Vitamins are essential organic compounds necessary for the normal growth and maintenance of life in both humans and animals. Unlike macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which are needed in larger quantities, vitamins are required in smaller amounts. They are crucial for a variety of bodily functions, including metabolism, immunity, and digestion, and are divided into two categories based on their solubility: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins, comprising the B-vitamin complex and vitamin C, must be regularly consumed as they are not stored in significant quantities in the body. The B-vitamin complex includes eight vitamins that are vital for energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis and repair, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is important for collagen synthesis, iron absorption, and immune system maintenance.
Fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins A, D, E, and K, are stored in the body's fatty tissues and liver and are absorbed with dietary fats. Vitamin A is essential for vision, immune function, and skin health. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and bone health. Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, while vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Each vitamin plays a unique role, and an imbalance—either a deficiency or excess—can result in health issues. Deficiencies in vitamins can cause diseases such as scurvy (from a lack of vitamin C) and rickets (from a lack of vitamin D). For personalized health advice, it is always recommended to consult a medical professional.