What is Vitamins: Definition and 26 Discussions

A vitamin is an organic molecule (or a set of molecules closely related chemically, i.e. vitamers) that is an essential micronutrient which 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 sufficient 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, there are eight vitamers of vitamin E: four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Some sources list fourteen vitamins, by including choline, but major health organizations list thirteen: vitamin A (as all-trans-retinol, all-trans-retinyl-esters, as well as all-trans-beta-carotene and other provitamin A 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 (phylloquinone and menaquinones).Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions. Vitamin A acts as a regulator of cell and tissue growth and differentiation. Vitamin D provides a hormone-like function, regulating mineral metabolism for bones and other organs. The B complex vitamins function as enzyme cofactors (coenzymes) or the precursors for them. Vitamins C and E function as antioxidants. Both deficient and excess intake of a vitamin can potentially cause clinically significant illness, although excess intake of water-soluble vitamins is less likely to do so.
Before 1935, the only source of vitamins was from food. If intake of vitamins was lacking, the result was vitamin deficiency and consequent deficiency diseases. Then, commercially produced tablets of yeast-extract vitamin B complex and semi-synthetic vitamin C became available. This was followed in the 1950s by the mass production and marketing of vitamin supplements, including multivitamins, to prevent vitamin deficiencies in the general population. Governments mandated addition of vitamins to staple foods such as flour or milk, referred to as food fortification, to prevent deficiencies. Recommendations for folic acid supplementation during pregnancy reduced risk of infant neural tube defects.The term vitamin is derived from the word vitamine, which was 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.

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  1. M

    Do supplements and adaptogens truly work?

    I'm very skeptical of supplements and other products that supposedly boost testosterone and brain health. They are always on TV, and I wonder if they are just snake oil OR if there are any ones that actually do benefit the body. My mother takes Magnesium Glycinate every night to keep her...
  2. jim mcnamara

    COVID Vitamin D levels and Covid-19

    https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2020/12/21/Experts-send-Vitamin-D-and-Covid-19-open-letter-to-world-s-governments [tl;dr[] : Change suggestions of Vitamin D supplementation in the UK - higher - the health officialdom just came down hard against Vitamin D supplementation increases of...
  3. Wrichik Basu

    Query about Vitamin ##K_1## and ##K_2##

    I have a project at hand, the topic being vitamins and hormones. While reading about Vitamin K on pubchem, I found that ##K_1## is the compound phytonadione, while my biology book mentions it to be phylloquinone. Similarly, ##K_2## is the compound menaquinone-2 as per pubchem, the the book says...
  4. Hepth

    Vitamins, your opinions please

    I know a lot of people that take vitamins, and I myself have been thinking about it. I know I need more Iron, as for the past year I have REALLY cut back on my red meat, and although I eat a lot of dark green vegetables I don't think its enough. I eventually start to get more and more tired...
  5. Astronuc

    Dietary Supplement and Liver (Organ) Damage

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/us/spike-in-harm-to-liver-is-tied-to-dietary-aids.html I'm aware that excessive vitamins can cause liver damage. Too much Vitamin D can be harmful to the liver.
  6. Greg Bernhardt

    Multivitamins a waste of money?

    Are multivitamins a waste of money? Editorial in medical journal says yes http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/16/health/multivitamins-studies/index.html I've taken vitamins and supplements during some periods and I admit, I can't tell the difference.
  7. Borek

    Anti vaccine magazine (or how stupid people can get)

    Typically I don't post the same in more than one place, I will do it this time: http://www.pharmafile.com/news/181169/calls-end-uk-anti-vaccine-magazine Each time I hear about such things I think of the post mortem photography industry that existed at the end of 19th century...
  8. M

    Coeliac disease, vitamin absorption

    does anyone know anything about coeliac disease and malabsorption syndrome/disease? it can really affect life. I've been seeing specialist doctors including GI specialists for years, one cure for coeliac is a no wheat/gluten diet
  9. Integral

    Linus Pauling's Controversial Legacy: Examining Mega Doses of Vitamins

    I have never thought of Linus Pauling as a quack but this article seems to indicate otherwise. I find the last paragraph rather misleading. If fails to mention that he was 93yrs old.
  10. Greg Bernhardt

    Can Nutrie Skinne Help with Weight Loss for Those with Thyroid Issues?

    I have a friend who told me they are interested in this new weight loss product. I am always highly skeptical of such products, but the friend said she knows someone who lost 6lbs in two weeks without changing anything else. Anything in here that looks promising or is this more fools...
  11. M

    Living on lightweight meals (Disaster?)

