Vitamins and Minerals in Modern Society Essay example

7979 Words Mar 16th, 2011 32 Pages
Vitamins and minerals supplementation in modern society
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Heinrich Nel
Contents

1. Introduction 2. Background to vitamins 3. History of vitamins 4. Background to minerals 5. Functions of vitamins and minerals 6. RDA of vitamins and minerals 7. Soil depletion 8. Conventional vs. organic farming 9. Vitamin and mineral supplementation 10. Conclusion 11. Appendix 1: The discovery of vitamins and their sources 12. Appendix 2: RDA of water-soluble vitamins 13. Appendix 3: RDA of fat-soluble vitamins 14. Appendix 4: RDA of minerals and others 15. Appendix 5: Table 1 - Percentage of mineral
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Vitamins are classified by their biological and chemical activity, not their structure. Thus, each "vitamin" may refer to several vitamer compounds that all show the biological activity associated with a particular vitamin. Such a set of chemicals are grouped under an alphabetized vitamin "generic descriptor" title, such as "vitamin A," which includes the compounds retinal, retinol, and many carotenoids. Vitamers are often inter-converted in the body.

Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions, including function as hormones (e.g. vitamin D), antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E), and mediators of cell signaling and regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation (e.g. vitamin A). The largest number of vitamins (e.g. B complex vitamins) function as precursors for enzyme cofactor bio-molecules (coenzymes), that help act as catalysts and substrates in metabolism. When acting as part of a catalyst, vitamins are bound to enzymes and are called prosthetic groups. For example, biotin is part of enzymes involved in making fatty acids. Vitamins also act as coenzymes to carry chemical groups between enzymes. For example, folic acid carries various forms of carbon group – methyl, formyl and methylene - in the cell. Although these roles in assisting enzyme reactions are vitamins' best-known function, the other vitamin functions are equally important.

Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or

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