Any chemical within the group of organic compounds required (in very small amounts) by the body in order to maintain good health. These cannot be synthesized by the body and so are essential constituents of the diet – though most can also be taken in tablet form, as dietary supplements. Deficiencies (and in many cases also excessive intake) of these substances can lead to specific diseases.
Groups of Vitamins
The following table includes basic data about each of the major vitamins
Vision in dim light;
Maintenance of soft mucous tissue.
Can be formed in the body from its precursor
Xerophthalmia (dry, ulcerated eyes);
Keratomalacia (dry, ulcerated eyes);
Defective dental development;
Vitamin A can be stored in the body in such large quantities
B1 (Thiamin, Aneurine)
promotes normal metabolism, appetite, digestion,
Brain development and function.
Disturbance of heart beat;
Shaking and Swellings.
Release of energy from carbohydrates;
Synthesis of arachidonic acid, linoleic
Oversensitivity to light;
Many functions, including:
Maintaining healthy skin and nerves;
Formation of red blood cells;
Formation of hormones essential for functioning
Synthesis & breakdown of amino acids;
Resistance to disease;
Fight signs of premature ageing.
Meat; Milk; Liver;
Loss of appetite;
B9 (Folic Acid)
Pre-conception & in early pregnancy
Apathy / Depression;
Dull grey-looking skin.
B12 (Methylcobalamin vs Cyanocobalamin)
Maintenance of myelin in the nervous system;
Correct functioning of Folic Acid.
Degeneration of the nervous system (incl.
C (Ascorbic Acid)
Maintaining healthy connective tissues;
Integrity of cell walls;
Synthesis of collagen;
Improves resistance to infections;
Promotes healthy function of phagocytes
May help to reduce allergic reactions (by inhibiting
Reduced immunity to diseases;
Very high dosage can lead to stomach problems in some
D (D3 vs D2)
Regulation of the permeability of cell membranes.
from plant sources.
is produced by the action of sunlight on 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is in the skin.
Rickets (in children);
Problems in dental development (in children);
Osteomalacia (in adults);
Muscle weakness and cramps;
Osteoporosis – if deficiency over extended period of
Formation of calculus stones in the kidneys
Hardening of arteries.
Itchy eyes and skin;
E (Tocopherols and Tocotrienols)
Production of red blood cells.
Corn and peanut oils;
Green leafy vegetables;