and nutrition at all; at times it’s in a pop culture reference. For example, a popular zoo was advertising the need for Vitamin Z (Vitamin Zoo) recently.
But, what is a vitamin?
A vitamin is an organic compound that an organism (human or animal) needs in certain amounts.
Why do we need vitamins?
Vitamins are considered essential nutrients which means we have to get them from dietary sources. This is because the body is unable to synthesize or make them on its own.
How many vitamins are there?
There are 13 vitamins total. These are divided into two kinds: water soluble and fat soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in fat and generally stay in the body longer while water soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are excreted more regularly.
Do I need a vitamin supplement?
Most healthy individuals will meet vitamin requirements when eating a balanced diet as identified by the US Department of Agriculture. BUT, this will vary from person to person based on their current vitamin levels, diet, age, medical history, as well as other factors. It’s best to talk to a doctor or dietitian to identify any individual needs.
Stay tuned for the next part of this FAQ: Vitamin FAQ – Vitamin D. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.