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Vitamins

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Vitamins i. The term vitamin is defined as an organic compound required in small amounts for the maintenance of normal metabolic functions. ii. A balanced diet should contain vitamins in addition to carbohydrates, proteins, fats, inorganic salts and water. iii. Scurvy disease occurs due to the deficiency of vitamin C. This disease was common among the sailors who remained on diets without fresh fruits or vegetables. British navy introduced the use of lime juice (contain vitamin C) by which the scurvy disease reduced noticeably. iv. Beriberi disease can be controlled by addition of rice husk to the diet. Later, substance present in rice husk which cured beriberi was isolated that has nitrogen in it and thus it has been considered as an amine. The term vitamin was abbreviated from “vital” and “amines”. Now days, the presence of amine group is not necessary for a substance to be called a vitamin. v. Some vitamins are synthesized by the body e.g. tryptophan can form nicotinic acid. Intestinal bacteria can synthesize vitamin K and B12 etc. Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the skin when exposed to the sunlight. The term vitamin is conditional both on the circumstances and the particular organism. A compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism. Ascorbic acid is functions as vitamin C for some organisms but not for others. Vitamins D and K are required in the human diet only in certain circumstances. The term vitamin does n ...
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