CHEM 19-3 - General Information on Vitamins Like hormones...

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General Information on Vitamins Like hormones, vitamins are compounds essential in small amounts for the maintenance of normal cellular metabolism. Unlike hormones, vitamins cannot be synthesized at adequate levels by the body and must be obtained from one’s diet (or supplements). The absence or shortage of a vitamin may result in a vitamin-deficiency disease (e.g., scurvy, rickets, beriberi). Scientists have identified 13 vitamins required in the human diet. They are divided into 2 categories – water-soluble vs. fat-soluble. See back of p. 4 of handout. Water-soluble – 1) include the B-complex vitamins and C; 2) contain a high proportion of electronegative atoms O and N and can H-bond to water (polar), 3) the body excretes any that cannot be immediately used (must be taken more frequently than a fat-soluble vitamin). Fat-soluble – 1) include vitamins A, D, E, and K; 2) contain a high proportion of hydrocarbon structural components (nonpolar), 3) if taken in high doses, can accumulate to toxic levels in body fat. Vitamins (cont.) Many acronyms are used now in discussing vitamins: 1) RDA (recommended dietary allowance) - daily amount needed by the average healthy
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CHEM 19-3 - General Information on Vitamins Like hormones...

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