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Everything you wanted to know about vitamins, but were afraid to ask

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamins (from lat. Vita - “life” and amine) - a group of low molecular weight organic compounds of relatively simple structure and diverse chemical nature. This is a group of organic substances by their chemical nature, united on the basis of their absolute need for a heterotrophic organism as an integral part of food. Autotrophic organisms also need vitamins, getting them either by synthesis or from the environment. So, vitamins are part of nutrient media for growing phytoplankton organisms. Most vitamins are coenzymes or their precursors.

Vitamins are found in food (or in the environment) in very small quantities and therefore are micronutrients. Trace elements and essential amino acids are not vitamins.

Science at the intersection of biochemistry, food hygiene, pharmacology and some other biomedical sciences, studying the structure and mechanisms of action of vitamins, as well as their use for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes, is called vitaminology.

General information

Vitamins Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamins perform a catalytic function as part of the active centers of various enzymes, and can also participate in humoral regulation as exogenous prohormones and hormones. Despite the crucial importance of vitamins in metabolism, they are neither a source of energy for the body (do not have calorie content) nor structural components of tissues.

The concentration of vitamins in the tissues and the daily need for them are small, but with insufficient intake of vitamins in the body, characteristic and dangerous pathological changes occur.

Most vitamins are not synthesized in the human body, so they must be regularly and in sufficient quantities enter the body with food or in the form of vitamin-mineral complexes and nutritional supplements. The exceptions are vitamin D, which is formed in human skin under the influence of ultraviolet light; Vitamin A, which can be synthesized from precursors ingested with food; and niacin, the precursor of which is the amino acid tryptophan. In addition, vitamins K and B3 are usually synthesized in sufficient quantities by the bacterial microflora of the human colon.

With the violation of the intake of vitamins into the body, 3 principal pathological conditions are associated: lack of vitamin - vitamin deficiency, lack of vitamin - vitamin deficiency, and excess vitamin - hypervitaminosis.

As of 2012, 13 substances (or groups of substances) are recognized as vitamins. A few more substances, such as carnitine and inositol, are under consideration. Based on solubility, vitamins are divided into fat-soluble - A, D, E, K , and water-soluble - C and B vitamins . Fat-soluble vitamins accumulate in the body, and the place of their accumulation is adipose tissue and liver. Significant amounts of water-soluble vitamins are not stored and, with excess, are excreted in water. This explains the high prevalence of hypovitaminosis of water-soluble vitamins and hypervitaminosis of fat-soluble vitamins.

Names and classification of vitamins

Vitamins are conventionally indicated by the letters of the Latin alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, H, K, etc. Subsequently, it turned out that some of them are not independent substances, but a complex of individual vitamins. For example, vitamins of group B are well studied. The names of vitamins underwent changes as they were studied (data on this is given in the table).

The modern names of vitamins were adopted in 1956 by the Commission on the Nomenclature of the Biochemical Section of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry.

For some vitamins, a certain similarity of physical properties and physiological effects on the body is also established.

Until now, the classification of vitamins was based on their solubility in water or fats. Therefore, the first group consisted of water-soluble vitamins (C, P and the whole group B), and the second - fat-soluble vitamins - lipovitamins (A, D, E, K). However, back in 1942-1943, academician A.V. Palladin synthesized a water-soluble analogue of vitamin K, vikasol.

And recently, water-soluble preparations of other vitamins of this group have been obtained. Thus, the division of vitamins into water and fat soluble to some extent loses its value.

Letter designation Chemical name according to international nomenclature

(other names in parentheses)

(W - fat soluble
B - water soluble)
Consequences of vitamin deficiency, physiological role Upper allowable level Daily requirement
A 1

A 2

Retinol (Aceroftol, Antioxerophthalmic Vitamin)
F Night blindness, xerophthalmia 3000 mcg 900 (adults), 400-1000 (children) mcg ret. eq.
B 1 Thiamine (aneurine, anti-neuritis) AT Beriberi, Gayet's syndrome - Wernicke not installed 1.5 mg
B 2 Riboflavin AT Ariboflavinoz not installed 1.8 mg
B 3 , PP nicotinamide (nicotinic acid, niacinamide, antipellagric vitamin) AT Pellagra 60 mg 20 mg
B 4 Choline AT Liver disorders 20 g 425-550 mg
B 5 Pantothenic acid (calcium pantothenate) AT Joint pain, hair loss, leg cramps, paralysis, impaired vision and memory. not installed 5 mg
B 6 Pyridoxine (Adermin) AT Anemia, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis and other skin diseases, lemon-yellow skin, impaired appetite, attention, memory, blood vessels 25 mg 2 mg
B 7 h Biotin (anti-seborrheic factor, factor W, skin factor, coenzyme R, factor X) AT Skin lesions, loss of appetite, nausea, swelling of the tongue, muscle pain, lethargy, depression not installed 50 mcg
B 8 Inositol [# 1] (Inositol, Mesoinositol) AT There is no data there is no data no data [# 2]
B 9 , B s , M Folic acid (folacin) AT Folic deficiency anemia, disorders in the development of the spinal tube in the embryo 1000 mcg 400 mcg
B 10 Para-aminobenzoic acid, PAB (n-aminobenzoic acid) AT Stimulates the production of vitamins by intestinal microflora. Included in folic acid Not installed
B 11 , B t Levocarnitine [# 1] AT Metabolic disorders there is no data 300 mg
B 12 Cyanocobalamin (antianemic) AT Pernicious anemia not installed 3 mcg
B 13 Orotic acid [# 1] AT Various skin diseases (eczema, neurodermatitis, ichthyosis) no 0.5-1.5 mg
B 15 Pangamic acid [# 1] AT there is no data 50-150 mg
C Ascorbic acid (anti-scaling (anti-scribbling) vitamin AT Scurvy (lat. Scorbutus - scurvy), bleeding gums, nosebleeds 2000 mg 90 mg
D 1
D 2

