Vitamins are Vital

Vitamins are Vital 

By Daniel Rocha 

CMI and SUNM Graduate 


The primary fuels for the body are the macronutrients of carbohydrates and fats. Metabolism is defined as all of the chemical processes that take place in the living cells.

Glycolysis is an anaerobic process that results in converting glucose to pyruvate molecules in the net gain of two ATP molecules. Fatty acid cannibalism occurs in the mitochondria via beta-oxidation. Amino acids are catabolized after undergoing deamination or transamination. Energy is stored in the body primarily as glycogen or triglycerides. The enzymes and reactions that facilitate ATP production and energy storage in the body are coordinated and regulated by specific hormones. Glucose, fat, and amino acids work together to feel the body under various physical conditions.


Vitamins are organic compounds. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A involves vision, immune function, and cell development. Vitamin D is both a hormone and a vitamin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, but high dosages can be detrimental to one's health. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone formation. Respiratory and digestive problems are common in cystic fibrosis 


Fat-soluble vitamins

Four fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, high levels of vitamin D and vitamin A can cause health problems. But there are fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant activity, which help protect cells from damage. 


“Fat-soluble vitamins include:

Vitamin A (retinol): needed for vision, a healthy immune system, development of the fetus, tissue repair. The carotenoids are antioxidants.

Vitamin D (calciferol): involved in building bones, muscle contraction, and nerve impulse transmission

Vitamin E (tocopherol): acts as an antioxidant to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals

Vitamin K: needed for blood clotting”

(Davidson et al 2020).


Thiamin helps cells metabolize carbohydrates fats and proteins. Riboflavin is essential to energy metabolism. Niacin participates in over 200 reactions involving carbohydrate protein and fatty acid metabolism. Pantothenic acid is essential for energy metabolism and a component of CoA. Biotin participates in chemical reactions and adds carbon dioxide to other compounds. Vitamin B6 is involved in protein metabolism. Folate plays important roles in DNA synthesis and homocysteine metabolism. The body needs vitamin B12 to metabolize folate and homocysteine and maintain the insulation surrounding nerves. The body uses vitamin C to synthesize and maintain collagen, antioxidant, and normal immune function.


Many people, including older adults, do not receive recommended amounts of many nutrients from food alone. These nutrients are essential, and some groups tend to need either a multivitamin or supplementation with specific vitamins to prevent vitamin deficiency diseases. These groups include people who do not eat enough servings of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains daily. The elderly are on restricted diets, even vegans, because they eat no animal products. Breastfed babies of vegan mothers, people with lactose intolerance, or those who do not eat dairy products. Conditions such as alcoholism, or people who have had part of their stomachs or intestines removed surgically. Women who want to become pregnant or are pregnant need extra nutrients. Lastly, people with diseases or taking drugs that interfere with vitamin metabolism may require extra vitamins. (Davidson et al. 2020).


Supplements are perceived as nutritional support, meaning people are nourished when they cannot get sufficient nourishment through regular eating or drinking. Nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, nutrients, botanicals, herbs, and other substances that improve human health. Certain herbs and botanicals are used to lengthen ones life to improve skin quality. Other natural products have become, or are incorporated into commonly used medicines. (Spehar et al 2021)



A nutritionist or dietitian understands that supplements are not for everyone. Side effects exist with all supplements, and allergic reactions may occur in one person but not in another.  The supplements glucosamine may be harmless and adequate for joint pain in arthritis patients, but it does contain glucose which can be harmful to individuals with diabetes. When taking any supplements, research, reading labels, consulting with a physician or a pharmacist is crucial to avoid any harmful side effects or drug interactions. (Spehar et al 2021)



A nutritionist and pharmacist is aware of the potential interactions with certain drugs when taken with nutritional supplements. Senior adults on several prescription medicines are advised to consult with their primary care physician to determine any harmful interactions between the prescribed medication and any supplements and vitamins. Some dietary supplements can cause skin sensitivity and severe reactions during radiation treatments for cancer patients. The recommendations would be to avoid the supplements when treated with radiation or chemotherapy. (Spehar et al 2021)


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Davidson, T., AM, & Blake, S., ScD. (2020). Vitamins. In D. S. Hiam (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (5th ed., Vol. 5, pp. 2788-2792). Gale.


Spehar, J. E. (2021). Nutritional Supplements. In B. Narins (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Senior Health: A Guide for Seniors and Their Caregivers (3rd ed., Vol. 4, pp. 1710-1714). Gale.


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