vitamins are essential, organic compounds with control functions in the metabolism of humans. The term derives from the Latin 'vita' (= life) and the English. 'amine' (= nitrogenous) from. However, vitamins have now been detected without nitrogen atoms, so that the term technically no longer corresponds to its original name.
To date, thirteen essential vitamins are known to man. Only two of them can be produced by the body itself: Vitamin B3 and Vitamin D. All other vitamins have to be taken externally via the food. Some vitamins can store the body for a long time, others require a regular intake. A healthy, balanced and varied diet provides the body with all the important vitamins.
All important body functions depend directly or indirectly on the presence of vitamins. Energy metabolism, cell growth or hematopoiesis need vitamins as coenzymes. If the vitamins are missing, the processes are only disturbed or stopped.
A deficiency of one or more vitamins leads to it deficiency, The most well-known example is the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy. Originally also referred to as a maritime disease, especially since sailors on long ship trips fell ill. Monthly consumption of dry spicy cocaine and pork meat led to dermatitis, fever and muscle loss. Vitamin C serves u.a. as a crucial coenzyme for the formation of connective tissue (collagen) and leads to weeks of absence of the above symptoms. Vitamin-containing fruits were not suitable as ship provisions because of their rapid perishability. Only when it became known that a corresponding deficiency was the cause of the symptoms on the high seas, vitamin C-rich sauerkraut and lemon juice supplemented the diet of the sailors.
Table: Overview Vitamins
The following table lists the thirteen vitamins that have an essential function for humans. All information is only a small, non-exhaustive, selection. In fact, all the vitamins are involved in many more processes.
|vitamin||Function in the body||possible source|
|cell growth||Fish, milk|
|Renewal and preservation of nerve cells||Soybeans, yeast, meat|
|Necessary for the metabolism||Vegetables, fish, eggs, milk|
|Respiratory chain, metabolism||Poultry, fish, liver, legumes|
|Energy metabolism (coenzyme A)||Meat, vegetables, nuts|
|Necessary for the formation of amino acids||Fish, wheat germ, fruit|
|Energy metabolism, protein biosynthesis||Liver, spinach, yeast, fish, milk|
|cell division||Yeast, liver, nuts, vegetables, egg yolk|
|Blood formation, cell division||Meat, liver, fish|
|Antioxidant, co-enzyme of importance for collagen, neurotransmitters and hormones||Fruit, vegetables|
|immune system||Sunlight, fish, cod liver oil|
|Antioxidant, protein biosynthesis||vegetable oils, nuts, milk|
|blood clotting||Liver, spinach, dairy products|