We have all heard about vitamins and how important they are for bodies, but, do we really know what vitamins really are? And why is it so important for us? Vitamins are an essential part of our lives, without it, we would not be healthy human beings.
Vitamins came about in the early 1900’s when a famous English scientist, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins fed some rats on a mixture which contained carbohydrate, fat, protein and minerals, in a few weeks the rats were dead. He gave a second group of rats in the same mixed with some milk and they didn’t die, he concluded that the milk contained something special and it was called vitamins.
Vitamins are a collection of organic substances that are needed in our diet, and each has a specific purpose, but overall, their function is to help control the chemical reactions which take place in our bodies, and is found particularly in foods. If any of these vitamins are missing from our diet we can die like the rats.
Vitamins are known by letters for example, vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin C, for vitamins do their job they must be in solution. Some dissolve in water and some fat, the main reason why we need water and fat in our diet.
One such vitamin that plays an integral role in our everyday lives is Vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin which is important especially for our eyes as many of us may already know, it protects their surface and helps us to see in dim light. The main reason it is also known as retinol is because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye.
Vitamin A helps us to maintain a healthy skin, mucus membranes, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue.
Vitamin A is very important in breastfeeding mothers and reproduction and is also very essential for vision because it promotes it.
Two types of vitamin A can be found pre-formed and pro-vitamin, pre-formed vitamin A can be found in products like meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods while pro-vitamin is found mainly in fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin A was discovered in 1913 when researchers discovered that butter contained a fat soluble nutrient. Vitamin A is important for the overall health of the immune system.
Carotenoids are dark-coloured dyes found in plant foods that can turn into a form of vitamin A, over 500 carotenoids can be found. One such carotenoid is beta-carotene which is an antioxidant.
There are a variety of foods that is an excellent source of vitamin A, including eggs, meat, cheese, cream, liver and kidney just to name a few, beta-carotene can be found in bright yellow and orange fruits or vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, mangoes and red peppers.
Lack of insufficient vitamin A in your diet can cause a variety of diseases including vision problems but as all of us may know, too much of anything is not good, even though vitamins is an important aspect of our well being, too much consumption can make us sick, so always consult a doctor about dosage as it is also known to cause serious birth defects.
Vitamin A supports the immune and inflammatory system and cell growth, not getting enough of it can even lead to blindness.
Vitamin A can also be found in capsules or other medicines.