Supplements of Vitamins

The definition:

Vitamins are organic substances indispensable for our organism; are micronutrients that must be taken daily because they are not synthesized by the human body.

The discovery:

The discovery of vitamins was born from the observation that a diet based on carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and minerals was not sufficient to ensure the development and survival of individuals, but that it was also necessary to add the appropriate growth factors. The first of these compounds was isolated in 1911 for its positive reactions of amines, amine was called life (vitamin, German Vitamin or amine of life, given by the Polish-born biochemist Casimir Funk in 1912). Subsequently were isolated and characterized other compounds whose deficiency in the diet resulted in specific pathologies treatable only with the addition of these substances, which were therefore calls vitamins although not all possess amino groups.


The vitamins are very different chemical structures for which, at the moment, the only valid operatively classification is that which distinguishes them into two groups: that of water-soluble vitamins (B group vitamins and vitamin C) and that of the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, K)
Considering their solubility can be distinguished and classified as follows:

  • fat-soluble vitamin that is soluble in fats: these are vitamins A, D, E, K, F;
  • water-soluble vitamins that are soluble in water are vitamins C, B1, B2, B5, B6, PP, B12, Bc, H.

The assumption:

The intake of vitamins should be constant over time, but currently only some of them are known exactly the recommended daily amounts, the so-called RDA (vitamins A, D, PP, folic acid, B1, B2, B6, B12). For the other one tends to refer to a safety interval. The vitamin requirements vary depending on the physiological and / or pathological individual: age and sex, but also during pregnancy and breastfeeding, for example, you need to increase intake. In particular, the water-soluble vitamins are not accumulated by the human body, for this should be taken with regularity. In contrast, the fat-soluble vitamins can be accumulated.


  • Vitamin A: Retinoids (such as carotenoids and provitamin A)
  • B vitamins: vitamin initially thought to be single then proved a water-soluble vitamin group (B)
  • Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid, the most common and powerful antioxidant
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin initially thought to be single then proved a group of fat-soluble prohormones (D)
  • Vitamin E: Tocopherols fat-soluble antioxidants
  • Vitamin F: Essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), English fatty acids
  • Vitamin G: Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin H: Biotin or Vitamin B7 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin I: as vitamin H, Biotin or Vitamin B7 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin J: Choline, an essential nutrient often approached to Group B
  • Vitamin K: Group Complex compounds (K from the German Koagulation, Coagulation)
  • Vitamin L: anthranilic acid (a metabolite of tryptophan)Vitamin M: Folic Acid or Vitamin B9 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin N: Alpha Lipoic Acid-ALA-(or thioctic acid) is a powerful antioxidant soluble and water-soluble
  • Vitamin P: Bioflavonoids powerful water-soluble antioxidants (Vitamin C aids)
  • Vitamin PP: Niacin or Vitamin B3 (belonging to Group B) acronym for Pellagra Preventive
  • Vitamin Q: Ubiquinone or Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10)
  • Vitamin R: Acid Paramminobenzoico abbreviated PABA, or Vitamin B10 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin S: Hydrogen-pteroil eptaglutammico or Vitamin B11 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin T: Tocotrienols power factor of sesame seeds (from the Vitamin E)
  • Vitamin U: Metilmetionina or S-methyl-L-methionine, substance present in some vegetable
  • Vitamin V: unidentified substance, probably soluble plant derived function antiulcer
  • Vitamin W: Pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 (belonging to Group B)Vitamin X: currently not used
  • Vitamin Y: Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 (belonging to Group B)
  • Vitamin Z: Zinc is an essential nutrient proposed (and accepted) as vitamin      

What are exactly:

B vitamins:

