Vitamins in plants
Asensi-Fabado, María Amparo Departament de Biologia Vegeta, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
- Water-soluble vitamins
- Lipid-soluble vitamins
- Links to Primary Literature
Vitamins are organic molecules that are essential for metabolism in both animals and plants. Although plants are able to synthesize their own vitamins, animals do not form or insufficiently form these micronutrients, which therefore must be ingested in the diet. Vitamin deficiencies lead to diseases that, in some cases, can be severe and eventually cause death. Table 1 lists a number of human disorders caused by vitamin deficiencies. Although vitamin deficiencies (such as vitamin A deficiency) are normally associated with restricted food availability in low-income countries, there is a surprisingly inadequate intake of vitamins (in particular, vitamins B9 and C) among industrialized countries because of unbalanced diets. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of many of the vitamins in the human diet. Besides having a high concentration of vitamins, these foods can be ingested in a fresh state, thus preserving their vitamin levels; this is in contrast to foods of animal origin, which undergo cooking or thermal treatments that destroy thermolabile vitamins to a variable extent.
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