The Essential Role of Vitamins in Nutrition

Vitamins are essential micronutrients that play a vital role in the body's normal functioning. They are found in food and can also be taken as supplements. In the US, dietary guidelines are based on the available reports on the deficiency and toxicity of each nutrient. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, must dissolve in water before they can be absorbed by the body and cannot be stored.

Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E, and K, dissolve in fat and tend to accumulate in the body. In 1912, biochemist Casimir Funk was the first to coin the term “vitamin” in a research publication accepted by the medical community. Vitamins were only obtained from food until the 1930s, when commercially manufactured supplements for certain vitamins appeared. In the 1950s, most vitamins and multivitamins were available for sale to the general public to prevent deficiencies.

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients required by the body to perform a number of normal functions. After years of observation, experiments and trial and error, researchers determined the specific amounts of vitamins needed to prevent deficiency diseases. Multivitamins can play an important role when nutritional requirements are not met by diet alone. Jamie Purviance, author of New York Times best-selling cookbooks and a graduate of the United States Culinary Institute, said that “vitamin V inspires” with the supportive voice of someone who truly understands the reality of parenting, and provides us with easy and delicious recipes that take us in the right direction, one meal at a time.

Vitamins and their precise requirements have been controversial since their discovery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. DRIs are specific to age, sex and life stages, and include more than 40 nutrients. The guidelines are based on available reports on the deficiency and toxicity of each nutrient. Learn more about vitamins and minerals and their recommended intakes in the table below.

Ben Liebhardt
Ben Liebhardt

Amateur travel fanatic. General web buff. Certified travel junkie. Twitter nerd. Infuriatingly humble web practitioner. Certified beer nerd.

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