You are, probably, familiar with the names of some of the vitamins. They can be obtained from plant and animal foods. Vitamins are required in small amounts and their prolonged deficiency in food results in various diseases. In order to correct this situatibn, sometimes vitamins have to be giyen as tonics or medicine. Vitamins are not a source of energy themselves but they help in the release of energy from carbohydrates, and fats. Therefore, food must contain required amounts of vitamins. There are various types of vitamins. A particular vitaminpr a group of two or more vitamins, protect the health and assist in the work of a particular organ of our body. Each vitamin has a specific function and cannot sabstitute for another. Table lists various vitamins, their sources and functions. Vitamin A is needed for healthy eyes, smooth skin and glossy hair. Many children go blind in our country because of vitamin A deficiency. This could be easily prevented, because foods containing vitamin A, like carrots and green vegetables, are easily available. You will notice that vitamins of the B group have many sub-groups. These have different functions but their source is more or less the same. Sometimes children or even'adults complain of lack of appetite. They never seem to be hungry for meals. This is due to the deficiency of vitamin B group, which leads to undernutrition and retardatiop of growth.
Vitamin C is present in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in citrus fruits and guava. It is essential for the health of the mucous membrane which lines our mouth, nose and inner organs. It helps in building resistance against infections like common cold. Vitamin D, which is present in eggs, milk, butter, etc., helps in proper formation of bones. Its deficiency leads to weak bones or physical deformities like bow legs in children. This is the only vitamin which our body can make in the skin, by the action of sunlight which is plenty in India and costs nothing. Vitamin D is also called "sunshine vjtamin". Fig. shows various foods rich in vitamin C.
We should know that vitamins B and C are water sohble. Therefore, they cannot be retainedin the body and should be included in our daily meals. Other vitamins are not water soluble.