– What are vitamins?

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What are vitamins, really? I mean molecularly, physically, how do they differ, who discovered they exist and how, etc.

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5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

In a nutshell, vitamins are just things that your body needs, that it can’t produce on its own, its only source is the food you eat.

Not eating foods with those vitamins can cause many health problems. The classic example is sailors who got scurvy because they didn’t have any foods with vitamin C for months at a time.

Most people who aren’t pregnant, who get a little bit of sunlight, eat a balanced diet and don’t have any health conditions don’t need to take any vitamin supplements. Getting “extra” vitamins when you weren’t previously deficient doesn’t provide any benefit.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Vitamins are organic molecules(large, complex molecules made primarily up of hydrogen and carbon, along with other elements frequently being included such as oxygen and nitrogen, as well as rarer elements. Vitamin B12 for instance has the element cobalt in it), that the human body needs in small quantities to properly function but cannot produce from basic elements or inorganic compounds, so you need to consume them from other sources, like food. I say human because what molecules a body can produce varies between animals. Not many other animals need Vitamin C for instance, but humans can’t make it themselves.

Molecular Structure and physical and chemical properties, as well as their function, widely vary between vitamins. Vitamin C for instance is a fairly simple molecule and is important to immune system function, while Vitamin B12 is super complex and large and is critical to maintaining your nervous system and your blood cells.

As for who discovered them, that differs for each of these compounds at different times in history, so you will have to look those up, but people have known for a long time in some capacity as common knowledge not eating certain foods would caused illnesses with certain symptoms, which were deficiencies. For example before the ability to fortify plant foods with B12 and to synthesize B12 in a lab, not eating enough meat or dairy would eventually lead to problems with the nerves, loss of bowel control, anemia, and eventually death. Meanwhile a lack of Vitamin C, which is very high in most fruits but low in most vegetable and animal foods, can lead to a weakened immune system, or scurvy in severe cases.

Vitamin pills/capsules contain large amounts of these vitamins to supplement a diet that is lacking in them.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Remember that we are the ones that named then vitamins, naively so, they aren’t all the same or related to each other just because they have a similar name. We just tried to label the things we need for survival because our body cannot produce it. So you’re asking for comparison of apples and oranges.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Vitamins are organic molecules that we need in our diet in small/trace amounts that assist with various bodily functions. Other than that, there is not much in common between the vitamins. Dietary minerals are kind of like vitamins except they aren’t organic molecules, but elements/ions like calcium, potassium, magnesium. There are also a few things that pretty much fit the definition of a vitamin, but for some reason aren’t considered one, like choline.

The rest of the things we need in our diet, we need in much larger amounts – water, carbs, protein, and fats. These are collectively called macronutrients or macros for short.

Anonymous 0 Comments

‘Vitamin’ comes from a prefix meaning “life, alive” and a shortening of “amine”, because they were originally thought to include amino acids.

They’re organic substances that we need in small quantities for our life processes to function properly. We can’t make them so we must get them from our diets — if a given species can make a particular substance, it’s not considered a vitamin for that species. Many animals can make their own vitamin C, but humans can’t, so we consider it a vitamin.

Mere minerals don’t count as vitamins, although some vitamins contain very small amounts of special minerals. Vitamin B12, for example, is a complex molecule that contains a single atom of cobalt, a metal which is under most conditions mildly poisonous for humans.