Vitamins contain fundamental nutrients that organisms need for development and general health. When an organic chemical cannot be naturally produced within an organism, it is referred to as a Vitamin and therefore needs to be obtained through the consumption of food. While the amounts needed of specific vitamins vary, the broad spectrums of vitamins are nonetheless vital in a healthy and balanced diet. Characteristics of Vitamins
Vitamins do not pertain to other nutrients that are needed in larger quantities like dietary minerals, crucial fatty acids, or crucial amino acids. Unlike these three essential dietary nutrients, Vitamins are needed less frequently for survival. There are currently thirteen vitamins that are collectively recognized, which are thus identified by their chemical and biological activity. The word vitamin pertains to the amount of vitamer combinations that contain similar biological activity related to a specific vitamin. Health Effects
At the moment of conception, the human body requires essential vitamins to promote healthy growth. The development of a fetus is directly linked to the nutrients that it absorbs and this continues until the growth and developmental stage is complete. Afterwards, vitamins play a roll in maintaining the health of the body’s primary functions like cells, tissues, and organs. Vitamins also aid in the body’s ability to process food into energy. Vitamin Deficiencies
If a human does not consume vitamins regularly, they may develop what is known as a deficiency. Since the body stores each vitamin in a different way, a human may not become aware of a vitamin deficiency for some time. Vitamin deficiencies are ordered as either primary or secondary. Primary deficiencies arise if an organism is not absorbing enough vitamins through their diet. Secondary deficiencies may be the result from outside influences that interfere with the body’s absorption or use of the vitamin.
Revised August 30th, 2015
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