Vitamins are organic compounds required by humans as nutrients in small amounts known as micronutrients. The term vitamin is derived from the Latin words 'vital' and 'amine', because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to be amines.
As most of the vitamins cannot be produced by humans, they must be obtained from the diet. An organic compound is considered a vitamin if a lack of that compound in the diet results in overt symptoms of deficiency.
Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). While fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissue, water-soluble vitamins must be used by the body right away. Any left over water-soluble vitamins leave the body through the urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.
Vitamins are essential to life and healthy living. Failing to get the necessary amounts of specific vitamins can cause deficiency states that are unhealthy and even dangerous. Thus, a sufficient intake of vitamins is crucial to prevent the development of deficiency-related diseases. In addition, some vitamins have a considerable potential in health promotion and disease treatment.
Vitamins are essential for virtually all chemical processes within the body that create and use energy, growth, and regulation of cell function. Read More
Lack of sufficient vitamin intake can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Read More
Throughout the years, the emphasis of vitamin research has shifted from mainly fighting deficiencies towards health promotion and disease treatment. Read More
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin E is dependent on age, gender, and other factors. Read More
Nutrition surveys undertaken in several countries have shown that the estimated intake patterns for vitamins and other micronutrients vary considerably across Europe and in the U.S., depending on age, gender, and other factors. Read More
While vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy or pellagra are uncommon, some population groups are at higher risk of vitamin deficiency than others. Read More