These are organic chemical compounds that are essential for a healthy body.
Some are synthesized in the body through the action of some microorganisms while some are also obtained in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vitamins are destroyed when foods are excessively cooked. They are required in small quantities.
They play vital roles in metabolic reactions. Some act as co-enzymes while some influence the intake of certain substances. In particular, vitamin C influences uptake of iron while vitamin D influences absorption of calcium ions in the gut.
Lack of vitamins in the body results into abnormities that manifest through various deficiency diseases. These deficiency diseases can be corrected by inclusion of the deficient vitamins in the diet or taking the vitamin supplements.
There are two classes of vitamins owing to their solubility:
a) Fat soluble vitamins- They dissolve in fats and are often stored in the liver. Include Vitamins A, D, E, K.
b) Water soluble vitamins- Dissolve in water. Include vitamins B1, B2, B5, B12 and C.