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Vitamin is a class of essential nutrient that cannot be synthesized (either at all or in sufficient quantities) by a given animal organism and must be taken (in trace quantities) with food for that organism's continued good health. Humans require 13 different vitamins. The term vitamin is not used for other classes of essential nutrients including dietary minerals, essential fatty acids or essential amino acids. Nor is it used for the large number of other nutrients that are merely health-furthering, but not strictly essential. Tacrolimus, FK506
The value of certain foods in maintaining health was recognized long before the first vitamins were actually identified. In the 18th century, for example, it had been demonstrated that the addition of citrus fruits to the diet would prevent the development of scurvy. In the 19th century it was shown that substituting unpolished for polished rice in a rice-based diet would prevent the development of beriberi.
In 1906 the British biochemist Frederick Hopkins demonstrated that foods contained necessary "accessory factors" in addition to proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and water. In 1911 the Polish chemist Casimir Funk discovered that the anti-beriberi substance in unpolished rice was an amine (a type of nitrogen-containing compound), so Funk proposed that it be named vitamine--for "vital amine." This term soon came to be applied to the accessory factors in general. It was later discovered that many vitamins do not contain amines at all. Because of its widespread use, Funk's term continued to be applied, but the final letter e was dropped.
In 1912 Hopkins and Funk advanced the vitamin hypothesis of deficiency, a theory that postulates that the absence of sufficient amounts of a particular vitamin in a system may lead to certain diseases. During the early 1900s, through experiments in which animals were deprived of certain types of foods, scientists succeeded in isolating and identifying the various vitamins recognized today. Tiagabine
Vitamin: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967). At the Lister Institute in London, Funk isolated a substance that prevented nerve inflammation (neuritis) in chickens raised on a diet deficient in that substance. He named the substance "vitamine" because he believed it was necessary to life and it was a chemical amine. The "e" at the end was later removed when it was recognized that vitamins need not be amines.
The letters (A, B, C and so on) were assigned to the vitamins in the order of their discovery. The one exception was vitamin K which was assigned its "K" from "Koagulation" by the Danish researcher Henrik Dam.
The amount of vitamins required everyday is exceptionally small and a varied diet generally provides enough of each vitamin and mineral. However, some people don't eat a varied diet, or their lifestyle or medical condition prevents their body from using the nutrients they do eat. In other cases, extra physical demands (such as those of pregnancy) mean that even a highly nutritious diet can sometimes fall short. Supplements may also be useful to correct deficiencies of particular vitamins or minerals. They can also help to reduce the risk of deficiency in people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk. Solviolence.org