An Essential Nutrition Briefing – Vitamins

I’ve been reading a lot recently about nutrition and wanted to share what I’ve found out here in an easy to digest (pun intended!) format.  So there will be a series of posts on essential nutritional information and debates that are being raised which I think are interesting.   The first topic I’ve selected is Vitamins, but there will be future posts about specific types of vitamins in more depth, as well as coverage of minerals, the other food groups, and summaries of “hot topics” like whether you should supplement and so on.

Some basic facts about Vitamins:

  • A scientist called Casimir Funk invented the term vitamin in 1912 – here is a link to the Nobel Prize website which summarises a history of vitamins
  • Vitamins are vital organic compounds which the body needs in order to function properly.
  • They are distinct from minerals, amino acids and fatty acids which the body also needs.
  • They are required in limited amounts which means that there is a recommended daily range for each of them.
  • They cannot be synthesised by the body (although Vitamin D is controversial in that we can synthesise it in the body as well as by getting it in our diets).
  • They need to be found in the diet (so that is why we need a balanced diet).
  • They are frequently group names of which there are multiple varieties (e.g. Vitamin A includes retinal, retinol and caretenoids)
  • Deficiencies of vitamins can cause serious medical complications (e.g. rickets, scurvy etc)

There are 13 types of vitamins currently recognised:

  1. Vitamin A
  2. Vitamin B1 Thiamin
  3. Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
  4. Vitamin B3 Niacin
  5. Vitamin B5 (Biotin)
  6. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  7. Vitamin B6
  8. Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  9. Vitamin B12
  10. Vitamin C
  11. Vitamin D
  12. Vitamin E
  13. Vitamin K

I’m going to be looking at each of these individually in future posts, keeping the briefing style of post, and will update the list above with links as I go.  So hopefully, you’ll see the list above turn into clickable links in due course!