Human Nutrition 3(3+0)
Lesson 19 : Vitamins


  • Vitamins are natural substances found in plants and animals known to be essential for good health.
  • The name vitamin is obtained from "vital amines" as it was originally thought that these substances were all amines. Human body uses these substances to stay healthy and support many physiological and biochemical functions.
  • Vitamins do not provide energy directly, but they help to regulate energy-producing processes.
  • Vitamins are essential for the normal growth and development of a multi-cellular organism.
  • There are 13 essential vitamins and each one has a special role to play within the body, helping to regulate the processes such as cell growth and repair, reproduction, digestion and metabolism of nutrients and release of energy.

Severe deficiency in one or more of these vitamins during the growth of the foetus/ child results in deficiency disease.

Deficiencies of vitamins are classified as either primary or secondary.

  1. Primary Deficiency: A primary deficiency occurs when the required amount of a vitamin in the food consumed is not present.
  2. Secondary Deficiency: A secondary deficiency may be due to an underlying disorder that prevents or limits the absorption or use of the vitamin.
Last modified: Thursday, 9 February 2012, 6:44 AM