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Vitamins: species, indications for use, natural sources.

Contents: Why are vitamins needed?Classification Brief characteristics of individual vitamins Vitamin A( retinol) Vitamin B1( thiamin) Vitamin B2( riboflavin) Vitamin B4( choline) Vitamin B5( pantothenic acid) Vitamin B6( pyridoxine) Vitamin B8( inositol) Vitamin B9 Vitamin B12( cyanocobalamin) Vitamin CVitamin D( ergocalciferol) Vitamin E( tocopherol) Vitamin K( menadione) Vitamin L-Carnitine Vitamin P( B3, citrine) Vitamin PP( niacin, nicotinamide) Vitamin U( S-methylmethionine) Do I need to regularly drink vitamin complexes?

Do I need to drink vitamin complexes regularly?

Vitamins Vitamins are a large group of organic compounds of different chemical nature.They are united by one important feature: without vitamins, the existence of man and other living beings is impossible.

Even in ancient times, people assumed that to prevent certain diseases it is enough to make certain adjustments to the diet.For example, in ancient Egypt, "night blindness"( a violation of twilight vision) was treated by eating a liver.Much later it was proved that this pathology is caused by a lack of vitamin A, which is present in large quantities in the liver of animals.Several centuries ago, as a remedy for scurvy( the disease is caused by hypovitaminosis C), it was suggested to introduce into the diet acidic products of plant origin.The method has justified itself by 100%, since in common sauerkraut and in citrus there is a lot of ascorbic acid.

Why do I need vitamins?

The compounds of this group take the most active part in all types of metabolic processes.Most of the vitamins perform the function of coenzymes, i.e., they work as catalysts for enzymes.In food, these substances are present in fairly small quantities, so they are all attributed to the group of micronutrients.Vitamins are necessary for the regulation of vital activity through the liquid media of the body.

The study of vitally important organic compounds is carried out by the science of vitaminology, located at the intersection of pharmacology, biochemistry and food hygiene.

Important: vitamins have absolutely no caloric content, therefore can not serve as a source of energy.The structural elements necessary for the formation of new tissues, they are also not.

Heterotrophic organisms receive these low-molecular compounds, mainly with food, but some of them are formed in the process of biosynthesis.In particular, vitamin D is formed in skin integuments under the action of ultraviolet radiation, from the provitamins-carotenoids - A, and from the amino acid tryptophan - PP( nicotinic acid or niacin).

Note : symbiotic bacteria that live in the intestinal mucosa normally synthesize a sufficient volume of B3 and K vitamins.


The daily requirement for each individual vitamin in a person is very low, but if the intake is much lower than normal, Then various pathological conditions develop, many of which present a very serious threat to health and life.The pathological condition caused by deficiency of a certain compound of this group is called hypovitaminosis.

Note : vitamin deficiency implies complete cessation of vitamin intake in the body, which is quite rare.


All vitamins are divided into 2 large groups according to their ability to dissolve in water or fatty acids:

  1. All compounds of group B, ascorbic acid( C) and vitamin P are water soluble. They do not haveProperties accumulate in significant quantities, since possible surpluses are released with water naturally within a matter of hours.
  2. Fat-soluble( lipovitamins) are A, D, E, and K. A later open vitamin F is also classified here. These are vitamins dissolved in unsaturated fatty acids - arachidonic, linoleic and linolenic, etc.).Vitamins of this group have a property to be deposited in the body - mainly in the liver and adipose tissue.

In connection with this specificity, a deficiency of water-soluble vitamins is more often noted, but hypervitaminosis develops mainly on fat-soluble vitamins.

Note : vitamin K has a water-soluble analogue( vikasol), synthesized back in the early 40s of the last century.To date, water soluble preparations of other lipovitamins have also been obtained.In connection with this, this division into groups gradually becomes rather conditional.

Latin letters are used to indicate individual connections and groups.With the deep study of vitamins it became clear that some are not individual substances, but complexes.The names currently used were approved in 1956.

