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What are vitamins?

Vitamins are organic compounds which are needed in small quantities to maintain life. We get vitamins from food, because the human body either does not produce enough or none at all. An organic compound contains carbon. When an organism cannot produce enough of an organic chemical compound that it needs in tiny amounts, and has to get it from food, it is called a vitamin. Organic substances are those that contain carbon and come from living things, such as plant and animals.

It is impossible to sustain life without all the essential vitamins. A deficiency of a particular vitamin causes disease symptoms which can only be cured by that vitamin.

Following are the list of recognized vitamins:

• Biotin

• Carotenes

• Folic Acid

• Vitamin A

• Vitamin B Complex

• Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

• Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

• Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

• Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

• Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

• Vitamin C

• Vitamin D

• Vitamin E

• Vitamin K

Vitamins are divided into two categories:

Fat Soluble:

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble. They require an adequate supply of minerals and fats to be absorbed in the digestive system are stored in the liver.

Water Soluble:

The remaining vitamins are water soluble with any excess being excreted in the urine.

Why do we need vitamins?

Vitamins are natural substances that help our body growing and healing. Vitamins are an integral component of a balanced diet in the form of food or through supplements. Vitamins carry out the normal function of our body. They have specific role to play in the natural wear and tear of the body. Combination of vitamins with other substances like minerals, proteins, and enzymes brings about certain chemical reactions. Vitamins also play a role in metabolism, growth, the ability to produce healthy offspring and the maintenance of health. Vitamins are important for a normal appetite, in digestion, mental alertness and resistance to bacterial infections.

In addition to satisfy the body’s needs and preventing deficiency diseases, vitamins have several therapeutic effects.

Niacin can be used to lower cholesterol level, vitamin A derivatives can be used to treat acne.

Large doses of vitamins may slow, or even reverse many diseases such as aging, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, impaired immunity, nerve degeneration and chronic health problems. Vitamins are not alternate for food. They cannot be assimilated without taking food.