A vitamin is an organic compound required for normal growth and metabolism and must have the following characteristics:
– It is necessary for survival;
– Our bodies cannot produce it OR produce it in insufficient amounts for survival;
– Must be obtained from the diet or other sources (vitamin D is produced by exposing our skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sunshine)
There are 13 vitamins, divided into water soluble and fat soluble vitamins.
There are 9 water soluble vitamins: C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folate and biotin and 4 fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K.
Choline which is a vitamin-like compound is included in both: “Vitamin” and “Other nutrients” sections.
Vitamin deficiencies occur either by having an unbalanced diet, altering the vitamin producing environment (antibiotics kill intestinal bacteria), diseases, interaction with medicine, physiological state or avoiding the sun.