Bio-molecules Vitamins Preparation and Properties
→ Certain organic compounds are required in small amounts in our diet but their deficiency causes specific diseases. These compounds are called vitamins. First of all. Funk used the term ‘Vitamine’. The term “Vitamine” was derived from the word vital + amine the earlier identified compounds had amino groups. Later work showed that ìost of them did not contain amino group, so the letter ‘e’ was dropped and the term vitamin is used now a days.
→ Vitamins can be defined as : “Organic compounds required in the diet in small amounts to perform specific biological function for normal maintenance of optimum growth and health of the organism.”
→ Most of the vitamins cannot be synthesised in our body but plants can synthesise almost all of them, so they are considered as essential food factors. However, the bacteria of the gut can produce some of the vitamins which are essential for us.
→ All the vitamins are generally available in our diet. Chemically, these are different from other nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins. Although, these are not sources of energy or cell formation but these are important for biological activities. Deficiency of vitamins can cause of many diseases.
Classification of Vitamins :
→ Vitamins are complex molecules. The term vitamin was given earlier as they are identified as conpounds having amino groups. Later work showed that most of them did not contain amino group. Approximately 25 vitamins are known. Vitamins are designated by alphabets A, B, C, D, etc. Some of them are further named as sub-groups e.g. B1, B2, B6, B12. etc. Vitamins are classified into two groups depending upon their soluhility in water or fat.
→ Fat soluble vitamins : Vitamins which are soluble in fats and oils but insoluble in water are kept in this group.
These are vitamins A, D, E and K. They are stored in liver and adipose (fat storing) tissues.
→ Water soluble vitamins : Vitamin B and vitamin C are soluble in water so they are grouped together. Water soluble vitamins must be supplied regularly in diet because they are readily excreted in urine and Cannot be stored (except vitamin B12) in our body.
→ Exception : Vitamin H is neither soluble in water nor in fats.
Functions of Vitamins :
→ Vitamins in very small amount in our body but they are very important because each vitamin performs a specific function. Their deficiency can causes many diseases in the body. The amount of vitamin is not fixed for an individual but for an adult it is required in large amounts.
Following table shows different vitamins, their properties, sources, functions and deficiency disease caused by them: