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  • A, C, E, D, B, K.

  • No, this isn't some random, out of order alphabet.

  • These are vitamins,

  • and just like letters build words,

  • they're the building blocks that keep the body running.

  • Vitamins are organic compounds we need

  • to ingest in small amounts to keep functioning.

  • They're the body's builders, defenders and maintenance workers,

  • helping it to build muscle and bone,

  • make use of nutrients,

  • capture and use energy and heal wounds.

  • If you need convincing about vitamin value,

  • just consider the plight of olden day sailors

  • who had no access to vitamin-rich fresh produce.

  • They got scurvy.

  • But vitamin C, abundant in fruits and vegetables,

  • was the simple antidote to this disease.

  • While bacteria, fungi and plants produce their own vitamins,

  • our bodies can't.

  • So we have to get them from other sources.

  • So how does the body get vitamins from out there into here?

  • That's depended on the form these compounds take.

  • Vitamins come in two types,

  • lipid-soluble and water-soluble.

  • And the difference between them determines how the body transports and stores vitamin

  • and gets rid of the excess.

  • The water-solubles are vitamin C and B Complex vitamins

  • that are made up of 8 different types that each do something unique.

  • These are dissolved in the watery parts of fruits, vegetables and grains,

  • meaning their passage through the body is relatively straightforward.

  • Once inside the system, these foods are digested

  • and the vitamins within them are taken up directly by the bloodstream.

  • Because blood plasma is water-based,

  • water-soluble vitamin C and B have their transport cut out for them

  • and can move around freely within the body.

  • For lipid-soluble vitamins, dissolved in fat

  • and found in foods like dairy, butter and oils,

  • this trip into the blood is a little more adventurous.

  • These vitamins make it through the stomach and the intestine,

  • where an acidic substance called bile flows in from the liver,

  • breaking up the fat and preparing it for absorption through the intestinal wall.

  • Because fat-soluble vitamins can't make use of the blood's watery nature,

  • they need something else to move them around,

  • and that comes from proteins that attach to the vitamins and act like couriers,

  • transporting fat-solubles into the blood and around the body.

  • So, this difference between water- or fat-soluble vitamins determines how they get into the blood,

  • but also how they're stored or rejected from the body.

  • The system's ability to circulate water-soluble vitamins in the bloodstream so easily

  • means that most of them can be passed out equally easily via the kidneys.

  • Because of that, most water-soluble vitamins need to be replenished on a daily basis through the food we eat

  • But fat-soluble vitamins have staying power,

  • because they can be packed into the liver and in fat cells.

  • The body treats these parts like a pantry,

  • storing the vitamins there and rationing them out when needed,

  • meaning we shouldn't overload on this type of vitamin,

  • because the body is generally well stocked

  • Once we figured the logistics of transport and storage,

  • the vitamins are left to do the work they came here to do in the first place.

  • Some, like many of the B Complex vitamins,

  • make up coenzymes,

  • whose job it is to help enzymes release the energy from food.

  • Other B vitamins then help the body to use that energy.

  • From vitamin C, you get the ability to fight infection and make collagen,

  • a kind of tissue that forms bones and teeth, and heals wounds.

  • Vitamin A helps make white blood cells, key in the body's defense,

  • helps shape bones and improves vision

  • by keeping the cells of the eye in check.

  • Vitamin D gathers calcium and phosphorous so we can make bones,

  • and vitamin E works as an antioxidant,

  • getting rid of elements in the body that can damage cells.

  • Finally, from vitamin K, we score the ability to clot blood,

  • since it helps make the proteins that do this job.

  • Without this vitamin variety,

  • humans face deficiencies that cause a range of problems

  • like fatigue, nerve damage, heart disorders

  • or diseases like rickets and scurvy.

  • On the other hand, too much of any vitamin can cause toxicity in the body.

  • So there goes the myth that loading yourself with supplements is a great idea.

  • In reality, it's all about getting the balance right and hitting that vitamin jackpot.

A, C, E, D, B, K.

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B1 TED-Ed vitamin soluble body fat blood

【TED-Ed】How do vitamins work? - Ginnie Trinh Nguyen

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    Go Tutor posted on 2014/11/26
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