Sci 241 Week 5

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Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, and pantothenic acid are B vitamins needed to produce ATP from carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Vitamin B6 is important for amino acid metabolism as well as energy production. Folate is a coenzyme that is needed for cell division. Vitamin B12, only found in animal foods, is needed for nerve function and to activate folate. Vitamin C is needed to form connective tissue and acts as a watersoluble antioxidant. Vitamin A is essential for vision, and it regulates cell differentiation and growth. Vitamin D is necessary for bone health. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting.

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How can anyone have a deficiency? Despite advances in vitamin research over the last century, millions of people around the globe still suffer from vitamin deficiency diseases. In the United States, the plentiful and

236 Chapter 8

The Vitamins

varied food supply make severe vitamin deficiencies unlikely but this doesn’t mean everyone gets enough of everything all the time. Marginal deficiencies often go unnoticed and can be mistaken for other conditions.

Vitamins Are Vital to Your Health

L Vitamins Organic compounds needed * in the diet in small amounts to promote and regulate the chemical reactions and processes needed for growth, reproduction, and the maintenance of health.

Vitamins are essential to your health. You only need very small quantities but if you

don’t get enough your body cannot function optimally. Severe deficiencies cause debilitating diseases but even marginal intakes can cause subtle changes that affect your health today and your risk of chronic disease tomorrow. An organic substance is classified as a vitamin if lack of it in the diet causes symptoms that are relieved by adding it back to the diet. The fact that the vitamins we eat in food are essential to health seems simple and obvious, but it was not always so. For
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