Vitamins - Classification and Functions

This topic is about Vitamins – classification and functions. It is a known fact that we require energy in order to perform different activities. We get these energies from the food we eat. Apart from the normal food that we take, our body requires a certain number of compounds in small amounts for proper functioning and deficiency of these compounds may cause diseases. These compounds are known as vitamins.

Vitamins are chemical compounds that are required in small amounts with our regular diet in order to carry out certain biological functions and for the maintenance of our growth.

Table of Contents

Classification of Vitamins

Vitamins are generally classified as water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins.

1. Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. These are stored in adipose tissues and hence are called fat-soluble vitamins.

2. Water-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamins in B-group and vitamin C are water-soluble and cannot be stored in our bodies as they pass with the water in urine. These vitamins must be supplied to our bodies with regular diets.

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Functions of Vitamins

Based on their role in biological processes and their effect different vitamins have different functions, their function can be best understood by knowing about their deficiency diseases. Given below is the list of vitamins and their deficiency diseases:

  1. Vitamin A – Hardening of the cornea in the eye, night blindness.
  2. Vitamin B1 – Deficiency may cause beriberi and dwarfism.
  3. Vitamin B2 – Deficiency can cause disorders in the digestive system, skin burning sensations, and cheilosis.
  4. Vitamin B6 – Deficiency of B6 causes convulsions, conjunctivitis, and sometimes neurological disorders.
  5. Vitamin B12 – Its deficiency can cause pernicious anaemia and a decrease in red blood cells in haemoglobin.
  6. Vitamin C – It is a water-soluble vitamin, its deficiency causes bleeding in gums and scurvy.
  7. Vitamin D – It is obtained by our body when exposed to sunlight. Its deficiency causes improper growth of bones, soft bones in kids, and rickets.
  8. Vitamin E – Deficiency of vitamin E leads to weakness in muscles and increases the fragility of red blood cells.
  9. Vitamin K – It plays an important role in blood clotting. The deficiency of vitamin K increases the time taken by the blood to clot. Severe deficiency may cause death due to excessive blood loss in case of a cut or an injury.

Although these compounds are required in very small quantities by our body to perform several biological functions, and their deficiency may lead to severe diseases. Get in touch with our expert faculty at Byju’s to know more.

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