Vitamins | The Chemistry Of Life | Siyavula

Vitamins

1.5 Vitamins (ESG4H)

This section should be linked to the digestive system and healthy diet that were covered in Grade 9 Natural Sciences. Vitamins are organic compounds required by organisms as vital nutrients in limited amounts. Vitamins are therefore essential to a balanced diet. The sources, functions and deficiency diseases of the main vitamins should be revised.

Vitamins are organic compounds required by organisms as vital nutrients in limited amounts. Vitamins are therefore essential to a balanced diet. Vitamins have a variety of functions in the body. Some vitamins are coenzymes, which means that they help enzymes to catalyse a reaction efficiently. Some are responsible for regulating metabolism or act as regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation.

VitaminRoleFood sourcesDeficiency disease
Vitamin ANeeded for proper functioning of eyesliver, carrots, eggnight blindness
Vitamin B (A group of vitamins with related functions)Carbohydrate, protein, lipid, nucleic acid and alcohol metabolism; neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve function; red blood cell productiongrains, potatoes, bananasB1- beriberi, B3- pellagra, B6, B9, B12- anaemia
Vitamin CInvolved in iron metabolism; plays a role in the immune system; helps with the formation of collagen for wound repaircitrus fruit (oranges, lemons etc), tomatoesscurvy (results in bleeding gums)
Vitamin DImportant in absorption of minerals from the gut (such as calcium and phosphate); works together with calcium and phosphorus in bone / teeth hardeningfull cream milk, oily fishrickets (resulting in soft bones, with bowed legs and widened wrists)
Vitamin EActs as an anti-oxidantmargarine, soybean oil, fortified cereals, condensed cow's milk, cheese, orange juicedepressed immune system, anaemia, poor nerve conduction

Figure 1.22: Sources of essentials vitamins.