Machlin, Lawrence J. Department of Vitamins and Clinical Nutrition, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc., Nutley, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Fat-soluble vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Water-soluble vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B12
- Pantothenic acid
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An organic compound required in very small amounts for the normal functioning of the body and obtained mainly from foods. Vitamins (Table 1) are present in food in minute quantities compared to the other utilizable components of the diet, namely, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals. Vitamins do not furnish energy, but they are essential for energy transformation and regulation of metabolism. The discovery of vitamins has been the result of primarily two lines of investigation: (1) the study of nutritional disease in humans and (2) the feeding of purified diets of known composition to experimental animals. In this way, vitamin deficiency diseases, known as avitaminoses, have been described. However, with the advent of vitamin fortification of flour, cereals, and other foods, specific vitamin deficiency diseases, including scurvy, rickets, pellagra, and beriberi, have become rare in most industrialized countries. Still, marginal deficiencies of many of the vitamins, which are difficult to detect and largely ignored, are relatively common, and there is increasing evidence that vitamin status is related to the risk of developing chronic disease. See also: Disease; Energy metabolism; Food; Food science; Malnutrition; Metabolism; Nutrition
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