Thiamin (B1): necessary in carbohydrate metabolism, promotes the general state of nutrition of nerve tissue. The deficiency causes damage to the nervous system, general wasting and specific conditions such as beriberi, very popular among people who eat mainly based on polished rice, and Wernicke, a severe form of confusion. Thiamine is widespread both in plant foods than in animals, such as cereals, legumes, pork, brewer's yeast, and is produced in part by the intestinal flora but its requirement, which is at least 0 , 8 mg per day (0.4 mg per 1000 kcal consumed) is barely covered by a normal diet.
Riboflavin (B2):
Important for the state of nutrition of the skin and mucous membranes, riboflavin is rarely the diet of poor people in rich countries. Its deficiency is rather evident in the poor people, combined with a general state of malnutrition, due to changes in the skin, lesions of the mucous membranes and the digestive tract. It 's very popular in brewer's yeast, wheat germ, whole grains, liver, meat, milk and eggs and is also produced by the intestinal flora. A certain part, however, is lost with cooking food. The daily requirement is 0.6 mg per 1000 kcal intake.
Pantothenic Acid (B5)
: vitamin important in protection against a range of pathological conditions, is widespread in all foods both animals and plants, especially in the liver, egg yolk, legumes and brewer's yeast. It 'deficient only in states of severe malnutrition, and its daily requirement is 3-12 mg per day.
Pyridoxine (B6):
precursor of an important enzyme in the metabolism of nitrogen compounds, the presence of vitamin B6 influences the efficiency in the use of proteins by the body, but also the hemoglobin synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. A deficiency of B6 is rare, and usually due to apathy and weakness, and in some cases a form of hypochromic anemia, where red blood cells are lighter than usual. It 's very common among food, meat, fish, legumes and is also resistant to many industrial processes. The daily requirement is estimated to be at least 1.1 mg per day for women and 1.5 mg per day for men.
Cobalamin (B12):
it is a group of substances containing cobalt, involved in the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids and nucleic acids. The condition of deficiency is rare, and may occur only in cases of strict vegetarian diet. In this case, it is particularly delicate phase of pregnancy, where the deficiency in the mother can have very dangerous for the baby. The shortage but can also be caused by the absence of a factor that facilitates the absorption in the intestine, resulting in disorders of the nervous system and the production of blood cells, up to a form of anemia called 'pernicious'. E 'in all animal foods in small quantities, especially in liver, meat, fish in milk and eggs, and is resistant to boiling. Its minimum daily requirement, normally covered by the diet, is at least 2 mg per day.
Folic acid (B9):
Folic acid (folate), is vitamin B9. Is not produced by the body but must be taken with food and the intestinal flora, and the daily requirements under normal conditions is approximately 0.2 mg. In recent decades, folic acid has been recognized as essential in the prevention of birth defects, particularly those involving the neural tube, which may arise in the early stages of embryonic development. During pregnancy, therefore, the need for folate is doubled to 0.4 mg because the fetus uses the mother's reserves.

Vitamin C - Ascorbic Acid
In addition to participating in numerous metabolic reactions and the biosynthesis of collagen, amino acids and some hormones, vitamin C is also an antioxidant, involved in allergic reactions by enhancing the immune response, neutralizing free radicals and plays a protective role in the stomach, inhibiting the synthesis of carcinogens. Its deficiency causes a condition called scurvy, a disease that was once very common among sailors taking few fruits and vegetables, whose first symptoms are lethargy, anemia and loss of appetite and then, just for the non-collagen synthesis, bleeding gums, loss of teeth, muscle pain, capillary fragility and bleeding under the skin. Vitamin C is contained mainly in fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, especially kiwi, citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppers. The vitamin is however easily deteriorated during the preservation treatments and cooking, is easily lost during washing and cooking in water and is also damaged by oxygen and heat. To ensure a good intake of vitamin C is therefore necessary to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, and raw or undercooked. The requirement for vitamin C is 60 mg per day (70 in pregnancy).

Vitamin H - Biotin
The biotin participates in the synthesis of glucose and fatty acids. Being a very vitamin present in foods and also abundantly produced by the intestinal flora, it is usually lacking in the body. It is found mainly in the liver, chicken, egg yolk, nuts, and vegetables in a variety of fresh fruit, milk and cheese, fish. The daily requirement is 15-100 micrograms daily, usually met by a normal diet.

