A vitamin is an organic molecule whose insufficiency in the diet can result in disease. This concept has led to the misinterpretation by some, that a vitamin must only be derived from the diet. Vitamins are “micronutrients”, required in amounts less than one gram daily – usually less than one milligram. Some vitamins can be synthesized by the organism: vitamin A can be produced from beta carotene, niacin from the amino acid, tryptophan; and vitamin D through exposure of skin to ultraviolet light. To ensure adequacy, vitamins should be obtained through the diet. The term, vitamin, does not encompass other essential nutrients such as dietary minerals, essential fatty acids or essential amino acids, nor is it used for the large number of other nutrients that are merely health-furthering, but not strictly essential. For humans, we recognize 13 different vitamins.
The word vitamin was coined by the Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk in 1912. Vita in Latin is life and the -amin suffix is short for amine; at the time it was thought that all vitamins were amines. Though this is now known to be incorrect, the name has stuck.
List of Vitamins:
Vitamin A = retinol, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid
Vitamin B1 = thiamin
Vitamin B2 = riboflavin
Vitamin B6 = pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine
Vitamin B12 = cobalamin
Vitamin C = ascorbic acid
Vitamin D = calciferol
Vitamin E = tocopherol, tocotrienol
Vitamin K = phylloquinone
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