Vitamins – Their Sources, Benefits and Diseases

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Vitamins are the micro-nutrients required for the proper growth and maintenance of our body and organs. They help with the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates required for the body development. Vitamins are not developed/synthesized inside human body. Hence, our food should have appropriate amounts of vitamins meet the required levels.

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Among the nutrients required for the many physiologic functions essential to life are the vitamins. Unlike other nutrients, the vitamins do not serve structural functions, nor does their catabolism provide significant energy. Instead, the physiologic functions of vitamins are highly specific, and, for that reason, they are required in only small amounts in the diet. The common food forms of most vitamins require some metabolic activation to their functional forms.

A vitamin is defined as:

  • A vitamin is an organic compound distinct from fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
  • A vitamin is a natural component of foods in which it is usually present in minute amounts
  • A vitamin is essential, also usually in minute amounts, for normal physiological function (i.e., maintenance, growth, development, and/or production)
  • A vitamin prevents a specific deficiency syndrome, which occurs when it is absent or underutilized
  • A vitamin is not synthesized by the host in amounts adequate to meet normal physiological needs.

With the discovery of the vitamins, therefore, nutrition moved from a largely observational activity to one that relied increasingly on hypothesis testing through experimentation; it moved from empiricism to science. Both the process of scientific discovery and the course of the development of nutrition as a scientific discipline are perhaps best illustrated by the history of the discovery of the vitamins.

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Sources of Vitamins

The Following table contains the sources of all the important Vitamins -:

S.No. Vitamin Name Source
1 Vitamin A (Retinol) Dark green and yellow coloured vegetables and fruits, cod liver oil, Milk, Butter and other dairy products
2 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Bread yeast, Sprouts, etc.
3 Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) mushrooms, soybean, nuts, green leafy vegetables, Almonds
4 Vitamin B3 (Niacin) cereals, seeds, meat, fishtuna, etc.
5 Vitamin B4 (Choline) Vegetables, whole grains, unadulterated honey
6 Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Broccoli, sweet potatoes, beans, eggs, etc.
7 Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Pistachio nuts, Sesame seeds, Chicken, etc.
8 Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine) Fish, Meat, Raw milk, Organic Yogurt
9 Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Fruits – Papaya, Pineapple, Kiwi Fruit, Mango, Tomatoes, etc.
10 Vitamin D (Calcipherol) Sun Light, Eggs, Meat, Fish, Mushrooms, etc
11 Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Almonds, Hazelnuts, Spinach, Tomatoes, etc
12 Vitamin K (Phillioquine) Green Leafy vegetables, Broccoli, Cabbage, etc.

Benefits of Vitamins

The Following table contains the list all the body parts and functions which are benefited by the intake of each of the important Vitamins :

S.No. Vitamin Name Body Part/Functions
1 Vitamin A (Retinol) Eyes, Bones and Teeth development, maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails
2 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Nervous system, Brain functions, etc
3 Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Overall growth and good health of the body, for Pregnant women
4 Vitamin B3 (Niacin) efficient functioning of Liver, maintaining cholesterol levels in the body
5 Vitamin B4 (Choline) Metabolism, Maintaining blood sugar levels, antibodies formation
6 Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Making Red blood cells, maintaining good health of hair, eyes and skin, etc.
7 Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Maintaining healthy metabolism, skin health, the functioning of the nervous system, etc
8 Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine) Healthy Pregnancy, Digestion, maintaining energy levels, etc
9 Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Gives Glowing Skin, Prevent Anaemia, Boosting Immunity, etc.
10 Vitamin D (Calcipherol) Maintaining body Weight, prevents the formation of cancer cells, strong brain health, etc
11 Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Maintaining Cholesterol levels in the body, healthy hair, Maintaining a balance of hormones, etc.
12 Vitamin K (Phillioquine) Normal Blood Clotting, Healthy Bones, etc.

Diseases caused by deficiency of Vitamins

The Following table contains the list the diseases cause by the deficiency of each of the important Vitamins -:

S.No. Vitamin Name Disease Names
1 Vitamin A (Retinol) Night Blindness, Dry Skin, weak teeth and bones, etc
2 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Weak memory, Disturbances in sleep, feeling irritated, etc
3 Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Sore throat, Amnesia, Inflammation of skin
4 Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Fatigue, Indigestion, Depression, Vomiting, Pellagra etc.
5 Vitamin B4 (Choline) Blood disorder, nausea, skin disorders
6 Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, headache, etc.
7 Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Mood Swings, Confusion, Muscle pains, etc.
8 Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine) Joint pains, poor Dental health, Chronic Fatigue, etc
9 Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Poor healing of wounds, Bleeding gums, Dry and scaly skin, Scurvy, etc.
10 Vitamin D (Calcipherol) Anxiety, Depression, Weak Immune System, Rickets
11 Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Visual Disturbances, General Unwellness
12 Vitamin K (Phillioquine) Haemorrhage, defective blood clotting, increased bleeding.
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