A vitamin is an organic compound present in small quantities in the body but essential for body processes. Some are manufactured by us while we obtain others from the food we eat
Some vitamins are stored in some parts of the body such as the liver, lungs, kidneys, and adipose tissue.
In terms of solubility in water, there are two groups of vitamins:- Fat-soluble vitamins and Water-soluble vitamins.
The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.; they do not dissolve in water and are more available in fatty foods.
The water soluble vitamins dissolve in water and include B and C.; there are about 8 vitamins under Vitamin B.
Vitamins are necessary for the growth and development of man, and in adulthood, for the maintenance of the body.
Lack of vitamins manifests itself in bone deformities, poor vision, skin changes, reduced resistance to diseases, and accelerated aging among others.
In terms of being vitamins, there are six main groups of vitamins (A, B, C, D, E and K) with each group having many vitamins
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin; it does not dissolve in water. Vitamin A is necessary for proper development of the eyes, prevents dryness of the eyes and also ensures night vision, it prevents night blindness. In fact low Vitamin A level in the body can destroy the eyes. Vitamin A has anti- macular degeneration properties and reduces the risk of premature cataract.
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is a water soluble vitamin; that means it dissolves in water. As said above, there are about 8 vitamins under Vitamin B as they all occur together in the same foods though chemically different. The 8 vitamins under Vitamin B are:
– Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
– Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
– Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic acid)
– Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
– Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
– Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
– Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
– Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Vitamin B is necessary for proper cell metabolism, for enzyme production and so forth. Deficiency of Vitamin B could result in several conditions such as skin rash, beriberi, anaemia, angular stomatitis, cracked lips etc.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin; being able to dissolve in water. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron which is necessary for you to manufacture blood. It is also important in the formation of several other agents. When Vitamin C is low in the body, you could bleed from the gums and other parts of the body and feel a lot of pain also in the gum. Eating enough pineapples therefore helps to promote healthy gums.
Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant which by fighting free radicals in the body helps to cell integrity in the body; Vitamin C therefore decelerates aging.
4. Vitamin D
This is also a group of fat soluble vitamins which are in the main generated from cholesterol by our skin when exposed to sunlight. There are two main types of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and zinc by the intestines. Deficiency of Vitamin D results in rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin; it does not dissolve in water. Like other vitamins many substances fall under this group. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant; it prevents the formation of free radicals in the body and also fights them directly. Free radicals damage body cells and accelerate aging.
Vitamin E is also involved the regulation of the activity of some enzymes in the body which affects muscle function.
Deficiency MAY reduce immunity, accelerate aging and damage to the back of the eye but the emphatic word here is MAY.
6. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin; it does not dissolve in water. It is actually a group of vitamins: Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2, Vitamin K3, Vitamin K4 and Vitamin K5. The first two appear naturally in plants.
Vitamin K is best known for the production of blood clotting protein in the body.
Deficiency of Vitamin K shows itself by excessive bleeding problems such as bleeding gums, bruises, anaemia and heavy menstrual flows.
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