Vitamins and Minerals in Modern Society

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Vitamins and minerals supplementation in modern society

Heinrich Nel

1. Introduction 2. Background to vitamins 3. History of vitamins 4. Background to minerals 5. Functions of vitamins and minerals 6. RDA of vitamins and minerals 7. Soil depletion 8. Conventional vs. organic farming 9. Vitamin and mineral supplementation 10. Conclusion 11. Appendix 1: The discovery of vitamins and their sources 12. Appendix 2: RDA of water-soluble vitamins 13. Appendix 3: RDA of fat-soluble vitamins 14. Appendix 4: RDA of minerals and others 15. Appendix 5: Table 1 - Percentage of mineral
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Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water, and in general, are readily excreted from the body, to the degree that urinary output is a strong predictor of vitamin consumption. Because they are not readily stored, consistent daily intake is important. Many types of water-soluble vitamins are synthesized by bacteria.

Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids (fats). Because they are more likely to accumulate in the body, they are more likely to lead to hypervitaminosis than are water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamin regulation is of particular significance in cystic fibrosis.

Until the 1900s, vitamins were obtained solely through food intake, and changes in diet (which, for example, could occur during a particular growing season) can alter the types and amounts of vitamins ingested. Vitamins have been produced as commodity chemicals and made widely available as inexpensive pills for several decades, allowing supplementation of the dietary intake.

History of vitamins

The value of eating a certain food to maintain health was recognized long before vitamins were identified. The ancient Egyptians knew that feeding liver to a patient would help cure night blindness, an illness now known to be caused by a vitamin A deficiency. The advancement of ocean voyage during the Renaissance resulted in prolonged periods without access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and made illnesses from vitamin
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