Vitamins are essential for our body, condition development, growth, and health. For the most part, these are exogenous compounds that we must provide with food. Deficiencies called avitaminosis to cause a variety of diseases resulting from disorders of the processes in the body. Where will we find them? What exactly will they save us from? Do we supply the right amount with a diet?
Division of vitamins
Vitamins have been divided according to the physical properties to which solubility belongs. Therefore, we stand out
– water-soluble vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin), C (ascorbic acid), biotin, folic acid;
– fat-soluble vitamins A (retinol and derivatives), D (cholecalciferol), E (tocopherol), K (phylloquinone).
The human body can store fat-soluble vitamins mainly in the liver. If the supply is too high, hypervitaminosis with toxic effects on the body may occur. The situation is different in the case of water-soluble vitamins. Excess is excreted in the urine, which is why it is important to ensure their optimal supply with food every day.
Vitamins can also be ordered due to construction. All B vitamins have a nitrogen molecule, therefore they are included in nitrogen compounds, while the other vitamins are classified as nitrogen-free.
The concept of the vitamin was introduced by the Pole Kazimierz Funkek in 1911. The name comes from the combination of two words – vita (life) and amine (a compound of a basic nature). The Polish scientist discovered and named vitamin B1, valuable in the fight against beriberi disease (resulting from disorders of carbohydrate degradation, affecting damage to nervous and muscular tissue). The name itself indicates how important vitamins and vitamins are to live.
The group of fat-soluble vitamins is hydrophobic and polar molecules. Their structure and properties affect the functions performed in the body, the main one is participation in the regulation of calcium-phosphorus and the blood coagulation process. We also know that they are necessary for the process of seeing and creating epithelial tissue.
In contrast, water-soluble vitamins are coenzymes or co-factors of various in-vitro processes. They participate in the metabolism of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals.
Sources of vitamins
Vitamins can be found in both plant and animal products. Sea fish are rich in vitamins A and D, and walnuts and vegetable oils are a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin K can be found, among others, in green leafy vegetables and egg yolk. Whole grains, liver, and yeast are characterized by the richness of vitamins from group B. Vitamin C with antioxidant activity can be found in citrus, red paprika and wild rose. Demand for vitamins
The body’s demand for vitamins is very diverse. They are determined based on physiological status, age, sex, and physical activity. As mentioned before, vitamins are substances that we have to provide from the outside. However, under specific physiological conditions, the human body can synthesize several of them from provitamins. These include vitamin A synthesized from carotenoids, vitamin D3 from 7-dehydrocholesterol, vitamin PP as a tryptophan derivative. The bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract can synthesize some B vitamins and vitamin K.
Although vitamins do not provide energy for our body and are not building material, they are necessary for proper functioning. A monotonous diet, stress and excessive physical activity can lead to the weakening of the body due to the lack of adequate amounts of vitamins. We should include as many foods rich in particular vitamins as possible in our diet. It will allow us to enjoy health and vitality for many years.