Vitamin is also an important constituent of food just like protein, carbohydrate and fats. Vitamins are very vital for healthy life. Vitamins protect us from various types of diseases. In fact, vitamins increase immunity power in our body against diseases. They also give their important contribution for the general development of body. If we lack various vitamins in our diet, many types of diseases can attack us. Although, we need these vitamins in less quantity yet they are very essential for leading a healthy life. There are two groups of vitamins:
1.FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS: These are those vitamins which are soluble in fat. These vitamins are composed of the elements of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These vitamins are: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
a)VITAMIN A- This vitamin is yellow in colour. Usually, this vitamin is not destroyed at normal temperature but it can be destroyed by oxidation process. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can also destroy this vitamin. It may be destroyed at normal temperature in the presence of oxygen. Due to the deficiency numerous diseases can attack a person. Night blindness is main disease caused by the deficiency. Vitamin A is very essential for normal growth of an individual. Due to the deficiency of Vitamin A Skin may be dry. There may be lininings on the skin. Teeth lose their brightness and usually become yellow. This vitamin also has a negative effect on kidneys, nervous system and digestive system. Due to its deficiency poisonous substances develop in spinal cord. Vitamin A is mainly found in ghee, milk, curd, egg yolk, fish, tomato, papaya, green vegetables, orange, spinach etc.
b)VITAMIN D- It is formed by the elements of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is a white crystalline substance. It helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It maintains the normal function of parathromone, the hormone secreted by parathyroid glands. It also maintains the level of calcium and phosphorus. Its deficiency may cause rickets, dental cavities and osteoporosis. Sun rays, milk, butter and fish liver oils are main source of this vitamin.
c)VITAMIN E- Vitamin E is helpful in increasing fertility among men and women. Its deficiency causes the death of the child in the womb of the mother, abortions and miscarriages happen with the result that the women lose her reproductive ability. Its deficiency also causes weakness in muscles and heart does not function properly. This vitamin is also essential for proper function of adrenal and sex glands.
d)VITAMIN K- The main function of this vitamin is to clot the blood. It also helps in prevention of hemorrhage and excessive bleeding in wounds. Its deficiency may cause anemia. Its main sources are tomato, potato, cabbage, cauliflower, wheat, egg, meat and soyabean.
2.WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS: These vitamins are soluble in water. These vitamins contain the elements of nitrogen and even sulphur.
a)VITAMIN B COMPLEX- It consists of eight soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Earlier they were thought to be a single vitamin but later on research showed that they were chemically distinct vitamins. The sources of these vitamins are meat, potatoes, bananas, liver oil, beans, yeast. Rest of the vitamins are mentioned below:
•Vitamin B 1- its deficiency may cause beri-beri. Its deficiency symptoms may be weight loss, emotional disturbances, weakness and pain in limbs, odema and irregular heart beat.
•Vitamin B 2- its deficiency symptoms are cracks in lips, inflammation of tongue.
•Vitamin B 3- its deficiency causes pellagra. Its deficiency symptoms be aggression, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion.
•Vitamin B 5- its deficiency may cause acne.
•Vitamin B 6- its deficiency may lead to depression, anemia, hypertension and water retention.
•Vitamin B 7-its deficiency may lead to impaired growth.
•Vitamin B 9-its deficiency in pregnant women may lead to birth defects.
•Vitamin B 12- its deficiency may lead to loss of memory and paralysis.
b)VITAMIN C- Vitamin C helps I healing the wounds. It increases metabolic rate and helpful in absorbing the calcium. It is also essential for the formation, growth and repair of bones, skin and connective tissues. It also maintains healthy teeth and gums. The deficiency of this vitamin causes scurvy. Adults may feel tired, weak and irritable due to the deficiency. This vitamin is usually found in lemons, pineapples, guava, amla, ber, oranges, tomato, green chilies and apples.