5 The word "vitamin" comes from the Latin wordvita, means "life". These are class of organic compoundscategorized as essential nutrient. Everybody must eat a certain amount ofvitamins to stay healthy.
Vitamins are chemicals found in very smallamounts in many different foods. Tiny quantities are enough for the needs ofthe body. If people live on a very limited range offoods they may not get their proper share ofvitamins.
Definition of vitaminsA complex organic compoundsrequired in catalytic amounts for theproper functioning of living cells anddoes not synthesized in amounts tomeet physiological needs.The quantities required may rangefrom μgs/day (B12) to mgs/day (vit. C).
8“vitamins have been defined asorganic compounds which arerequired in minute amounts tomaintain normal health oforganisms’.
VitamersThe term vitamers represents thechemically similar substances thatposses qualitatively similar vitaminactivity. Some good examples ofvitamers are given below
Retional, retinal and retinoic acid arevitamers of vitamin A.Pyridoxine, pyridoxal andpyridoxamine are vitamers of vitaminB6.
12A SHORT HISTORY OF VITAMINSBY RON KENNEDY, M.D., SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA From about 1500 BC it was knownthat various diseases could be treatedwith specific foods. . In 1880 Christian Eijkman producedvitamin-deficiency conditions inanimals on an experimental basis andthen reversed the condition with anappropriate feeding regimen.
13 Frederick Hopkinss said in 1906 that foodscontain a small amount of "growth factors"needed to sustain growth and life itself. The general category of "vitamins" wasdefined as (1) substances found to beabsolutely necessary for life (i.e., vital) andwhich (2) the body cannot synthesize on itsown.
14 In 1912 Cashmir Funk named these growthfactors "vitamines“because they were requiredfor life ("vita") and because he found thatthiamine isolated from rice husks containednitrogen (called an "amine" - i.e., containing anitrogen bound to three hydrogen atoms-NH3).
Funks original term "vitamine" was changedto "vitamin" when many scientists identified,purified, and synthesized all of the vitaminsand discovered they did not all containnitrogen.
16 In the 1930s a scientific discoverydemonstrated the biochemical functions of thevitamins and established the bodysrequirements for them. From then on, they havebeen commercially produced.
17 Vitamins were given letters to go with theirchemical names to simplify discussion aboutthem. Not many people know what to sayabout "d-alpha tocopheryl succinate" but mostpeople have some idea of what "vitamin E" isall about.
When the "B" names were being handed out,several substances were given "B" names,which turned out not to be vitamins after all.Therefore, you have heard of vitamins B1, B2,B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12 but not 4, 7, 10and 11.
Vitamins do not containenergy per se, but they help regulateenergy process in the body.Vitamins have a variety of functions inthe body: some are co-factors in enzymeactivity, some are antioxidants(prevent oxygen from doing damage in thebody) and one (vitamin D) is a pro-hormone. 19
If insufficient amounts of vitamins areavailable to the body because of a poor diet orsome medical condition (e.g. malabsorption ofnutrients), specific symptoms will appear andcan develop into a deficiency disease.
Vitamin deficiency diseases arerare in the westernized society, but stilloccur in some parts of the world.Vitamins and minerals are measured inmilligrams (mg), micrograms (µg)and international units (IU).
Most vitamins cannot be made by thebody, so have to be provided by the diet.An exception is vitamin D which can beobtained by the action of sunlight on theskin.22
Small amounts of a B vitamin (niacin)can be made from the essential aminoacid, tryptophan.Vitamin K is formed by bacterialaction in the large intestine.
30Water soluble vitamins Water soluble vitamins are found inyeast,grain,rice,vegetables, fish, and meat. These are essential co-enzymes required inenergy releasing mechanisms. They also act as co-enzymes formetabolism of proteins, carbohydrates andfats.
32 Most B complex occurs in nature in the boundform within the cells of vegetables or animaltissues. The digestion for the liberation of vitamins andits absorption is a result of breakdown ofcellular structures in the gut. Excretion of vitamins occurs in the kidney.
Vitamins are organic componentsin food that are neeed in verysmall amounts for growth and formaintaining good health. Vitamins are micronutrientsessential for daily functioning. Our body does not makeNutrients on its own. Thus wemust obtain them from the foodswe eat, or via vitaminsupplements. Thirteen types of vitamins arerequired for our body to stayhealthy.Vitamins
CONCLUSIONVitamins are required in trace amounts.They do not directly provide energy.They are not required by normalotherwise healthy individualsconsuming a balanced diet, rathershould be reserved for those who areunder stressful conditions.
Acutely ill patientsPregnant and lactating mothersChronic debilitating illnessDuring convalescenceMalnourished personUndertaking certain drugs-antimicrobials