Vitamins and Their Role in Our Lives
By Charlene J. Nuble
Vitamins, like minerals, are an essential part of the function and health of the body system. While many vitamins serve individual purposes, the more common way for vitamins to function properly is as cofactors to or in partnership with other vitamins, minerals, nutrients and other substances in the body such as enzymes. Some of the most important processes in the body are the result of Vitamins partnering with each other to achieve certain affects, processes or functions.
Two of the most essential and most powerful vitamin partnerships are the group of eight vitamins that make up the nutritional powerhouse that is collectively known as the Vitamin B complex and the group of three vitamins that are known as the antioxidant vitamins. In addition to these, there are varieties of other combinations of vitamins that serve essential purposes within the body thus preserving health and enhancing function.
The vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex include Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid or simply Folate), Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Biotin (Vitamin H).
The degree to which the Vitamin B complex affects bodily function and health, as well as the function and health of the mind in terms of cognitive processes and emotional balance and stability is nothing but amazing. The Vitamin B complex is at work in and is essential to every major system of the body and is a part of almost every important function and process.
The group of vitamins that is known as the antioxidant group is made up of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin A. Each of these vitamins are powerful agents on their own, serving individual essential purposes in the body. But they are their most powerful and useful when they combine their strengths thus serving as antioxidants. They function to rid the body of the cell and tissue damaging free radicals that have been associated with a variety of degenerative processes and diseases including the effects of the basic aging process and the declining abilities of the mind. Some studies have suggested connections between free radicals and such infirmities as heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Free radicals are destabilized molecules, created when a weakened molecule splits and leaves the free radical without one of the electrons it needs. Weakened molecules can result from the body's natural metabolic processes as well as from environmental contaminants such as pollution. The free radicals attack other molecules in the effort to take the electron that it is missing. This damages the attacked molecule, making it a free radical too. When enough free radicals emerge in a cell, it can cause cellular damage, which, as more free radicals continue to be produces, can cause tissue damage. Antioxidants bring these free radicals under control by giving them the electron that they need, bringing to an end their aggressive behavior against other molecules. Because of this, antioxidants are sometimes even coined as the Fountain of Youth of the New Age.
Nutritional supplements can ensure that your body has enough of the nutrients it needs to support these important partnerships. Attention to nutrition is one of the most important things you can do for the overall health of mind and body.