By the term vitamin (which comes from the Latin vita «life» and amine «amina», properly «amine of life; amine vital») we mean a heterogeneous group of organic substances belonging to bioregulators, indispensable and irreplaceable for life, that man and most of the animals take with food as such or in the form of precursors (provitamins) which are then activated by internal enzymatic factors or external factors (eg, ultraviolet radiation of provitamin D).
The vitamin C was coined by the biochemist K. Funk in 1912 to indicate an amino compound present in the outer layer of the rice caryopsis and having the property of treating beriberi.
Later it was extended to other substances not classifiable as plastic or energy foods but indispensable, albeit in minimal quantities, for life, not always containing amino groups.
Vitamins are organic compounds present only in living beings that are essential nutrients for maintaining both the physiological and neuropsychological health of the organism, as well as useful nutritional factors for the prevention of many possible psycho-physical problems and disorders.
Over time, different types of Vitamins were then isolated, the lack of which occasionally led to specific psychological and physical problems and problems, treatable with the help of a certain Vitamin rather than another.
From the biochemical point of view, Vitamins are catalysts that allow many of the fundamental biological processes and chemical reactions of the organism, resulting in the precursors of numerous substances essential for the proper functioning and general well-being of the individual and / or mediators, along with other molecules , of further crucial organic compounds.
For this reason, each Vitamin presides over and regulates specific metabolism reactions, mediating other substances, or often acting directly in the organic processes as a coenzyme.
It should be noted that Vitamins do not have direct energy functions, but regulate many chemical reactions necessary for the production of energy. They also preside over the physiological dynamics at the base of many other mechanisms fundamental to the life of the organism, often as coenzymes, or in aid of enzymatic action (for example and in particular allow the synthesis and therefore the use of the introduced nutritive principles). Another important function of Vitamins is that of antioxidants, on the basis of which they are able to protect the various components of the body from free radicals, oxidative agents responsible for aging and diseases.
The presence of vitamins is especially important in psycho-physical development, in hormonal regulation and in neuropsychic functioning, as well as in its maintenance in health.
From a strictly chemical point of view, Vitamins are divided into two main groups: water-soluble and liposoluble.
Specifically, the water-soluble ones are the B vitamins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin P (or Bioflavoinoids).
These vitamins are soluble in a watery environment and regulate cell metabolism through enzymatic activities, in which they play an active action and have mainly a coenzyme function.
These vitamins do not provide energy and do not constitute the body’s physiological structures.
Other important aspect is that the water-soluble vitamins cannot be accumulated and therefore it is necessary to introduce them daily through the feeding.
The fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
These are absorbed with food fats and can subsequently be accumulated in the liver or in adipose tissues as a reserve. In this way, their lack is more difficult than the water-soluble Vitamins and in order to meet their deficiency it takes quite long times for continued non-employment.
Warning: The information given is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.