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.

vitaminFunction in the bodypossible source
Vitamin A
cell growthFish, milk
Vitamin B1
Renewal and preservation of nerve cellsSoybeans, yeast, meat
Vitamin B2
Necessary for the metabolismVegetables, fish, eggs, milk
Vitamin B3
Respiratory chain, metabolismPoultry, fish, liver, legumes
Vitamin B5
Energy metabolism (coenzyme A)Meat, vegetables, nuts
Vitamin B6
Necessary for the formation of amino acidsFish, wheat germ, fruit
Vitamin B7
Energy metabolism, protein biosynthesisLiver, spinach, yeast, fish, milk
Vitamin B9
cell divisionYeast, liver, nuts, vegetables, egg yolk
Vitamin B12
Blood formation, cell divisionMeat, liver, fish
vitamin C
Antioxidant, co-enzyme of importance for collagen, neurotransmitters and hormonesFruit, vegetables
Vitamin D
immune systemSunlight, fish, cod liver oil
Vitamin E
Antioxidant, protein biosynthesisvegetable oils, nuts, milk
Vitamin K
blood clottingLiver, spinach, dairy products