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Vitamins That Aid Digestion

author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
Vitamins That Aid Digestion
Woman eating salad Photo Credit: YanLev/iStock/Getty Images

Your body relies on healthy digestion to absorb nutrients from your diet. Foods contain chemical energy, stored as proteins, fats and carbohydrates, that your body must process to obtain energy. Most foods also contain other nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that are released during digestion and absorbed within your body. Healthy digestion and metabolism relies on a number of chemicals in your body, and vitamins initially obtained from your diet promote the proper digestion of other foods.

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Vitamin B-1

An important vitamin for digestion is B-1, or thiamine. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that thiamine aids in the generation of chemical energy, or ATP, that provides your tissues with the fuel needed for proper digestion. In addition, vitamin B-1 helps strengthen your immune system, helping to keep you healthy and prevent diseases that could potentially affect your digestive system. Eating rich food sources of B-1, such as whole grain foods, pork and organ meats and rice, can help prevent thiamine deficiency and promote good digestion.

Vitamin B-3

Another vitamin that may aid in digestion is B-3, or niacin. Like vitamin B-1, B-3 aids in the breakdown and digestion of dietary proteins, carbohydrates and fats to help fuel your body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In addition, niacin helps regulate the levels of hormones in your body, helping to preserve your overall health by preventing hormone imbalances. Introduce beets, fish, brewer's yeast and peanuts into your diet as rich sources of vitamin B-3 to help prevent niacin deficiency.

Vitamin B-12

Cobalmin, or vitamin B-12, also promotes healthy digestion. The largest of the B-class vitamins, cobalmin aids in the activation of enzmes -- functional proteins that aid digestion and a number of other functions within your body. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University indicates that B-12 plays a key role in activating an enzyme required for protein and fat digestion, called L-methylmalonyl-CoA mutase. Consuming foods rich in vitamin B-12, such as mussels, clams and salmon, can help prevent cobalmin deficiency and stimulate digestion.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, supports digestion too. Found in a number of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, spinach, citrus fruits and red peppers, vitamin C is essential for good health. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that vitamin C works as an antioxidant in your body, helping protect against harmful chemicals called reactive oxygen species. These "free radicals" can form as a bi-product of digestion. As a result, adequate vitamin C intake may promote proper digestion by helping to dispose of the waste products of metabolism, keeping your digestive tract healthy and able to function at an optimal level.

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