Vitamins are organic elements (i.e., comprising carbon atoms) that cannot be manufactured by the body. They are necessary in very small amounts and perform precise metabolic functions. The following table provides an overview of the functions of individual vitamins.
|Vitamin A||Encourages growth and repair of body tissues, bone construction, and healthy skin and hair. Vital for night vision!|
|Beta Carotene||Functions as an antioxidant (those substances that shield cells from free radicals, where oxidative damage caused by these free radicals can play aninstrumental role in heart disease, some cancers, and cataracts).|
|Vitamin D||Assists in the absorption of calcium and helps to construct bone mass and foil bone loss. Helps uphold blood levels of calcium and phosphorous.|
|Vitamin E||Functions as an antioxidant. Needed for normal growth and development.|
|Vitamin K||Required for normal blood clotting and bone health.|
|Vitamin C||Encourages healthy cell development, wound healing, and resistance to infections. Functions as an antioxidant. Essential for the transfiguration of the inactive form of folic acid into the active form. Makes iron accessible for haemoglobin synthesis.|
|Thiamine (B1)||Co-enzyme for carbohydrate metabolism. Required for normal functioning of the nervous system and muscles, counting the heart.|
|Riboflavin (B2)||Co-enzyme in red blood cell development, nervous system functioning, and metabolism of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Necessary for vision and may help guard against cataracts.|
|Niacin||Co-enzyme for protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism and appropriate nervous system functioning. High intakes can reduce elevated cholesterol.|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||Co-enzyme for protein digestion and nervous and immune system utility. Involved in synthesis of hormones and red blood cells.|
|Folic Acid||Required for normal growth and development and red blood cell formation. Lessens risk of neural tube birth deficiencies. May diminish risk of heart disease and cervical dysplasia.|
|Cobalamin (B12)||Crucial for blood development and healthy nervous system.|
|Biotin||Helps in the metabolism of fatty acids and utilisation of B vitamins.|
|Pantothenic Acid||Helps in normal growth and development.|
- Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 2nd Edition. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2008.
- Campbell, Bill I., and Marie A. Spano. NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2011.