Vitamin Facts

  • Vitamins are special substances the body needs to help maintain chemical processes inside cells.
  • Plants can make their own vitamins, but humans must take most of their vitamins from food.
  • A lack of any vitamin in the diet can cause certain illnesses.
  • Before the 18th century, sailors on long voyages used to suffer the disease scurvy, caused by a lack in their diet of vitamin C from fresh fruit.
  • There are at least 15 known vitamins.
  • The first vitamins discovered were given letter names like B. Later discoveries were given chemical names, such as E vitamins, which are known as tocopherols.
  • Some vitamins such as A, D, E and K dissolve in fat and are found in animal Ws and vegetable oils. They may be stored in the body for months.
  • Some vitamins such as C and the Bs dissolve in water and are found in green leaves, fruits and cereal grains. They are used daily.
  • Vitamins D and K are the only ones made in the body. Vitamin D is essential for bone growth in children.