    I have an idea...well, more of a nebulous question that could use some 'push' towards a solution; If one were trying to find a package that a) would allow humans to survive disaster (extended power failure, earthquake, etc) where no help was available and b) had to be condensed as much as...
  12. Q_Goest

    Is it safe to trust supplement recommendations from non-professionals?

    An interesting article in the Feb. 2013 Scientific American reports that antioxidants used to eliminate free radicals in the body are not only ineffective at promoting health, they are likely to be detrimental! Antioxidants in the form of refined vitamin pills for example, are the focus of the...
  13. Astronuc

    Medical Vitamin B-12 and folic acid deficiencies

    According to a program I heard yesterday, roughly 16% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin B12. There was also a related concern about deficiencies of folic acid, B6. The two are somehow related. Ref: The Health Show #1263 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folic_acid#B12_deficiency Vitamin...
  14. K

    Medical Countering Finasteride side effects with estrogen

    Introductory Story (feel free to ignore): In the summer of 2011 I realized my hairline was receding to unmanageable levels even though I had just turned 20. I searched for drug treatments and finasteride came up as clearly the best choice - almost every study showed it was significantly...
  15. Pengwuino

    Medical Nutrition label stuffs and diets

    I HAS QUESTION! :D I've always heard that when you're an athlete or someone who does a lot of exercising, it's important to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates. I hear that it's because the body is capable of converting carbohydrates into useable energy quicker than it can fat (is this...
  16. bohm2

    Medical Vitamin Supplements Associated With Increased Risk for Death

    October 10, 2011 — The current study sought to evaluate the link between supplement use and total mortality rate, using data from the Iowa Women's Health Study...Vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and zinc were associated with about a 3% to 6% increased risk for death, whereas copper was...
  17. M

    Chemistry: Determining Solubility of Vitamins

    Homework Statement "Vitamins are important chemicals for survival. Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C are three common vitamins. Simplified representations of their structures are given. * See relevant equations. Based on the functional groups that you can identify, which vitamins...
  18. N

    Medical Is Supplementing with Multi-Vitamins Necessary for Optimal Health?

    I'm worried I'm not taking in enough vitamins and minerals in my body. My daily diet usually consists of white bread, eggs, cheese, chicken or meat, often macaroni or rice, milk, potatoes, and oatmeal. I only consume some vegetables and fruits here and there (and not much either). Does taking...
  19. N

    Stearic acid / magnesium stearate in vitamins? Is it safe to consume?

    Does stearic acid do bad things for the human body? Apparently stearic acid is in most vitamins if you take vitamins, it says it in the ingredient list, most people until now it seems did not even know that it is bad for you, but no other article anywhere else on the web says this except for one...
  20. S

    Medical B vitamins slow brain shrinkage in the elderly

    Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may be slowed with B vitamin supplements according to a recent UK study. Other studies have shown that elevated blood homocysteine levels are associated with MCI and more severe cognitive dysfunction including Alzheimer's disease. B12, B6 and folic acid are known...
  21. L

    How dose the body digest different nutrients such as vitamins

    How dose the body digest different nutrients such as vitamins and minerals in ways of when it goes into each organ what happens? This is what I have so far: Vitamins are adsorbed through small intestine. There are two types of vitamins such as on is water soluble such as vitamins B and C...
  22. K

    Testing which vitamins work best?

    My girlfriend and I were talking, and she said that a way to tell if a vitamin is absorbed or not, is to mix a few different chemicals (can't remember what), and to see how the vitamin dissolves in this mixture. She said that it's because this mixture will have the same acidity as your stomach...
  23. P

    Since vitamins are water soluble

    would my body absorb a larger percent of the vitamins in a vitamin supplement if i drank more water?
  24. M

    Do vitamins, calcium and vitamin c suppliments really work?

    Do vitamins, calcium and vitamin c suppliments really work?
  25. E

    Doctor Gave Me Unexpected Advice: Do Not Consume Too Many Vitamins

    I came to see my doctor for some physical problems, I got an std, and he advise me not to consume so many vitamins because they are harmul if used extra. I right then asked him why but he seemed not like to answer directly my question. I come here to ask gurus. Do you know why ? Thanks
  26. T

    Vitamins B, C, E: Benefits & Uses for Brain & Skin Health

    1) Why do people say taking too much vitamins is not good ? 2) Can you tell me why vitamin B.s usually works best for human brain/nerves ? 3) Can you tell me about vitamin E's mechanism as to when it is used to help people from skin cancer ? Thanks a lot Regards, PS: I have tried to read...