D 3
D 4
D 5

Ergocalciferol (calciferol, anti-rachitic vitamin)
F Rickets, osteomalacia 50 mcg 10-15 mcg
E tocopherols F Neuromuscular disorders: spinal cerebellar ataxia (Friedreich ataxia), myopathy. Anemia [12] . 300 mg current. eq. 15 mg current. eq.
K 1
K 2
F Hypocoagulation not installed 120 mcg
N Lipoic acid, Thioctic acid [# 1] F Essential for normal liver function 75 mg 30 mg
P Bioflavonoids, polyphenols [# 1] AT Fragility of capillaries there is no data there is no data
U Methionine [# 1]
S-methylmethionine sulfonium chloride
AT Antiulcer factor; vitamin U (from lat. ulcus - ulcer)
  1. ^ Jump to: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vitamin-like substance
  2. ^ In connection with the synthesis of this compound by the body itself from glucose and the unknown disease associated with its absence in food, its vitamin status is questioned.

As a rule, the daily norm of vitamins differs depending on age, occupation, season of the year, gender, pregnancy, and other factors.

Anti vitamins

Antivitamins - a group of organic compounds that suppress the biological activity of vitamins. These are compounds that are close to vitamins in chemical structure, but have the opposite biological effect. When ingested, anti-vitamins are included instead of vitamins in the metabolic reaction and inhibit or disrupt their normal course. This leads to vitamin deficiency, even in cases where the corresponding vitamin comes from food in sufficient quantities or is formed in the body itself. Anti-vitamins are known for almost all vitamins. For example, vitamin B1 (thiamine) anti-vitamin is pyrithiamine, which causes polyneuritis.


Multivitamin preparations - pharmacological preparations containing a complex of vitamins and mineral compounds.

The only natural nutritional multivitamin is breast milk, which contains a valuable set of many essential vitamins. For the prevention of hypovitaminosis, especially in children, it is recommended to use complex vitamin preparations. Multivitamin preparations are used not only for the prevention and treatment of hypovitaminosis, but also in the complex treatment of nutritional disorders such as malnutrition or paratrophy.

A high metabolic rate in children, not only supporting vital activity, but also ensuring the growth and development of the child’s body, requires sufficient and regular intake of not only vitamins, but also macro- and microelements. According to scientists, the use of vitamin-mineral complexes is very important for Russian children and adolescents.

At the same time, there is evidence of an increased risk of cancer and heart disease and a reduction in life expectancy with additional intake of vitamins.

Vitamin decomposition during cooking

Under the influence of environmental factors (temperature, oxygen, sunlight, acids, alkalis in the environment) vitamins are destroyed and lose their biological activity. In terms of sensitivity, various vitamins have different properties, some exhibit high stability, while others are rapidly destroyed. This is primarily due to the fact that vitamins, due to their chemical structure, are highly active compounds that easily enter into chemical reactions. From the moment a vitamin molecule was born naturally or through chemical synthesis, and until it enters the human or animal body, its fate largely depends on storage and processing conditions.

The main factors of vitamin instability are:

  1. Air oxygen
  2. Peroxides
  3. Moisture
  4. pH of the medium
  5. Metal ions (iron, copper)
  6. sunlight
  7. Fever
  8. Microorganisms
  9. Enzymes
  10. Adsorbents
Vitamin To the light To oxidation To recovery To temperature To metal ions To humidity Optimal pH
A +++ +++ ++ ++ + Neutral, slightly alkaline
D 3 +++ +++ ++ ++ ++ Neutral, slightly alkaline
E + + ++ + + Neutral
K 3 ++ + ++ ++ +++ ++ Neutral, slightly alkaline
B 1 + ++ +++ +++ ++ ++ Slightly acidic
B 2 +++ + ++ ++ + Neutral
B 3 + + Neutral
B 4 +++ Neutral, slightly acidic
B 5 ++ + Neutral
B 6 + + ++ + Sour
B 12 ++ ++ + + Neutral
B 9 ++ ++ ++ + + + Neutral
H + Neutral
C + +++ + +++ +++ ++ Neutral, sour

Vitamin A

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin B1

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Vitamin B2

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Vitamin B5

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Vitamin B6

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin B12

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin C

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin D

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin E

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin K

Инфографика Всё о витаминах

Vitamin A Products

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Vitamin C Products

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Vitamin E Products

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Vitamin B Products

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Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6

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Vitamins B3, B9, B12, PP

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Vitamins for the eyes

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Vitamins in Products

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Inadequate and excessive intake of vitamins

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Providing the body with vitamins

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