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What are Vitamins?


Vitamins are substances which are present in certain foods and are necessary for the proper functioning of animal tissues. Deficiency of vitamins in the diet leads to a number of diseases which are specific for each particular vitamin. Many of the vitamins exert their action by taking part in the complex chemical reactions which occur within the cell.

It is important to realize that provided a sufficiency of vitamin is taken, which should be provided by a good mixed diet, that is no advantage to be gained by taking further large doses of the various vitamins, in fact the taking of excessive amounts of certain vitamins may even be harmful. But these general guidelines apply if you're are one of these groups:

Infant and Children

Most babies are given an injection of vitamin K at birth as the newborn's immature intestional tract may not produce enough to supply sufficient amounts to the baby.


Smoking interferes with incorporation of a number of vitamins; most importantly, vitamin C. Smokers should be sure their diets are rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as high doses of antioxidants vitamins may actually be harmful.


The most dangerous deficiencies among alcoholics are from vitamin C, vitamin B1, folic acid, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine ) and vitamin B2 ( riboflavin ).

Older adults

Deficiencies of vitamins and also important minerals have been observed inalmost one-third of elderly people, who offen fail to eat regular, balanced meals. Older adults may have vitamin D, B12, B6 and folic acid defiencies. One study reported that the immune systems of elderly people might benefit from vitamin E in levels higher than the daily recommended dosage.

Dieters and Vegetarians

Vegetarians who do not eat dairy or meat products may need riboflavin , vitamin D and vitamin B12 supplements. Those who eat eggs and dairy products need only watch their iron levels to guard against hair loss caused by iron deficiency.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women

The recommended dose for folic acid prior to conception and during pregnancy is 400 mcg. During breast feeding, between 260 and 280 mcg is suggested. Choline, another B vitamin, is essential for pregnant and nursing women

- 450 mg during pregnancy and 550 when breast feeding. Experts recommend that pregnant women take in no more than 8000 IU of vitamin A per day as it can pose a danger.

Vitamin A.D.E.K are fat soluble vitamins whereas vitamins c, pyridoxine and folic acid are water souble vitamins. Each vitamin's function varies. Lack of vitamins will cause diseases and excessiveness is harmful to the body and can pose a danger.

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