6. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is crucial to the normal and healthy functioning of the brain and the nervous system. It’s also necessary for the formation of red blood cells and helps to create and regulate DNA. Our bodies produce millions of red blood cells every minute. Without vitamin B12 they can’t multiply properly. When B12 levels are low then the production of red blood cells drops, which can result in anemia. It is such an important vitamin that even slightly lower-than-normal levels can trigger deficiency signs, such as confusion, memory loss, fatigue, and depression.
Other signs that there is a vitamin B12 deficiency include loss of appetite, weight loss, and constipation. Because these symptoms can go undiagnosed there is a chance of them escalating and people may experience neurological changes like numbness, a tingling sensation in the hands and feet and difficulty maintaining their balance. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal proteins and not in plant-based foods unless they’re fortified. The body also absorbs the vitamin much better from animals sources over plant-based ones.
A woman’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases with age and research shows that 4 percent of women between the ages of 40-60 years old suffer from a B12 deficiency. Certain medications are also known to affect the way your body absorbs it. It is essential to make sure you’re getting enough to maintain a healthy body and mind. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include weight loss, pale or yellowing skin, diarrhea, a sore tongue or mouth, and menstrual problems. People lacking this vitamin are also more susceptible to the effects of infections.
The best sources of Vitamin B12 are fish, meat, cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt and fortified cereals. Some of the best food sources for vitamin B12 are cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, yogurt and fortified breakfast cereals. Organ meats, like liver and kidneys, are high in Vitamin B12 as is shellfish.
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water-soluble and plays a role in maintaining the health of the body’s connective tissue as well as acting as an antioxidant. Your body needs vitamin C on a daily basis to maintain the correct levels and for women, it has a lot of benefits including protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye diseases and wrinkly skin.
Your body doesn’t make vitamin C on its own and it doesn’t store it. This means you need to include fruit and vegetables in your diet on a daily basis. Vitamin C is also referred to as ascorbic acid. It helps heal wounds and boosts levels of the brain chemical called noradrenaline, which makes you feel more alert and amps up your concentration.
A severe deficiency can result in scurvy, a disease that results from the breakdown of collagen. It leaves you feeling lethargic and fatigued, affects muscle and bone strength and suppresses the immune system. Because only a very small amount of vitamin C is needed to prevent it, scurvy is rarely seen. Other symptoms that indicate you’re suffering from a vitamin C deficiency include easy bruising, swollen and bleeding gums, slow healing wounds, bad breath, dry hair, rough and dry skin, nosebleeds, a weakened immune system, swollen and painful joints.
If left untreated the symptoms can become far worse and lead to more serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, and gallbladder disease. To get the most vitamin C from your vegetables and fruit you need to eat foods that are raw, preferably uncooked, eat them as soon as possible after cutting them up and steam vegetables rather than boiling them. The best Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables include grapefruits, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries.
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the fatty tissues and lover. It’s different to other vitamins because our body makes it on its own, instead of relying on food sources. Our bodies make vitamin D by converting sunshine into chemicals that are then used by the body. The cholesterol in our skin converts “previtamin D” and turns it into usable vitamin D3, which is also called provitamin D.
Previtamin D travels through the kidneys and liver in the bloodstream and is then converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol. It becomes a secosteroid hormone, a precursor to a steroid hormone.
It impacts our skeletal structure, as well as our blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function and protects our body from cancer. It can also help reduce pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms and protect your eyesight. A deficiency of this vitamin may weaken your bones and contribute to osteoporosis.
Short daily exposure to sunlight can give your body the required dose of vitamin D. For most light-skinned people, an exposure of 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient to produce enough vitamin D for the body. In addition, you can eat foods that are rich in vitamin D like fatty fish, fortified milk, liver, and eggs.
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents free radical damage to specific fats in the body that are critical for your health and naturally slows down aging. It’s an important fat-soluble vitamin that’s required for the proper functioning of a lot of our organs, enzymatic activities, and neurological processes.
Eating vitamin E-rich foods can treat and prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels like high blood pressure, blocked or hardened arteries, and chest pains. Vitamin E is found in plant foods, including certain oils, nuts, grains, fruits and wheat germ. It’s also available as a supplement. For women vitamin E is used as a way of preventing complications in late pregnancy, due to high blood pressure, premenstrual syndrome, painful periods, menopausal syndrome, hot flashes associated with breast cancer and breast cysts.
The most common signs and symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency include tingling and numbness in the hands, feet, and toes; it affects the retina of the eye, a weakened immune system and an inability to control bodily movements.
Vitamin E is also essential for healthy skin and hair, and it’s a popular ingredient in skin and hair care products. Foods rich in vitamin E include wheat germ, hazelnuts, almonds, margarine, corn oil, peanut butter, safflower oil and sunflower seeds. Brocolli, spinach, kiwi, mangoes, and tomatoes are also good ways to get vitamin E into your body.
10. Vitamin K
Vitamin K has many health benefits including a reduced risk of blood clotting, prevention of osteoporosis, relief from menstrual pain, protection from internal bleeding, prevention of biliary obstruction and reduced menstrual flow. It is an essential vitamin as it provides a total balance of 80 nutrients the human body needs to function properly. This includes antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and other complimentary co-factor ingredients.
It also enhances the functioning of the liver, helps maintain strong bones, especially in the elderly, maintains cardiac muscles, capillaries, and blood vessels, and increase blood circulation in tissues and peripheral bodies.
There’s a chance you’re low in vitamin K if you’ve been taking antibiotics for a long time, suffer from IBS or inflammatory bowel disease or if you take cholesterol-lowering medicine. A poor diet also contributes to a vitamin K deficiency. When the body is lacking vitamin K it goes into emergency mode, keeping up the most critical functions needed for survival.
What happens is other vital processes break down, leaving the body vulnerable to cancer development, weak bones, and heart problems. To make sure you’re getting the required amounts of vitamin K you should include chicken liver, kale, fish, leafy vegetables and eggs in your diet.