Vitamins are complex organic compounds required in small quantities for normal health & growth. Many vitamins are co-enzymes (i.e. needed for other enzymes to function). Vitamins are produced in plants, bacteria and fungi, but not in animals (except vitamin D, which is synthesised through skin on exposure to sunlight).

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are those that dissolve in fat e.g. A, D, E, K.
  • Water-soluble vitamins are those that dissolve in water e.g. B, C.

Deficiency diseases are caused by limited or reduced intake of one or more vitamins caused by: inadequate diet, pregnancy & lactation, infection of the gastrointestinal tract, antibiotics, antivitamins

Vitamin Water-soluble/Fat-soluble Deficiency disorders Metabolic role Sources
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Water-soluble Scurvy

Producing collagen for connective tissue – bone, skin, gums, cartilage, ligaments and lining of blood vessels.

Iron absorption.
Blackcurrants, oranges, kiwi, limes and green veg, e.g. broccoli
Vitamin D Fat-soluble Rickets in children.
Osteomalacia in adults.
Allows body to absorb calcium – Ca needed in bone formation Dairy products, fish liver oils, sunshine exposure on skin, egg yolk

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