Vitamins are organic compounds that we require for nutrients. Currently, there are 13 recognized vitamins universally: vitamins A, B1, C, D, B2, E, B12, K1, B5, B7, B6, B3 and B9. All vitamins have different biochemical functions, some hormone imitators, others cell and tissue growth regulators, and so on. Vitamins E and C, for example, function as antioxidants, which is why they are common in flu medication.
For a long time, vitamins were only obtainable through food intake, meaning vitamin needs were met solely through diet changes. However, since the mid-20th century, vitamins have been produced as multivitamin dietary supplements, as well. As a result, many athletes, dieters and health-conscious people have taken to using multivitamins to regulate their vitamin intake.
Overall, vitamins are essential for normal growth and development. Early-stage fetuses begin development based on the nutrients they absorb, which is why it is recommended that pregnant mothers carefully monitor their dieting routines. Nutrients from vitamins also facilitate skin, bone and muscle reactions and development, so if there is a deficiency of any one vitamin in a human, then this development can be disturbed, causing health concerns.
To learn more about vitamins and their roles in our lives and health, read our vitamin supplement articles.