Brief characteristics of individual vitamins

Vitamin A( retinol)

This fat-soluble compound helps prevent xerophthalmia and twilight vision, as well as increase the body's resistance to infectious agents.Retinol depends on the elasticity of the epithelium of the skin and inner mucous membranes, hair growth and the rate of tissue regeneration( restoration).Vitamin A has a pronounced antioxidant activity.This lipovitamin is necessary for the development of oocytes and the normal course of the process of spermatogenesis.It minimizes the negative effects of stress and exposure to polluted air.

The precursor of retinol is carotene.

Vitamin A

Studies have shown that vitamin A interferes with the development of cancer.Retinol provides normal functional activity of the thyroid gland.

Important: excessive intake of retinol with products of animal origin causes hypervitaminosis.The consequence of an overabundance of vitamin A can be cancer.

Vitamin B1( thiamine)

A person should receive thiamine every day in sufficient quantities, since this compound in the body is not deposited.B1 is needed for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular and endocrine systems, as well as the brain.Thiamine takes part directly in the metabolism of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter.B1 is able to normalize the secretion of gastric juice and stimulate digestion, improving the motility of the digestive system.Thiamine is largely dependent on protein and fat metabolism, which is important for the growth and regeneration of tissues.It is also needed for the cleavage of complex carbohydrates to the main source of energy - glucose.

Important: The thiamine content in the products noticeably drops during the heat treatment.In particular, potatoes should be baked or steamed.

Vitamin B2( riboflavin)

Riboflavin is required for the biosynthesis of a number of hormones and the formation of red blood cells.Vitamin B2 is needed for the formation of ATP( the "energy base" of the body), protecting the retina from the negative effects of ultraviolet light, normal fetal development, as well as tissue regeneration and renewal.

Vitamin B4( choline)

Choline is involved in the metabolism of lipids and the biosynthesis of lecithin.Vitamin B4 is very important for the production of acetylcholine, the protection of the liver from toxins, growth processes and hemopoiesis.

Vitamin B5( pantothenic acid)

Vitamin B5 positively affects the nervous system, as it stimulates the biosynthesis of the excitatory mediator - acetylcholine.Pantothenic acid improves intestinal peristalsis, strengthens the defenses of the body and reproduces the regeneration of damaged tissues.B5 is part of a number of enzymes required for the normal course of many metabolic processes.
Vitamin B5

Vitamin B6( pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is needed for normal functional activity of the central nervous system and strengthening immunity.B6 takes a direct part in the process of biosynthesis of nucleic acids and the construction of a large number of different enzymes.Vitamin promotes the full absorption of vitally important unsaturated fatty acids.

Vitamin B8( inositol)

Inositol is found in the ophthalmic lens, tear fluid, nerve fibers, and also in semen.

B8 helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, increases the elasticity of the vascular walls, normalizes the peristalsis of the gastrointestinal tract and has a sedative effect on the nervous system.

Vitamin B9( folic acid)

A small amount of folic acid forms microorganisms inhabiting the intestines.B9 takes part in the process of cell division, the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and neurotransmitters - norepinephrine and serotonin.The process of hemopoiesis largely depends on folic acid.It also participates in the metabolism of lipids and cholesterol.

Vitamin B12( cyanocobalamin)

Cyanocobalamin is directly involved in the hemopoiesis process and is necessary for the normal course of protein and lipid metabolism.B12 stimulates the growth and regeneration of tissues, improves the state of the nervous system and is used by the body to create amino acids.

Vitamin C

Now everyone knows that ascorbic acid helps to strengthen immunity and prevent or alleviate a number of diseases( in particular, flu and colds).This discovery was made relatively recently;Scientific evidence of the effectiveness of vitamin C for the prevention of colds appeared only in 1970.Ascorbic acid is deposited in the body in very small quantities, so a person needs to constantly replenish the reserves of this water-soluble compound.

