Pages: 7 (1626 words) /
Published: Sep 24th, 2013
Vitamins are organic food substances found only in living things, i.e. plants and animals. They are essential for our bodies to function properly, for growth, energy and for our general well-being. With very few exceptions the human body cannot manufacture or synthesize vitamins. They must be supplied in our diet or in man-made dietary supplements. Some people believe that vitamins can replace food, but that is incorrect. In fact, vitamins cannot be assimilated without also ingesting food. That is why it is best to take them with a meal.
They are found in very small quantities in food; certain health specialists recommend taking vitamin supplements to increase the supplies in food, while others insist that a well-balanced diet provides all the vitamins that an ordinary person needs. With such vitamins, there may be a danger of taking too much, but in the case of most vitamins, the greatest harm comes from not receiving enough. Vitamin deficiencies can be the cause of rickets, pellagra, and other diseases that have plagued the poor in the Western world and the third world in the past and in the present.
However, they do not in themselves provide energy, and thus vitamins alone do not qualify as a form of nutrition.Organisms require vitamins only in very small amounts: the total amount of vitamin mass a person needs in one day, for instance, is only about 0.5 g. Yet vitamins are absolutely essential to the maintenance of health and for disease prevention.
Numerous vitamin groups are necessary for the nutritional needs of humans, and though only small amounts of each are required to achieve their purpose, without them life could not be maintained. Some vitamins, including A, D, E, and K, are fat-soluble, meaning that they are found in fattier foods and in body fat. Thus, they can be stored in the body; for this