Vitamin PP - Niacin

Vitamin PP takes part in the reactions of the cellular respiration, synthesis and demolition of amino acids, fatty acids and cholesterol. The niacin deficiency causes pellagra, a condition very common in poor areas also in our country until the beginning of '900, due to a power mainly consisting of corn, poor of niacin and rich in antivitamina PP, a substance that is combined with vitamin PP and makes it unavailable to the body. Typical symptoms of pellagra are dermatitis, stains and peeling epidermal, intestinal disorders, diarrhea, to neurological disorders such as dementia. Niacin is common in foods of animal origin, and is synthesized by the body from tryptophan dall'aminoacido so a diet based on proteins guarantees a sufficient supply. The daily requirement is 6.6 mg per 1000 kcal intake.

Vitamin A - Retinol
The retinol and its precursors, carotenoids, constitute one of the essential factors for the view, as they are components of rhodopsin, the light-sensitive substance present on the retina. The deficiency of retinol involves defects at the sight that may arrive, in more severe cases, up to complete blindness. Vitamin A, however, also plays a role in the process of cellular differentiation, and is therefore very important for a correct development of the individual, for its ability of immune response, for the integrity of its system tissues. Evidence suggesting a role of vitamin A as an anticancer agent. A deficiency of vitamin A can cause birth defects, then, difficulties in the process of development and growth, susceptibility to infection. Retinol is found mostly in animal foods, liver, cheese, butter, eggs and milk. In plants are instead carotenoids, especially in fruits and vegetables orange, red and yellow, such as tomatoes, carrots, apricots, watermelon, berries. Vitamin A is largely lost during the cooking process. Being fat-soluble, it accumulates in the liver, and may, if taken in excess, hypervitaminosis problems that can also cause permanent damage to the liver and spleen. The daily requirement therefore is of 0,6-0,7 mg per day of retinol, up to 0.95 during lactation (1 mg of retinol equivalent to 6 mg of β-carotene). E ', however, should not take more than 9 mg of retinol per day for men and 7.5 for women.

Vitamin E - Tocopherol

Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps to maintain cellular integrity. Oxidizes and easily degraded in the light and in the presence of heat, then during the cooking process and refining of vegetable oil. It 'contained mainly in fruits, such as olives, wheat germ, seeds. A deficiency of vitamin E, which is usually associated with malnutrition, may include blemishes overall development, including disorders of the nervous system and general metabolism. The requirement is around the 8 mg per day.

Vitamin D - calciferol
There are two forms of vitamin D: ergocalciferol, taken with food, and cholecalciferol synthesized by the body. Vitamin D is a regulator of calcium metabolism and thus also favors a correct mineralization of the skeleton. Most of the vitamin D is synthesized by the body, by the action of the rays of the sun, from derivatives of cholesterol present in the skin. The vitamin D deficiency is a risk of rickets in children, resulting in bone deformation and stunting, and osteomalacia in adults, an intense form of bone decalcification. An excess of vitamin D, in contrast, can cause diffuse calcifications in the organs, muscle contractions and cramps, vomiting, diarrhea. The normal exposure to sunlight is sufficient to cover the needs of vitamin D in adults, and should be taken only during the growth phase and during pregnancy and lactation. In these cases the intake should be of 10 mg for a day as a supplement, having regard to the limited presence of vitamin D in food, with the exception of cod liver oil.

Vitamin K
Vitamin K plays an important role in the process of blood clotting. A deficiency, which occurs rarely, however, due to disease that prevent the intestinal absorption or prolonged antibiotic treatments, thus involves bleeding. The requirement for vitamin K is about 60 micrograms per day, normally covered by the endogenous synthesis at the level of the intestinal flora. Sources of vitamin K are vegetables, especially cabbage and spinach, and liver.

Supplements of Vitamins