What are vitamins, their types and meanings

Many know about vitamin compounds, but can not explain what vitamins are, how they affect the body, whether they can be replaced by other substances.

The word "vitamins" from the Latin language is translatedas "substances of life". These compounds belong to low molecular organic substances of different chemical nature and are necessary for the passage of vital biochemical and physiological processes in any living organism.

What are vitamins for the human body? These compounds, which are not synthesized or formed in a scanty quantity, must therefore come from the environment together with food products. In addition, vitamins are substances with high biological activity, so even with their insignificant shortage, the functioning of the whole organism is disrupted, various pathological conditions develop.

To date, we know about 20 substances that are related to vitamins and are divided into two groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

What are the vitamins of a fat-soluble group? These are compounds that refer to isoprenoids. The main representatives are vitamins E, K, A and D.

To the water-soluble all the vitamins of group B, vitamin C and biotin, which conditionally belong to the compounds of group B.

Each of these substances fulfills itsspecific function in the body. In beriberi (conditions characterized by insufficient intake of vitamins into the body), the work of internal organs is disrupted, a number of serious diseases can arise.

Characteristic of some fat-soluble vitamins

Vitamin A (retinol) enters the body withproducts of animal origin (eggs, milk, fish liver), as well as with yellow vegetables and fruits. He is responsible for the formation of rhodopsin in the eyes, so if insufficient amount of it can develop night blindness and xerophthalmia. In addition, retinol increases the resistance of respiratory organs to infections, helps to keep the skin healthy, promotes the growth of bones and teeth. I must say that there is a provitamin form of retinol - carotene.

Vitamin D in large quantities is contained inliver of sea fish, butter, eggs (in the yolk), in fish eggs and yeast. There is an endogenous form of this compound. It is formed in the skin and kidneys when exposed to ultraviolet rays. If this vitamin is deficient, rickets occur, and calcium absorption is impaired, leading to osteoporosis.

Vitamin K is found in spinach, cabbage, tomatoes,berries of mountain ash, it is also synthesized by bacteria of the large intestine. With its lack in childhood, a lethal outcome is often observed. Hypovitaminosis in adults provokes a decrease in prothrombin in the blood and an increase in the duration of blood clotting, which leads to the appearance of hemorrhages and anemia.

Vitamin E (tocopherol) is practically not contained inproducts of animal origin (only in milk, egg yolks and liver). The most valuable source of this vitamin is fresh vegetables, nuts, vegetable oil, spinach and broccoli, whole grains, sunflower seeds. Tocopherol actively protects body cells from free radicals. With its lack, chronic fatigue develops, muscular dystrophy, pigment spots appear, blood cells are destroyed and the reproductive function of the body is disrupted.

I must say that vitamins play a special role ina period of active physical or mental work, during growth or after severe illness. Vitamins are also important for the elderly and for those who eat inadequately.

It is also worth noting that such vitaminsof synthetic origin are compounds that only approximate their structure and functions to natural vitamins. That is why it is wrong to replace vitamins of natural origin that are in food products with their synthetic analogues, since they are less active and are absorbed by the body much worse.

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