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Vitamins: What are they?

What are Vitamins?

They are organic compounds needed by the Body in small amount to perform many of the biological functions for maintenance of the health of an Organism.

This is the basic idea of Vitamins.


Why do we need Vitamins??

Our Body cannot synthesize most of the Vitamins So,they have to be supplied through a diet.

E.coli Bacteria doesn't need Vitamins and Do you know why? Because it can synthesize all of them.

But Higher organism like Us Humans lost this ability in the course of evolution.


Classification of Vitamins

There are 13 Vitamins,essential for humans

Vitamins are of Two types:

  1. Fat soluble(Vitamin A,E,D and K)

  2. Water soluble(Vitamin C and B-group)

What is Fat soluble Vitamins?

Fat soluble: As the name suggests they are soluble in fat,oil or fat solvents(alcohol,acetone) and they are absorbed by fat globules and that travel through small intestine and then from blood circulation to the Body and it is stored in the Body(liver and adipose tissue)

Since they can be stored So if excess amount of these Vitamin in Body leads to its accumulation and toxic effects.

And forms are Vitamin A,E,D and K


What is Water soluble Vitamins?

Water soluble:So, you can figure out that it is soluble in water and reach to body's tissue but cannot be stored and the remaining unwanted is released out from the Body.

Forms are Vitamin C and B(B1,B2,B3,B5,B6,B7,B9,B12).

But wait Water soluble is also of Two types:

  1. Non B complex: Vitamin C

  2. B complex:These are complex forms of Vitamin B

1.Energy releasing:Theses are used as coenzyme in energy metablism (B1,B2,B3,B6,B7,B5)

2. Hematopoietic : These are essential in blood cell formation (B9 and B12)


Let's see in a simple Format

Classification of Vitamin:

Now it seems easy to see.


What are Vitamers:

Chemically similar substances that has the same vitamin activity are known as Vitamers

Example are : Retinol,Retinal,Retinoic acid are Vitamers of Vitamin A and Pyridoxine ,Pyridoxal and Pyrodoxamine are vitamers of Vitamin B6.


What is Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA)

The quantity of nutrients that has to be provided in daily diet is known as RDA and every vitamin has a RDA value that can be used for maintenance of health.

(Reference Daily Intake or Recommended Daily Intake(RDI) or Daily Reference value(DRV) or Daily Value(DV) are same as RDA)


Now we know what and types of Vitamins , Let's look at all the Vitamins:


Vitamin A:Also known as retinol ,It is present in animal foods(Egg yolk,Fish oil,Milk) and in plant source food Provitamin A- carotene form of vitamin A is present. Necessary for function as Vision,Proper growth and immune system and differentiation,Reproduction and maintenance of epithelial cells,Bone and Skin.

Food sources :Liver,Kidney,Egg yolk,Milk,Cheese,Butter,Fish oil are rich in Vitamin A

Vegetable source:Carrots,Spinach,Pumpkins,Mango,Papaya

RDA for Vitamin A is 600µg/day.


Vitamin D: Ergocalciferol(Vitamin D2) is present in plants and Cholecalciferol(Vitamin D3) present in animals .Necessary function Strengthening Bones,Calcium Absorption and Immune system.


Food source:Fatty fish,Fish liver oil,egg yolk,Milk is not good source for Vitamin D

RDA for Vitamin D is 5 to 10µg/day.


Vitamin E: It is an Antioxidant and essential for normal reproduction in organism and protects RBC from hemolysis and good for Immune system and flushes Toxin.


Food sources:Wheat germ oil,cotton seed oil,peanut oil and corn oil and milk,meat butter and eggs.

RDA for Vitamin E is 10 to 15µg/day.


Vitamin K: It also acts as coenzyme and helps in blood clotting and essential for coagulation.


Food sources:Cabbage,Cauliflower,Tomatoes,egg yolk,meat ,liver and diary products.

RDA for Vitamin K is 70 to 100µg/day


Vitamin C:Plays an important role in Human health and diseases and acts as antioxidant,reduces the risk of cancer and coronary heart diseases.


Food sources:Citrus fruits,Guava,Green vegetables(Cabbage,Spinach),Tomatoes,Potatoes

Milk is a poor source for Vitamin C

RDA for Vitamin C is 40 to 50 mg/day


Vitamin B group:

This group doen't include B4,B8,B10 and B11, Did Scientist forgot about numbering in Order

The answer is "No".B4,B8,B10 and B11 existed but they were removed because they were mixtures of already known Vitamins.

B1 (thiamine): Plays an essential role in metabolism by helping convert nutrients into energy.

The richest food sources include pork, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ and Yeast ,milk

RDA for Vitamin B1 is 1 to 1.5mg/day


B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin helps convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant.


Food source: organ meats, beef, and mushrooms,Milk and milk products,Cereals.

RDA for Vitamin B2 is1.2 to 1.7mg/day


B3 (niacin): Niacin plays a role in cellular signaling, metabolism and DNA production and repair.

Food sources include chicken, tuna and lentils,Milk and Milk products,Eggs

RDA for Vitamin B3 is 10 to 15mg/day


B5 (pantothenic acid): Pantothenic acid helps your body obtain energy from food and is also involved in hormone and cholesterol production.


Food sources :Liver, fish, yogurt, and avocado.

RDA for Vitamin B5 is 1 to 1.5mg/day


B6 (pyridoxine): Pyridoxine is involved in amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production and the creation of neurotransmitters.


Foods highest in this vitamin include chickpeas, salmon and potatoes,Egg yolk,Corn,Cabbage,Roots and tubers

RDA for Vitamin B6 is 1.5 to 2mg/day


B7 (biotin): Biotin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism and regulates gene expression.


Yeast, egg yolk, salmon, cheese, and liver, are among the best food sources of biotin.

RDA for Vitamin B7 is 20 to 30µg/day


B9 (folate): Folate is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells and proper cell division.


It can be found in foods like leafy greens, liver, and beans,yeast and eggs,cereals.

RDA for Vitamin B9 is 200µ/day


B12 (cobalamin): B12 is vital for neurological function, DNA production, and red blood cell development. B12 is only found in animal source food because plant cannot synthesize B12.

B12 can only be synthesized by mucroorganisms.

Small quantities of vitamin B12 synthesizes by bacteria on the surface of fruits may also be a source of B12


B12 is found naturally in animal sources like meats, eggs, seafood,milk,curd

Curd is better than milk for B12 due to the synthsis of B12 by lactobacillus.

RDA for Vitamin B12 is 1 to 2µg/day



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