IMPORTANT: The information on this site should never be used to self medicate or to self diagnose. Always contact your health care provider before using any kind of supplementation or making any extreme change in diet.
The next thirteen pages are about vitamins; what they are; what they do for us; what happens when we don’t get enough and finally, where we get them.
Does the name Casimir Funk mean anything to you? Yes? No?
Well, just in case you’ve never heard of him, he was a Polish born American biochemist who discovered the first vitamin while studying the disease called beri beri. He found out that beri beri could be prevented if this organic substance was ingested. He named his new discovery ‘ vitamine‘. The word vitamine was taken from the chemical word for the nitrogen based organic compound, amine, and the latin word for life ‘ vita. In the end, however, the amine part of the equation did not fit and the word vitamine was shortened to vitamin.
‘Vitamine’ would later be called Vitamin B1 or thiamine and would be one of many organic compounds we now know as vitamins.
Vitamins are defined as organic chemical compounds, needed by the body in tiny amounts, that cannot be synthesized by the body in large enough quantities to support the body and therefore must be obtained from dietary sources. Biotin or vitamin B7 is an exception and most Vitamin D is manufactured by the body by using the sun’s rays.
These organic compounds are either water soluble or fat soluble. Whether fat or water soluble they are needed in small amounts by our bodies to maintain health. Some vitamins act as antioxidants and vitamin D acts as a hormone.
The fat soluble vitamins are necessary for the structural integrity of tissues and membranes throughout our bodies. They are stored in our bodies.
The water soluble ones generally act as catalysts and coenzymes in the metabolic processes which create energy in our bodies. Usually the excess amounts of these vitamins are excreted daily but sometimes some of them are stored in small quantities.
Vitamins are classified by their activity not by their structure. One vitamin can include several compounds. For example vitamin A includes: retinol, retinal and several carotenoids. Vitamin A, then, would be a generic name for compounds that perform the same types of activities in the body. Somewhat like the term laundry detergent signifies what different name brands do for our clothes.
You can access each vitamin on the drop down menu from the menu at the top of the page.