- any of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism, found in minute amounts in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced synthetically: deficiencies of vitamins produce specific disorders.
Origin of vitamin
Examples from the Web for vitamins
It drains your body of nutrients and vitamins, attacking the central nervous system and leaving you in a dehydrated, hazy state.History's Craziest Hangover Cures
December 30, 2014
The supercharge doses of vitamins have questionable benefits.Forget 5-Hour Energy: Tea Is a Better Buzz
July 22, 2014
These include carbs and protein and fats, minerals and vitamins and electrolytes.The Top 10 Diets of 2013 Are All Useless (Except to Book Publishers)
December 29, 2013
In the early years of the 20th century, people recognized that white flour was making us sick because of its lack of vitamins.It’s the End of the World Unless We All Start Cooking
April 23, 2013
Wintour hit up a supermarket over the holidays to purchase a slew of vitamins … and no food.Kanye’s Masked Appearance, Stella McCartney Gets an OBE
The Fashion Beast Team
December 31, 2012
Maybe they had a different name for “vitamins,” maybe none at all.
Nothing will sustain life if the vitamins are absent from the diet.The Goat-gland Transplantation
Sydney B. Flower
Vitamins and minerals and hard radiations and things, and then he's going to bed.Masters of Space
Edward Elmer Smith
There was a chance they might contain the vitamins and minerals needed.Space Prison
Vitamins, of course; got to keep plenty of vitamins in the system, or it goes all to pot on you.Cum Grano Salis
Gordon Randall Garrett
- any of a group of substances that are essential, in small quantities, for the normal functioning of metabolism in the body. They cannot usually be synthesized in the body but they occur naturally in certain foods: insufficient supply of any particular vitamin results in a deficiency disease
Word Origin and History for vitamins
1920, originally vitamine (1912) coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967), from Latin vita "life" (see vital) + amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids. The terminal -e formally was stripped off when scientists learned the true nature of the substance; -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition. The lettering system of nomenclature (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) was introduced at the same time (1920).
- Any of various fat-soluble or water-soluble organic substances essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of the body and obtained naturally from plant and animal foods.
- Any of various organic compounds that are needed in small amounts for normal growth and activity of the body. Most vitamins cannot be synthesized by the body, but are found naturally in foods obtained from plants and animals. Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Most water-soluble vitamins, such as the vitamin B complex, act as catalysts and coenzymes in metabolic processes and energy transfer and are excreted fairly rapidly. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and E are necessary for the function or structural integrity of specific body tissues and membranes and are retained in the body.
A Closer Look: Although it has been known for thousands of years that certain diseases can be treated with specific foods, the scientific link between vitamins and good health wasn't made until the early 1900s by Polish-born American biochemist Casimir Funk. While studying beriberi, a disease that causes depression, fatigue, and nerve damage, Funk discovered an organic compound in rice husks that prevents the illness. He named the compound vitamine, derived from the chemical name amine and the Latin word vita, "life," because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to be amines. Funk's compound is now known as vitamin B1, or thiamine. His research and discovery led him, along with English biochemist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, to propose the vitamin hypothesis of deficiency, which stated that certain diseases, such as scurvy or rickets, are caused by dietary deficiencies and can be avoided by taking vitamins. Further research allowed scientists to isolate and identify the vitamins that we know today to be essential for human health. Vitamins include A, C, D, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamins are distinguished from minerals, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, which are also essential for optimum health.
Complex organic compounds that are needed in small amounts by the body for normal growth and metabolism. An important part of a balanced diet, vitamins occur naturally in foods and may be added to processed foods to increase their nutritional value. Many vitamins have been identified, and each plays a specific role in the functioning of the body. For example, vitamin C is needed for the proper healing of wounds and broken bones; vitamin A helps the body resist infection. Some vitamins are so important that without them certain diseases or conditions could develop. For example, a deficiency of vitamin D may cause rickets, and a deficiency of vitamin B12 could result in a form of anemia.