Its best source is many fresh fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C

When in the cold season of fresh plant products in the diet is small, it is advisable to take "ascorbic" daily in tablets or pills.It is especially important not to forget about this weakened people and women during pregnancy.Regular intake of vitamin C is extremely necessary for children.He takes part in the biosynthesis of collagen and many metabolic processes, and also contributes to detoxification of the body.

Vitamin D( ergocalciferol)

Vitamin D not only enters the body from the outside, but also is synthesized in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation.The connection is necessary for the formation and further growth of valuable bone tissue.Ergocalciferol provides regulation of phosphorus and calcium metabolism, promotes excretion of heavy metals, improves heart function and normalizes the process of blood coagulation.
Vitamin D

Vitamin E( tocopherol)

Tocopherol is the most potent of the known antioxidants.It minimizes the negative effects of free radicals at the cellular level, slowing down the natural aging processes.Thanks to this vitamin E can improve the work of a number of organs and systems and prevent the development of serious diseases.It improves the work of muscles and speeds up the reparative processes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin K( menadione)

Blood clotting and the formation of bone tissue depend on vitamin K.Menadion improves the functional activity of the kidneys.It also strengthens the walls of the blood vessels and muscles and normalizes the functions of the organs of the digestive tract.Vitamin K is necessary for the synthesis of ATP and creatine phosphate, the most important sources of energy.Vitamin K

Vitamin L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine participates in the metabolism of lipids, promoting the body's energy.This vitamin increases endurance, promotes muscle growth, lowers cholesterol and improves the state of the myocardium.

Vitamin P( B3, citrine)

The most important function of vitamin P is to strengthen and increase the elasticity of the walls of small blood vessels, as well as reduce their permeability.Citrine is able to prevent hemorrhage and has a pronounced antioxidant activity.Vitamin P

Vitamin PP( niacin, nicotinamide)

Many plant products contain nicotinic acid, and in animal foods this vitamin is present as nicotinamide.

Vitamin PP takes an active part in the metabolism of proteins and promotes the body's energy for the utilization of carbohydrates and lipids.Niacin is part of a number of enzyme compounds responsible for the processes of cellular respiration.Vitamin improves the nervous system and strengthens the cardiovascular system.From nicotinamide, the condition of mucous membranes and skin integuments largely depends.Thanks to PP, vision is improved and blood pressure is normalized in hypertension.

Vitamin U( S-methylmethionine)

Vitamin U reduces the level of histamine due to its methylation, which allows to significantly reduce the acidity of gastric juice.S-methylmethionine also has an anti-sclerotic effect.

Do I need to regularly drink vitamin complexes?

1431412435_which-vitamins-for-sports Certainly, many vitamins should enter the body regularly.The demand for many biologically active compounds increases with increased strain on the body( for physical work, sports, during illness, etc.).The question of the need to start taking this or that complex vitamin preparation is decided strictly individually.An uncontrolled intake of these pharmacological agents can lead to hypervitaminosis, that is, an overabundance in the body of a vitamin, which will not lead to anything good.Thus, reception of complexes should be started only after preliminary consultation with the attending physician.

Note : the only natural multivitamin is breast milk.To children it can not be replaced by any synthetic preparations.

It is advisable to additionally take some vitamin preparations to pregnant women( due to increased need), to vegetarians( many connections a person receives with animal food), and also to people who adhere to a restrictive diet.

Symptoms of beriberi

Multivitamins are necessary for children and adolescents.They metabolism is accelerated, because it is needed not only to maintain the functions of organs and systems, but also for active growth and development.Of course, it is better if enough vitamins come with natural products, but some of them contain the necessary compounds in sufficient quantities only in a certain season( mainly vegetables and fruits).In this regard, without pharmacological drugs, it is quite problematic to manage.

You can get more useful information about the rules for taking vitamin complexes, as well as common myths about vitamins, by viewing this video review:

Vladimir Plisov, phyto-therapeutist, dentist
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