Word coined by polish chemist casimir funk in 1911. He extracted a crystalline substance from rice calling it "Vita-amini" meaning – vital to life (‘Amine’) or Nitrogen.Present in minute quantities compared to proteins carbs and fats and fibre.
Mithin Vitamin themselves qty vary i.e. Daily uptake – Vitamin C - 30 mg but Vit B12-3 meg body processes have evolved over millions of years and adapted to these micro nutrients.
Why are Vitamins essential to health?
Every second of everyday our body’s processes are dependent on chemical reactions.
These process are adequately accelerated by catalysts called Enzymes
Enzymes also digests food for absorption and helps convert food into energy.
Enzymes are essential for interconversions and transformations of body substances during normal metabolism.
Enzymes functions effectively in presence of substances (co-factors onco-enzymes) which are mostly vitamins.
Vitamin deficiency leads to enzyme dysfunction which leads to slowing body functions and ultimately death.
What are the factors influencing Vitamin utilization?
Example – Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic Acid) is bound as an insoluble complex in cereal, hence it won’t be absorbed unless treated with Alkali. Likewise fat soluble vitamins won't be absorbed if digestion of fat is impaired.
Lower gut bacteria synthesize vitamin from ingested food.-Vit. K, B3, Riboflavin, B12, Folic Acid, Biotin.
Substances not vitamins but converted to Vitamins by the body. Eg. Provitamin Carotene Vitamin A, ryptophan (Amino Acid), Vitamin B3, Skin plus Light interaction with Fat leads to Vitamin D
Increase in starchy food increases demand for Vitamin B12. Diet rich in PUFA (Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids like in Oil, Maragarive, Butter etc.) will increase uptake of Vitamin E and hence lead to deficiency in Vitamin E which would require sufficiency from daily intake.