Here’s how your body synthesises vitamins that are crucial

  • Shikha Sharma, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 18, 2015 17:45 IST

The word Vitamin is a combination of ‘vital’ and ‘amine’. Amines (a kind of protein derivative) are important for our bodies. While most essential vitamins come from external sources (grains, pulses, fruits, oils, water and non-vegetarian foods), some are actually manufactured by our bodies.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin. A compound in the skin is converted into vitamin D by exposure to sunlight. The time required for this conversion can be as little as 15 minutes a day.

Vitamin D also helps absorb calcium from the intestines. In case of a vitamin D deficiency, the body is unable to process calcium, no matter how much of it one consumes. Exercise is also important. Calcium absorption is helped by the pressure of gravity on the bones. Those of us with sedentary lifestyles tend to suffer from poor blood supply to the bones and hence poor absorption of calcium.

Vitamin K
In case of a cut to the body, our bio system kicks into action immediately, and makes the blood clot. This clot prevents further loss of blood. Vitamin K is vital for this mechanism, and is manufactured by healthy intestinal bacteria.

Vitamin B7 or Biotin
Made with the assistance of gut bacteria, it helps the body’s metabolism. It is useful for metabolic disorders and multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid
A vitamin B7 deficiency occurs due to a weak intestine and digestive system. Pantothenic acid is very important for metabolism.
Note: Vitamins K, B5 and B7 are all manufactured by good bacteria in our intestines. Good bacteria usually outnumber bad bacteria, but can also be destroyed by antibiotics. This is why doctors these days prescribe probiotics with antibiotics.

Vitamin B3 or Niacin
One of the functions of the liver is to convert a protein (tryptophan) found in food, to the vitamin called niacin. Niacin is a very important component of the metabolic pathway. Metabolism suffers a great deal due to insufficient niacin.

From HT Brunch, April 19
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