Vitamins are a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism, found in minute amounts in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced synthetically.
The human body needs about 13 vitamins which are A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins (1, 2, 3, 5,6,7,9 and 12).
Vitamins started with the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians discovered that night blindness could be cured by eating liver. Liver contains a high amount of Vitamin A, so some people with a Vitamin A deficiency suffered from night blindness. During the Renaissance, many shipmates fell ill due to a vitamin deficiency from not having enough fruits and vegetables to last through the voyage
Vitamins have many functions and influence the health of nearly every organ in the body. Their combination with other substances such as minerals, proteins and enzymes brings about certain chemical reactions which is necessary for the body.
Scientists have discovered that there are 2 kinds of vitamins. These have been called water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. The difference is that the water-soluble vitamins break down in water to release the vitamin molecules and the fat-soluble vitamins break down in the fatty tissues and release the vitamin molecules.
Vitamin A: “Retinol” is a fat soluble vitamin found in liver, carrot, broccoli and sweet potato , its deficiency causes night blindness and keratomalacia but its over intake causes hypervitaminosis A.
Vitamin B1: “Thiamine” is a water soluble vitamin found in yeast, pork and cereal grains, its deficiency causes Beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome but its over intake causes drowsiness or muscle relaxation with large doses.
Vitamin B2: “Riboflavin” is a water soluble vitamin found in yeast, liver, kidney and meat, its deficiency causes Ariboflavinosis
Vitamin B3: “Niacin” is a water soluble vitamin found liver, meat, chicken, beef, fish, cereal, peanuts and legumes , its deficiency causes pellagra but its over intake causes liver damage.
Vitamin B5: “Pantothenic acid” is a water soluble vitamin found in rice, wheat brans, alfalfa, peanut meal, molasses, yeasts, and condensed fish solutions, its deficiency causes paresthesia but its over intake causes diarrhea.
Vitamin B6: “Pyridoxine” is a water soluble vitamin found in meats, whole grain products, vegetables, nuts and bananas, its deficiency causes anemia and peripheral neuropathy but its over intake causes nerve damage and impairment of proprioception.
Vitamin B7: “Biotin” is a water soluble vitamin found in egg yolk, liver, and some vegetables, its deficiency causes dermatitis and enteritis.
Vitamin B9: “Folic acid” is a water soluble vitamin found in Leafy vegetables, legumes, liver , yeast and sunflower seeds , its deficiency causes deficiency during pregnancy is associated with birth defects, such as neural tube defects.
Vitamin B12: “Cyanocobalamin” is a water soluble vitamin found in fish, meat liver, poultry, eggs and milk, and milk, its deficiency causes megaloblastic anemia.
Vitamin C: “Ascorbic Acid” is a water soluble vitamin found in fruits and vegetables, its deficiency causes scurvy but its over intake causes vitamin C megadosage.
Vitamin D: “cholecalciferol” is a fat soluble vitamin found in Fatty fish, fish liver oil, liver, eggs and mushroom , Its deficiency causes rickets and osteomalacia but its over intake causes hypervitaminosis D.
Vitamin E: “Tocopherols” is a fat soluble vitamin found in fortified cereals, seeds, nuts and vegetables.
Vitamin K: “phylloquinone” is a fat soluble vitamin found in leafy green vegetables and fruits , Its deficiency causes Bleeding diathesis but its over intake causes Increases coagulation in patients taking warfarin.