As a kid, I vividly remember having to take bone meal tablets and cod liver oil capsules. The taste was no issue given that I swallowed them whole with water quickly, I was also on other medication syrups by then and grew to like them – so if it was good for me I took it! But most kids would say “Yuck!”
Vitamins are important for all of us, some parents will say “to chase colds away.” Others, “keep your body healthy.” The latter is the most important.
What are Vitamins?
The word vitamin comes from the root words ‘vita’ meaning “life,” and ‘amine,’ which refers to a group of organic compounds that are derived from ammonia such as, amino acids. Amino acids when put together form proteins.
Vitamins are substances that the body requires in small amounts that it cannot make and, therefore must come from diet or a supplement (as a last resort).
The only exception to the above meaning is Vitamin D because humans can make vitamin D following exposure to sunlight. So vitamin D is not necessarily a vitamin in the true sense of the word.
Names and Numbers
There are 13 essential vitamins and most people know vitamins by their letter or number rather than their name. They fall into two classes: Water soluble and Fat soluble. Each one, especially the fat soluble ones, has a very interesting story to tell.
Water Soluble Vitamins:
- C – Ascorbic Acid.
- B1 – Thiamine.
- B2 – Riboflavin.
- B3 – Niacin.
- B5 – Pantothenic Acid.
- B6 – Pyridoxine.
- B7 – Biotin.
- B9 – Folate or Folic Acid.
- B12 – Cobalamin.
Fat Soluble Vitamins:
- A – Retinol.
- D – Ergocalciferol (D2) or Colecalciferol (D3).
- E – initially called the “anti-sterility factor” or -tocopherol.
- K – initially called “Koagulation”.
Where do Vitamins come from?
Vitamins come from living beings that contain organs, ie. plants and animals. For this reason, vitamins are classed as organic; and are a large part of our diet.
To see how each vitamin can be of benefit to you, what it is needed for, the pros and cons, and deficiency versus toxicity click on the vitamin name above.