Vitamins are micronutrients that are essential to proper body function. They are involved at low concentrations in many vital processes. Provided by food, they fall into two categories:
- Fat soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E and K
- Water-soluble vitamins: Vitamins B and C
Overview of vitamins
Vitamins play a major role in the energy metabolism, the muscle and brain functions, and in preventing certain diseases. It is essential to ensure a vitamin intake adapted to your needs to maintain health and performance.
Vitamins have no energy value, they do not release calories. However, they are necessary to the body.
With a balanced diet, dietary intakes cater for our need in vitamins. Deficiencies may however occur in various situations:
- Dietary imbalances, common in today's society (slimming diets, vegetarian diets, fast food, etc)
- Physical activities,
- Winter season in certain regions,
- Excess use of coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, etc.
The most important sources of vitamins are fruits and vegetables, oilseeds, cereals, fish, eggs, and meat. Occasional supplementation may be necessary to optimize the body function.
The most important sources of vitamins are fruits and vegetables, oilseeds, cereals, fish, eggs, and meat.
These vitamins bind to the lipids eaten and are absorbed together with the fatty acids. They are stored in fatty tissues, so that they stay in the body for several days, or even several months.
List of fat-soluble vitamins:
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin D,
- Vitamin E,
- Vitamin K
These vitamins are soluble in water, they are not stored for a prolonged time and are excreted in the urine when in excess.
The vitamins B family is involved in the transformation of carbohydrates, proteins and fatty acids into the energy necessary for muscle function. This is why vitamins are so useful to endurance athletes, and particularly vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6 for which the needs are most important.
List of water-soluble vitamins:
- Vitamin B1,
- Vitamin B2,
- Vitamin B3,
- Vitamin B5,
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B8
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
Except for vitamins K and D, the human body is not able to produce the vitamins. Providing vitamins through diet is therefore critical to smooth body function.
The needs in vitamins depend on several criteria: the gender, the age, the physical activity, the physiological status.
Certain physiological conditions may require additional vitamin intake: athletes, teenagers, elderly people, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or after a disease, an surgery or an accident.