Life Sciences Glossary: Fat Soluble Vitamins and Water-Soluble Vitamins

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Fat Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin a (Retinol)

  • Discovered by Mc Colum and Davis in 1913. Can be synthesized in liver from yellow and red carotenoid pigments. Forms the retinal pigments such as rhodopsin of rod cells and iodopsin of cone cells of the retina. Maintains normal, living secretory epithelia in mucous membranes and glands.
  • A good source is carrot.
  • Deficiency diseases: Nyctalopia (Night blindness) and Xerophthalmia.
  • Vitamin A is also known as Anti-infection vitamin.

Vitamin D (Calciferol)

  • Synthesized in skin from cholesterol by UV light. Also known as ‘sunshine vitamin’ or ‘anti racket vitamin’ . It regulated absorption and utilization of calcium and phorus.
  • Good source – Meat, liver and milk, Cod liver oil and shark liver oil are good source for both A and D.
  • Deficiency diseases: Rickets in children and Osteocalcin in adult.

Vitamin E (Tocopherols)

  • Commonly called ′ Antisterility vitamin ′ or beauty vitamin ′ . It inhibits peroxide formation and thereby prevents the damage of membrane lipids. Vitamin e removes scars and wrinkles of skin.
  • Deficiency diseases: Sterility (impotence) and muscular atrophy.

Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)

  • Vitamin K is synthesized by bacteria in the colon. Essential for synthesis of prothrombin in liver. It is commonly called ‘Antihemorrhagic vitamin’ .
  • Deficiency: Uncontrolled bleeding. No coagulation or clotting.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

  • Discovered by Eilkman (1897) . Thiamine operates in the metabolic system of the body principally as thiamine pyrophosphate for utilization of pyruvic acid. Source-whole wheat flour.
  • Deficiency diseases: Beri-Beri; Polyneuritis. Beri-Beri affects the peripheral nervous system, alimentary canal and the cardiovascular system.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

  • Combines in the tissue with phosphoric acids to form (FAD) . Yellow colour of cow՚s milk is due to presence of riboflavin.
  • Good sources: Cheese, eggs, yeasts etc.
  • Deficiency diseases: Dermatitis, sore mouth ulceration and Cheilosis (disorder of lips and mouth characterized by scales and fissures) .

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B3)

  • It is incorporated in the body into coenzyme A (CoA) . It is vital in synthesis of acetylcholine, the synaptic transmitter.
  • Source- yeast, liver, eggs, meat, etc.
  • Deficiency diseases: Paralysis of muscles and fatigue and burning feet syndrome.

Niacin Nicotinic Acid

  • It functions in the body as coenzymes in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide dinucleotide phosphate (NADP) . It is also known as pellagra preventive vitamin ′ . Niacin can be synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan.
  • Deficiency diseases: Pellagra in human being and black tongue disease in dog. Pellagra is characterized by swollen lips, hick pigmented skin of hands and legs and irritability.

Folic Acid

  • Its most important use in the body is in the synthesis of purines and thymine. Folic acid is also required for formation of DNA and replication of cellular genes. Some folic acid is synthesized by bacteria in colon and absorbed from there.
  • Deficiency disease: Megaloblastic anemia.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

  • It exists in the form of pyridoxal phosphate in the cell and functions as a coenzyme. It helps in the transamination process for the synthesis of amino acids.
  • Deficiency diseases: Dermatitis and anemia.

Biotin (Vitamin B7)

  • It is also known as ‘Vitamin H’ . It is a Sulphur containing coenzyme. It is essential for biological synthesis.
  • Deficiency causes muscular pains.

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

  • It is a cobalt containing vitamin. It is present in animal protein such as meat, liver and fish. It is the only vitamin not found in vegetables. It acts as a coenzyme for reducing ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides. It promotersd DNA synthesis, maturation of RBCs and myelin formation. Intestinal absorption of cobalamin requires the action of a gastric enzyme. Castle՚s intrinsic factor a glycoprotein, secreted by the parietal cells of gastric glands.
  • Deficiency diseases: Pernicious anemia (failure of RBC maturation) .

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

  • Earliest vitamin known. Rapidly destroyed by heat. Absent in milk, egg and bread. Generally excreted in urine. Vitamin C has viricidal properties. Promote wound healing. Smokers and chronic alcoholics suffer from deficiency of this vitamin. It is essential for activating the enzyme prolyl hydroxylase which promotes the formation of collagen.
  • Deficiency disease: Scurvy which is characterized by spongy and bleeding gums.
  • Only plants and symbiotic bacteria present in intestine of most mammals manufacture vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are reabsorbed in the alimentary canal. Liver generally stores fat soluble vitamins.
  • Name of Dr. Arnold J. Quick is associated with Vitamin Q. It helps in blood clotting.
  • Vitamin is a newly discovered vitamin with anticancer properties.
  • Provitamin is a precursor of vitamin, e. g. Carotene (provitamin A) .

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