These days vitamins and nutrients are needed in any active sportsperson’s diet. The word Vitamin is actually derived from two words Vital and Amines. These are the complex organic substances, essential in small quantities to the metabolism, as nutrition and required by most living creatures.

Vitamins are found in minute quantities in some foods. In some cases they are produced by the body and of course are also produced synthetically, in large quantities.

The human body needs them to work properly, so that we can grow and develop just like we should. A vitamin deficiency can result in many serious disorders.

Vitamins are divided into two major groups, the fat soluble vitamins designated as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K and the water soluble vitamins, which include vitamin C and the group of molecules referred to as the vitamin B complex.  Each of them has its own special role to play in the development of the human body.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin, plays a really big part in eyesight and helps us to see in poor light and also at night. Vitamin A is also involved in the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes.

In addition, it is also necessary for proper bone growth, tooth development, reproduction and for the development of epithelial cells, that line any opening to the body such as the nose, throat, lungs, mouth, stomach, intestines and urinary tract.

Vitamin A can be found in eggs, milk, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, fish oil, liver (from pork, lamb, chicken, turkey or beef), butter, broccoli, apricots, nectarines, cantaloupes and orange or yellow vegetables and fruits.

The deficiency of vitamin A can cause two major disorders, like night blindness and the drying out of the skin.

Vitamin B
Vitamin B itself, is a complex of different vitamins including B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid. These B vitamins are very important in metabolic activity and in facilitating the red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. They also help your body to make protein and energy.

The sources of vitamin B are leafy green vegetables, seafoods, beans, peas, citrus fruits, whole grains such as wheat and oats, poultry, meats, eggs and dairy products, like milk and yoghurt. Some bacteria in our large intestine also produce some types of B vitamins.

The deficiency of vitamin B can cause the disease Beri Beri, cracked lips, weak muscles, malformation of red blood cells, affects normal growth and disturbs the central nervous system.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it is also known, is a water soluble, antioxidant vitamin that is vital to the production of collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels.

It is important for keeping body tissues, such as gums and muscles in good shape and it helps in the quick healing of wounds. In addition, it also helps protect the fat soluble vitamins A and E, as well as fatty acids, from oxidation.

The vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges, cantaloupes, strawberries, tomatos, broccoli, cabbage and in other fresh fruits and vegetables.

The deficiency of vitamin C affects the healthy skin. It can lead to poor wound healing and can lead to a disease called Scurvy which causes bleeding in gums, easy bruising, bumps of coiled hair on the arms and legs, pain in the joints, muscle wasting and many other problems.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, that regulates the formation of bones and the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine. It helps to control the movement of calcium between bones and blood and vice versa. It is this vitamin you need, for strong bones and teeth. In addition, it helps your body to absorb the amount of calcium that it needs.

Vitamin D can be found in fish liver oil, egg yolks, milk and other dairy products fortified with vitamin D. It is also produced in our bodies, in the presence of ultra violet light and sunlight.

The deficiency of vitamin D can cause weak bones and bowed legs in children. An excess can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, headaches, depression and deposits of calcium in the kidneys.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, is essential for the inhibition of oxidation in body tissues, formation of red blood cells and also prevents the breakdown of body tissues. It maintains the body tissues and protects the lungs from becoming damaged by polluted air.

This vitamin can be found in whole grains such as wheat and oats, wheat germ, leafy green vegetables, sardines, egg yolks, nuts, bread, cereals and seeds.

The deficiency of this vitamin can cause many diseases, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.

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Clinton Robson is a South African fitness fanatic and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Exercise Specialist. Clint has been working out since 1996 and has been working in the Fitness Industry since 2001. He has a proven track record, with many success stories. He has worked in several countries around the world and has also run the gyms on 5 and 6 star cruise ships. Clint prides himself with working with many different types of people, even those with illnesses, obesity, hypertension, renal failure, as well as fit people, right up to elite athletes.  He writes articles on many fitness topics, such as training, bodybuilding, working out, fat loss, nutrition, supplements and more. Visit his blog at Fitness And Fatness, by clicking here, or by copying this link: