1200 words medical essay on Vitamins

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Vitamins are complex chemical substances required by the body in very small amounts. They do not yield energy, but act as catalysts in various body processes. As the vitamins cannot be produced in the body in sufficient quantity, they have to be supplemented through the diet.1200 words medical essay on Vitamins

Some 13 vitamins are stated to be needed by the human body and these are widely distributed in foods, in most instances, a well balanced diet supplies the vitamin needs of a healthy person. Vitamins are divided into two groups: (i) Fat soluble vitamins e. g. vitamins A, D, E and (ii) Water soluble vitamins, e. g. vitamins of the B group and vitamin C. Each vitamin has a specific function to perform and deficiency of any particular vitamin leads to specific defi­ciency disease.

Functions of Vitamins:

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Vitamins are helpful for the health and life of the body in the following respects:

(i) i They build up the resistance of the body against diseases;

(ii) Prevent and cure various diseases caused by deficiency;

(iii) Help the digestion and utilization of mineral salts and Carbohydrate in the body;

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(iv) Stimulate and give strength to digestive and nervous system;

(v) Help in the maintenance of proper health and normal growth;

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. It is an impor­tant nutrient in human nutrition. The deficiency of Vitamin A is a major cause of preventable blindness in some countries. The functions of vitamin A are not still well understood except that it is needed for normal vision and for the vigor and stamina of the body for resisting against infectious diseases.

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Sources:

Food of animal origin such as butter, ghee milk, eggs, liver and fish are good sources of Vitamin A.

Foods of vegetable origin such as fruits and vegetables are precursors of vitamin A. Leafy vegetables, carrots and yellow pumpkin and fruits are rich in carotene. The richest natural sources of vitamin A are the fish liver oils. Fish liver oils are used as nutritional supplements rather than foods.

Deficiency of Vitamin A:

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(i) Night blindness; (ii) Diseases of the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye; (iii) Skin Lessons; (iv) Retarded and stunted growth of bones ; (v) Diminish vitality;

Vitamin D

It is belied that there are 6 D vitamins, of which D2 or calciferol, D3 and D4 are chief, Calciferol is the most potent factor.

Functions:

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(i) Vitamin D promotes the intestinal absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus;

(ii) It influences the action of parathyroid hormone on bone;

(iii) It helps in bone formation by direct action on bone cells;

Sources:

The body obtains vitamin D from two sources: food and sunlight;

(i) Food:—Foods rich in vitamin D are fat-rich fish, eggs, liver, butter and fish liver oils, the fish liver oils are the richest natural sources of vitamin D, Foods of vegetable origin do not contain vitamin D.

(ii) Sunlight:—Sunlight is a natural source of vita­min D. The practice of applying oil to the body and expos­ing it to sunlight (oil-bath) is a good Indian custom from the point of view of deriving vitamin D from sunlight.

Deficiency:

The fundamental change in this deficiency is increas­ed loss of calcium and phosphate in the faces. This leads to a fall in the blood level and hence not available for bone formation. Due to this, in children it causes rickets and osteomalacia in adult. Rickets is more common in children living in slums where direct sunlight cannot reach the interior of the dwellings, and these children also cannot afford expensive animal foods to meet their daily require­ment of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

It is otherwise known as Anti sterility vitamin.

Functions:

It prevents and cures sterility or infertility.

Sources:

Vitamin E is widely distributed in foods. Vegetable sources such as: vegetable oils, oil of seeds, green vegetables etc, are rich in vitamin E though there is no vitamin E in animal food vet egg yolk is rich in it.

Deficiency:

Deficiency of vitamin E has been associated with habitual abortion, and testicular degenera­tion. The animals as well as human beings fail to give birth. Excessive intake does not increase fertility but may cure sterility.

Vitamin K

It is a heat stable and fat soluble vitamin

Functions:

It helps liver to synthesize and maintain the normal coating of blood

Sources:

Vitamin K occurs in fresh green vegetables and in fruits and it also synthesized by intestinal bacteria.

Deficiency:

Deficiency of vitamin K leads to generalized bleeding. There is evidence that vitamin K administration to newborn infants decreases the incidence of bleeding.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is highly soluble in water but rapidly destroyed by high temperatures such as those involved in cooking.

Functions:

(i) Vitamin C is needed for the growth of both animals and men;

(ii) The healing of the wound is delayed when the intake is inadequate;

(iii) It takes part in the formation of red blood-cells;

Sources:

Fruits and vegetables are the main sources of vitamin C. Fresh fruits are rich in vitamin C. Specially Amla or the Indian gooseberry and guavas are the richest source of vitamin C in India. Vegetables especially green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C. Roots and tubers (potatoes) contain very small amounts. Animal foods such as meat and milk also contain very small amounts.

Deficiency:

Deficiency of vitamin C results in scurvy. It occurs more commonly in infants due to the diet lacking vitamin C. It also causes delayed blood clotting and wound healing and also bleeding from gums.

VITAMIN B COMPLEX The original vitamin B was found to have two frac­tions. The heat-labile fraction is called Bi while the heat-stable part as Bi

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is a water soluble vitamin. It is relati­vely stable to heat in the dry form, but rapidly destroyed when it is heated

Functions:

It plays an important part in carbohydrate metabo­lism- It is also essential for proper functioning of the nervous system and for the maintenance of good appetite and normal digestion

Sources:

Vitamin B1 is widely distributed in all natural foods but rich sources are cereals, pulses, grams, liver oil, seeds and nuts. Milk is an important source of Bi for infants and young children. Being a water soluble vitamin, it is readily lost from cereals during the process of washing and cooking. From fruits and vegetables it is generally lost during prolonged storage.

Deficiency:

The most common disease of Bi defi­ciency is Beriberi which occurs essentially in countries where rice is the main staple food. It also causes loss of appetite, indigestion, muscular tenderness and nervous disorder.

Vitamin B2:

Riboflavin or vitamin B2 is much less soluble in water than vitamin B1 and is more heat stable.

Functions:

It is essential for growth. It is also invol­ved in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Sources:

Riboflavin is widely distributed in nature. Foods rich in riboflavin are liver, eggs, milk, fish, kidney, heart and growing leafy vegetables. Germinating pulses contain riboflavin. It is also synthesized by bacteria in intestine.

Deficiency:

The signs of riboflavin deficiency are angular stomatitis, glossarist and scrotal dermatitis.

Though the other components of vitamin B complex group such as B3, B6, B12 and Folic acid are not less important for human beings, yet their deficiencies are not commonly marked.

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