What Are Some Facts About Vitamins?


Quick Answer

Vitamins are organic compounds that the human body needs in small amounts to sustain life, notes Medical News Today. Since the human body cannot produce vitamins in sufficient amounts, people have to get them from food. A compound can be a vitamin for humans but not for some animals. For example, dogs can produce enough vitamin C, but humans cannot, making vitamin C a vitamin for humans but not for dogs.

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Full Answer

Nutritionists call vitamins micronutrients, as the human body requires them in smaller amounts than macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, reports WebMD. The body needs micronutrients for normal growth and functioning, and they facilitate crucial chemical reactions in the body. A person can get enough micronutrients by maintaining a healthy diet, and this may require eating five servings of vegetables and fruits per day. Micronutrient deficiency can cause diseases such as beriberi, pellagra and scurvy.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water, and the human body excretes the excess of these vitamins through urine, explains MedicineNet. They include vitamins B and C, and a person should consume them on a continuous basis. Fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water, but they dissolve in fat, and they are stored in fatty tissues and the liver. These include vitamins A, D, E and K, and they can accumulate to toxic levels if a person consumes them in excess.

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