What are vitamins ?
We all know that vitamins are important, but do we even know how many vitamins exist and what are vitamins?
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in very small amounts for supporting normal physiologic function.
We need vitamins in our diets, because our bodies can’t synthesize them quickly enough to meet our daily needs.
Vitamins have three characteristics:
- They’re natural components of foods; usually present in very small amounts.
- They’re essential for normal physiologic function (e.g., growth, reproduction, etc).
- When absent from the diet, they will cause a specific deficiency.
Vitamins are generally categorized as either fat soluble or water soluble depending on whether they dissolve best in either lipids or water.
- Water soluble vitamins:
Water-soluble vitamins travel freely through the body, and excess amounts usually are excreted by the kidneys. The body needs water-soluble vitamins in frequent, small doses. These vitamins are not as likely as fat-soluble vitamins to reach toxic levels. But niacin, vitamin B6, folate, choline, and vitamin C have upper consumption limits.
9 water-soluble vitamins
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
- Vitamin H (Biotin)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
- Fat- soluble vitamins:
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s cells and are not excreted as easily as water-soluble vitamins. They do not need to be consumed as often as water-soluble vitamins, although adequate amounts are needed. If you take too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, it could become toxic.
4 fat soluble vitamins
- Vitamin A (Retinoids)
- Vitamin D (Calciferol, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D)
- Vitamin E (tocopherol)
- Vitamin K
Now we know in what vitamins are and how many of them exist. For further information about vitamins please continue to read our posts as we shall give detailed information about each vitamin.