General Information About Vitamins

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General Information About Vitamins
General Information About Vitamins
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What is Vitamin?

Vitamins are organic substances found in very small amounts in natural foodstuffs.Having too little of a particular vitamin can increase the risk of developing certain health problems.

Vitamin is an organic compound, meaning it contains carbon. It is also an essential nutrient that the body may need to get from food.

There are currently 13 recognized vitamins.

Fat soluble and water soluble vitamins

Vitamins are soluble or soluble in oil or water. We explain both types below:

Fat soluble vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble.The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in adipose tissue and the liver, and reserves of these vitamins can remain in the body for days and sometimes months.

Dietary fats help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins through the gut.

Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins remain in the body for a long time and cannot be stored. They leave the body with urine. Therefore, people need a more regular source of water-soluble vitamins than fat-soluble vitamins.

Vitamin C and all B vitamins are soluble in water. Visit our dedicated Center for more detailed resources on vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements.

13 Vitamins

Learn about each currently recognized vitamin below:

Vitamin A

Chemical names: “four carotenoids” including retinol, retinal and beta carotene.

Soluble in oil.

Function: It is very important for eye health.

Deficiency: This can cause night blindness and keratomalacia, causing the transparent anterior layer of the eye to become dry and cloudy.

Good sources: These include liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, kale, some cheeses, eggs, apricots, melons, and milk.

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Vitamin B1

Chemical name: thiamine.

It is water soluble.

Function: It is necessary for the production of various enzymes that help break down blood sugar.

Deficiency: This can cause beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

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

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Vitamin B2

Chemical name: riboflavin.

It is water soluble.

Function: It is necessary for the growth and development of body cells and helps metabolize nutrients.

Deficiency: Symptoms include inflammation of the lips and cracks in the mouth.

Good sources: These are asparagus, banana, dates, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans.

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Vitamin B3

Chemical names: niacin, niacinamide.

It is water soluble.

Function: The body needs niacin for cells to grow and function properly.

Deficiency: Low levels result in a health problem called pellagra that causes diarrhea, skin changes and intestinal upset.

Good sources: Examples include chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, milk, eggs, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, nuts and seeds, tofu and lentils.

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Vitamin B5

Chemical name: pantothenic acid.

It is water soluble.

Function: Necessary to produce energy and hormones.

Deficiency: Symptoms include paresthesia or “tingling”.

Good sources: These include meats, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, and yogurt.

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Vitamin B6

Chemical names: pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal.

It is water soluble.

Function: It is vital for the formation of red blood cells.

Deficiency: Low levels can cause anemia and peripheral neuropathy.

Good sources: These include chickpeas, beef liver, banana, pumpkin, and nuts.

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Vitamin B7

Chemical name: biotin.

It is water soluble.

Function: It enables the body to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It also contributes to keratin, a structural protein in skin, hair and nails.

Deficiency: Low level of eczema can cause inflammation or intestinal inflammation.

Good sources: These include egg yolks, liver, broccoli, spinach, and cheese.

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Vitamin B9

Chemical names: folic acid, folinic acid.

It is water soluble.

Functions: Required to make DNA and RNA.

Deficiency: During pregnancy, this can affect the nervous system of the fetus. Doctors recommend folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy.

Good sources: These include leafy vegetables, peas, legumes, liver, some fortified cereal products, and sunflower seeds. Also, some fruits have moderate amounts.

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Vitamin B12

Chemical names: cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin.

It is water soluble.

Function: Necessary for a healthy nervous system.

Deficiency: Low levels can lead to neurological problems and some types of anemia.

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

Doctors may recommend that people on vegan diets take B12 supplements.

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C vitamin

Chemical name: ascorbic acid.

It is water soluble.

Function: Contributes to collagen production, wound healing and bone formation. It also strengthens blood vessels, supports the immune system, helps the body absorb iron, and acts as an antioxidant.

Deficiency: This can cause gum bleeding, tooth loss, and scurvy, which causes poor tissue growth and wound healing.

Good sources: These include fruits and vegetables, but cooking destroys vitamin C.

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Vitamin D

Chemical names: ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol.

Soluble in oil.

Function: It is necessary for the healthy mineralization of bone.

Deficiency: This can lead to rickets and osteomalacia, or softening of the bones.

Good sources: Exposure to UVB rays from the sun or other sources causes the body to produce vitamin D. Fatty fish, eggs, beef liver and mushrooms also contain this vitamin.

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Vitamin E

Chemical names: tocopherol, tocotrienol.

Soluble in oil.

Function: Its antioxidant activity helps prevent oxidative stress, a problem that increases the risk of widespread inflammation and various diseases.

Deficiency: This is rare, but can cause hemolytic anemia in newborns. This condition destroys blood cells.

Good sources: These include wheat germ, kiwi, almonds, eggs, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils.

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Vitamin K

Chemical names: phylloquinone, menaquinone.

Soluble in oil.

Function: Necessary for blood coagulation.

Deficiency: Low levels may cause bleeding or an unusual sensitivity to bleeding diathesis.

Good sources: These include natto, leafy greens, pumpkin, figs, and parsley.

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