Any of various organic substances that are essential in minute quantities to the nutrition of most animals and some plants, act especially as coenzymes and precursors of coenzymes in the regulation of metabolic processes but do not provide energy or serve as building units, and are present in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced within the body

Any of various organic compounds that are needed in small amounts fornormal growth and activity of the body. Most vitamins cannot besynthesized by the body, but are found naturally in foods obtained fromplants and animals. Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble.

Mostwater-soluble vitamins, such as the vitamin B complex, act as catalysts andcoenzymes in metabolic processes and energy transfer and are excretedfairly rapidly. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and E arenecessary for the function or structural integrity of specific body tissues andmembranes and are retained in the body.

Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions. Some, such as vitamin D, have hormone-like functions as regulators of mineral metabolism, or regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation . Others function as antioxidants or the precursors for them; coenzymes help enzymes in their work as catalysts in metabolism. In this role, vitamins may be tightly bound to enzymes as part of prosthetic groups:

List of vitamins

Each vitamin is typically used in multiple reactions, and, therefore, most have multiple functions .

Vitamin A Retinol, retinal, and four carotenoids including beta carotene Fat
Vitamin B1 Thiamine 1.2 mg
Vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin,hydroxocobalamin,methylcobalamin Water
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin Water
Vitamin B3 Niacin, niacinamide Water
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid Water
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine,pyridoxamine,pyridoxal Water
Vitamin B7 Biotin Water
Vitamin B9 Folic acid, folinic acid Water
Vitamin C Ascorbic acid Water
Vitamin D Cholecalciferol (D3),Ergocalciferol (D2) Fat
Vitamin E Tocopherols,tocotrienols Fat
Vitamin K phylloquinone,menaquinones Fat

Health effects

Vitamins are essential for the normal growth and development of a multicellular organism. Using the genetic blueprint inherited from its parents, a fetus begins to develop, at the moment of conception, from the nutrients it absorbs. It requires certain vitamins and minerals to be present at certain times.

These nutrients facilitate the chemical reactions that produce among other things, skin, bone, and muscle. If there is serious deficiency in one or more of these nutrients, a child may develop a deficiency disease. Even minor deficiencies may cause permanent damage.