Vitamins: Important Facts About Vitamins

Vitamin Important Facts

Vitamins is an organic molecule or related set of molecules which is an essential micronutrient – that is, a substance which an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism – but cannot synthesize it (either at all, or in sufficient quantities), and therefore it must be obtained through the diet we consume.

In other word the human body either has no capacity to produce or does’nt produce at all this vitamins so therefore must rely on the food we eat in order to get the required and neccersarry vitamins for healthy living.

How Many Types Of Vitamins?

There are thirteen types of vitamins required by the human metabolism to function:
  1. Vitamin A (retinols and carotenoids)
  2. Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  3. Vitamin B2(riboflavin),
  4. Vitamin B3 (niacin),
  5. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  6. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  7. Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  8. Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate)
  9. Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)
  10. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  11. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol),
  12. Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  13.  Vitamin K (quinones)

Vitamins brief History:

The term vitamin is derived from the word vitamine, coined in 1912 by biochemist Casimir Funk, who isolated a complex of micronutrients essential to life, all of which he presumed to be amines. because he believed it was necessary to life and it was a chemical amine. The “e” at the end was later removed when it was recognized that vitamins need not be amines. “The letters (A, B, C and so on) were assigned to the vitamins in the order of their discovery. The one exception was vitamin K which was assigned its “K” from “Koagulation” by the Danish researcher Henrik Dam.

Vitamins Functions.

These vitamins as they’re have different functions, vitamin A functions as regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation. The B complex vitamins function as enzyme cofactors (coenzymes) or the precursors for them. Vitamin D has a hormone-like function as a regulator of mineral metabolism, and is anti-proliferative. Vitamin E (and sometimes vitamin C), functions as an antioxidant. Both deficient and excess intake of a vitamin can potentially cause clinically significant illness; although excess intake of a water-soluble vitamin is least likely to do so.

Vitamin A:

Retinol. Carotene compounds responsible for transmitting light sensation in the retina of the eye. Deficiency leads to night blindness.

Beta carotene: An antioxidant which protects cells against oxidation damage that can lead to cancer. Beta carotene is converted as needed to vitamin A.
Good sources: include: Liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, some cheeses, egg, apricot, cantaloupe melon, and milk.

Vitamin B1:

Thiamin, acts as a coenzyme in body metabolism. Deficiency leads to beriberi, a disease of the heart and nervous system.

Good sources: include: yeast, pork, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole-grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin B2:

Riboflavin, essential for the reactions of coenzymes. Deficiency causes inflammation of the lining of the mouth and skin.

Good sources: include: asparagus, bananas, persimmons, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans.

Vitamin B3:

Niacin, an essential part of coenzymes of body metabolism. Deficiency causes inflammation of the skin, vagina, rectum and mouth, as well as mental slowing.

Good sources: include: liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, fish (tuna, salmon), milk, eggs, avocados, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, whole-grains, legumes, mushrooms, and brewer’s yeast.

Vitamin B5:

Pantothenic acid, Deficiency may cause paresthesia, or “pins and needles.”

Good sources: include: meats, whole-grains (milling may remove it), broccoli, avocados, royal jelly, and fish ovaries.

Vitamin B6:

Pyridoxine, a cofactor for enzymes. Deficiency leads to inflammation of the skin and mouth, nausea, vomiting, dizziness , weakness and anemia.

Good sources: include: meats, bananas, whole-grains, vegetables, and nuts. When milk is dried, it loses about half of its B6. Freezing and canning can also reduce content.

Vitamin B7:

Biotin Deficiency may cause dermatitis or enteritidis, or inflammation of the intestine.

Good sources: include: egg yolk, liver, some vegetables.

Folate (folic acid):

Folic acid is an important factor in nucleic acid synthesis (the genetic material). Folate deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia.

Good sources include: leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, baker’s yeast, some fortified grain products, and sunflower seeds. Several fruits have moderate amounts.

Vitamin B12:

An essential factor in nucleic acid synthesis (the genetic material of all cells). Deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia, as can be seen in pernicious anemia.

Good sources: include: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, some fortified cereals and soy products, as well as fortified nutritional yeast.

Vitamin C:

Ascorbic acid, important in the synthesis of collagen, the framework protein for tissues of the body. Deficiency leads to scurvy, characterized by fragile capillaries, poor wound healing, and bone deformity in children.

Good sources: include: fruit and vegetables. The Kakadu plum and the camu camu fruit have the highest vitamin C contents of all foods. Liver also has high levels. Cooking destroys vitamin C.

Vitamin D:

Ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol, a steroid vitamin which promotes absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Under normal conditions of sunlight exposure, no dietary supplementation is necessary because sunlight promotes adequate vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Deficiency can lead to osteomalacia in adults and bone deformity (rickets) in children.

Good sources: Exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) through sunlight or other sources causes vitamin D to be produced in the skin. Also found in fatty fish, eggs, beef liver, and mushrooms.

Vitamin E:

Tocopherols, tocotrienols Deficiency is uncommon, but it may cause hemolytic anemia in newborns. This is a condition where blood cells are destroyed and removed from the blood too early.

Good sources: include: Kiwi fruit, almonds, avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, leafy green vegetables, unheated vegetable oils, wheat germ, and whole-grains.

Vitamin K:

Phylloquinone, menaquinones, An essential factor in the formation of blood clotting factors. Deficiency can lead to abnormal bleeding.

Good sources: include: leafy green vegetables, avocado, kiwi fruit. Parsley contains a lot of vitamin K.

Note: The health benefits and nutritional values daily requirements for a healthy living depends on the efficiency or deficiency of the vitamins we are able to get in our diet. It’s advisable to seek the help of a medical officer in any case so as to avoid unwarranted illness.