Short Notes on Vitamins

SHORT NOTES ON VITAMINS

A vitamin is an organic molecule (or related set of molecules) that is an essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the organism, either at all or not in enough quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet. Vitamin C can be synthesized by some species but not by others; it is not a vitamin in the first instance but is in the second. The term vitamin does not include the three other groups of essential nutrients: minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Most vitamins are not single molecules, but groups of related molecules called vitamers. For example, vitamin E consists of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The thirteen vitamins required by human metabolism are: vitamin A (retinols and carotenoids), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate), vitamin B12 (cobalamins), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D (calciferols), vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), and vitamin K (quinones).

The term vitamin is derived from the word Vitamin, coined in 1912 by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk, who isolated a complex of micronutrients essential to life, all of which he presumed to be amines. When this presumption was later determined not to be true, the “e” was dropped from the name. All vitamins were discovered (identified) between 1913 and 1948.

short notes on vitamins

VITAMIN K (Phylloquinone)

SOURCE

Green leafy vegetables, soya beans. The human body can also produce Vitamin K through germs in the colon(part of small intestine).

FUNCTION

  • Helps blood clotting, prevent over bleeding
  • Maintains health of the liver

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

Uncontrol bleeding from wounds due to clotting difficulty

SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS

Can lead to liver damage

VITAMIN E (Tocopherol)=Beauty Vitamin

It is also known as Antisterility Vitamin.

SOURCE

Green leafy vegetables, whole-wheat cereals, nuts, sprouts, egg yolk

FUNCTION

  • Maintains normal conditions of cells, and healthy skin and tissues
  • Protects red blood cells
  • Antioxidation
  • Enhance immunity

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

New born infants: haemolytic anaemia

Adults: weakness

SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS

  • Low thyroxine level
  • Fertility Desease
  • Headache, dizziness, fatigue
  • Stomach discomfort, poor appetite

VITAMIN D (Calciferol)=(Sunhine Vitamin)

SOURCE

Egg yolk, liver, cod liver oil, fish. Our skin also produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

FUNCTION

  • Helps body absorb and utilize calcium and phosphorus, so as to maintain bones, teeth and brain healthy
  • Maintains normal calcium level in blood

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

Children: rickets

Adults: Osteomalacia, Osteoporosis

SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS

  • Calcified cartilage
  • High calcium level in the blood causes abnormal heart beat and damage to organs such as kidneys
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Sore eyes
  • Itchy skin

VITAMIN A (Retinol)

SOURCE

Dairy products, cod liver oil,liver, dark green and yellow vegetables and fruits

FUNCTION

  • Maintains eye health
  • Promotes growth and development, maintains healthy bones and teeth
  • Enhances the protection and regeneration of cells and mucous membrane
  • Maintains healthy respiratory and intestinal tracts
  • Maintain healthy hair, nails and skin

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

  • Night blindness, dry eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Poor growth
  • Weak bones and teeth

SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS

  • Dry, scaly, peeling, and itchy skin, rash
  • Hair loss
  • Poor appetite, fatigue
  • Vomiting, stomach discomfort
  • Liver injury
  • Headache, bone pain
  • Nervousness, irritability

VITAMIN B

VITAMIN B1 (Thymine)

SOURCE

sprouts, yeast

Desease

Beri-beri

VITAMIN B2 (Ryboflabin)

SOURCE

sprout, present in cow’s milk(yellowish)

Desease

Cheilosis, ulceration

VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine)

FUNCTION

It is responsible for rememeber dreams.

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

Anaemia

Nervousness, insomnia, depression

Muscle cramps

VITAMIN C (Ascorbic acid)

SOURCE

Citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon), strawberry, black current, kiwi fruit, tomato, green leafy vegetables, green pepper

FUNCTION

  • Helps synthesize collagen; promotes the growth and repair of cells, gum, teeth, blood vessels and bones
  • Helps healing after operation and injury
  • Helps calcium and iron absorption
  • Enhances immunity

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

  • Scurvy
  • Gum
  • inflammation and bleeding, fall of teeth
  • Susceptibility to skin bleeding, burst of capillary vessels
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Bone pain, swollen and aching joints

SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney stone

In smokers and drinkers vitamin C is absent.

TYPES OF VITAMINS:

Vitamin Chemical Name Food Sources Deficiency Diseases
A Retinol Milk, eggs, fish, butter, cheese and liver. Night blindness, Skin dryness.
B1 Thiamine Legumes, whole grain, nuts. Beri-beri.
B2 Riboflavin Egg, milk, cheese, nuts, bread products. Inflammation of tongue, sores in the corners of the mouth.
B3 Niacin or Nicotinic acid Meat, fish, pea nuts, whole grain. Skin disease, diarrhoea, depression, dementia.
B5 Pantothenic acid Eggs, liver, dairy products. Fatigue, muscle cramp.

Pellagra

B6 Pyridoxine Organ meats, cereals, corn. Anaemia, kidney stones, nausea, depression.
B12 Cyanocobalamin Meat, fish. pale skin, constipation, fatigue.
C Ascorbic acid Oranges, tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes. Scurvy, anaemia, ability to fight infections decreases.
D Calciferol Direct sunlight, fish oils, eggs. Rickets, osteomalacia.
E Tocopherol Vegetable oils, olives, tomatoes, almonds, meat, eggs. Neurological problems, problems of reproductive system.

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