Vitamins

Vitamins are a group of chemically diverse organic compounds that an organism requires for normal metabolism.

Apart from a few exceptions ( eg. Vitamin D ) the human body can not synthesize vitamins on its own in sufficient amounts and must , therefore ensure a steady supply through the diet.

Vitamins are micronutrients that do not produce energy ( like micro nutrients ) but instead have very specific biochemical roles .

They can be coenzymes in various reactions ( B Vitamins , Vitamin A , and K ) and/or antioxidents that protect the cell and its membrane from free radicals ( Vitamin C and E ).They can also enable cell signaling ( Vitamin A ) and gene transcription ( Vitamin A and E ) or function as hormones ( eg. Vitamin D ) .

Vitamins are classified into fat soluble vitamins , which the body can store , and water soluble vitamins , which with the exception of Vitamins B9(Folate) and B12 ( Cobalamin ) , the body can not store over significant periods of time and therefore , requires continuous intake.

A balanced diet typically supplies the body with all vitamins it requires . Defficiencies occur mainly due to malnutrition , malabsorption , disorders or restrictive diets.

Vitamin-A 

Vitamin A food include sweet potatoes, carrots , dark leafy greens , winter squashes , lettuce , dried apricots , cantaloupe , bell peppers , fish ,liver and tropical fruits.Lack of Vitamin A causes night blindness in children and hence , to prevent from night blindness , mothers feed the children with Vitamin-A. Vitamins do not act as a source of energy but play major roles in overall growth of the body such as stimulating the growth of the body , anti-oxidising etc.

Vitamin B

The B-group vitamins are a collection of eight water-soluble vitamins essential for various metabolic processes.

B vitamins are important for making sure the body’s cells are functioning properly. They help the body convert food into energy (metabolism), create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues.

Some foods are high in several B vitamins, and certain foods are particularly high in specific B vitamins. Eating a balanced diet is key to getting all nutrients your body needs.

Vitamin C

Also Known as L-Ascorbic Acid , is a water soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods , added to others, and available as a dietary suppliment . Humans , unlike most animals , can not synthesize Vitamin C endogenously , so it is an essential dietary component . Vitamin C is required for biosynthsis of Collagen . L- Creatinine, and certain neurotransmitters. Vitamin – C is also involved in protein metabolism.

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use Calcium from the diet. Frequently Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissues does not properly mineralise, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. Vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a Vitamin. The body makes most of the Vitamin D it needs, only about 10 % comes from our food. The action of sunlight on our skin on 7-dihydroxy cholesterol and produce a substance called Cholecalciterol , which is converted by the liver to Vitamin-D.

Vitamin-E

Vitamin E found in major green leaves , the germs of seeds in Olives and Olive oil and in other foods ( lettuce ) , is supposed to energise and potentise the reproductive glands . Many forms of E are said to exist in foods . It seems to be essential for reproduction among rats in which its absence cause the germ cells to perish and the seminiferous tubules , in which the germ cells are produced , to atrophy. The overies of the female remain normal but the embryo dies a few days after fertilization.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a group of fat soluble vitamins. It is of two types. Vitamin K1-Phylloquinone and Vitamin K2- Menaquinone. These Vitamins required for several processes. Leafy greens, vegetables ( Vitamin K1), fermented foods ( Vitamin K2) are main Vitamin K sourses. Bone development and production of coagulation factors are done by Vitamin K dependent proteins. Deficiency causes bleeding, bone development problems, osteoporosis, increased risk of fractures etc. Defective problems are absorption in intestine could be defective, and strong antibiotics can kill gut microflora and reduce absorption. Vitamin K deficiency mainly caused by decreased dietary intake, decreased absorption (of Vitamin K ) and certain medications.

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