Vitamins are organic substances required by the human body in minute quantities for normal growth and maintenance of health. Vitamins are not energy giving food but are essential to keep our body healthy and free from diseases. So they are often referred to as protective food.The human body cannot synthesise vitamins except for Vitamin D, which the skin can manufacture in the presence of sunlight. Therefore vitamins have to be included in our diet. Vitamins are present in small amounts in our natural food. Deficiency in vitamins in our diet will manifest in deficiency symptoms leading to a deficiency disease. Vitamins are generally classified into two groups:
- Fat soluble vitamins
- Water soluble vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E and K. Water soluble vitamins include Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C.
Deficiency of Vitamin A causes Night- blindness, deficiency of Vitamin B1 causes Beri-beri, deficiency of Vitamin C causes Scurvy and deficiency of Vitamin D causes Rickets. Vitamin K is essential for clotting of blood and its deficiency causes haemorrhage.