The ‘Vit’ part of vitamins comes from these compounds being vital, with ‘vital’ meaning we cannot exist without enough of each of these in our bodies.
These days mostly people know that spending a few minutes each day with our skin exposed bright sunlight allows us to make vitamin D from cholesterol stored in our skin. Not so many people are aware that foods and drugs that lower cholesterol in the blood also reduce our ability to make vitamin D or that almost every known illness becomes more prevalent in populations low in vitamin D. It is important to avoid low cholesterol.
Less well known is that increasingly those eating the ‘Standard American Diet’ (SAD) are likely to be short of vitamin B3 (Niacin). With niacin shortage the body does its best to keep us alive by converting the amino acid tryptophan into niacin rather than using it to make hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. This partly explains why people who eat mainly processed foods often have mood disorders (often said to be due to serotonin disruption) and sleep disorders (melatonin is needed for quality sleep).
Between 1994 and 1998 I was responsible for the quality of vitamins purchased by a large food company, so I needed to know a lot about vitamins! I have continued to be fascinated and to research where people get their vitamins from. I have continued to teach about vitamins.
If you would like to better understand your own diet and where you could make changes to get more vitamins from food and so reduce your reliance on tablets and capsules then consider: Nutritional Analysis