What do Vitamins do for the body?

I don't need a super scientific answer, something general that applies to all classes of vitamins. I know B vitamins do something, and A vitamins do something, and so on, but I want to know the overall purpose they serve.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Well they are all quite different in their specific functions...so much so that it does make it difficult to give a blanket statement that encompasses them all under one umbrella without being to vague, but here goes...

    Vitamins are important to maintaining the overall metabolic and nutritional balance in the body. When vitamin levels fall below normal levels, then the results can be a plethera of disorders and illnesses, such as anemia, malnutrition, etc. Also, for some people vitamin and dietary nutrients can also cause issues when they are at a level which is higher than normal for sustained periods of time (I.e. Wilson's Disease).

    Here is a definition for vitamins that I found:

    Vitamins: 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.

    You can go here to see just how great the clinical significance of different vitamins are (and also why it is hard to generalize it):

    http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articl...

    EDIT:

    Oh and just to add in response to one of the answers below: There have been several research studies conducted which concluded that a daily consumption of a multivitamin does in fact give way to a significant positive impact on health. I have pasted the link to one Peer-Reviewed article which was published in a Journal which is very highly reveered in the medical and scientific communities: The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/287/23/3...

    Source(s): Toxicologist PDR-Herbs and Supplements-2008 Edition PDR-2008 Edition
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I will try to keep it simple. Your metabolism is basically the rate at which your body burns calories to create energy. So the faster your metabolism, the faster you burn calories and the easier it is to lose unwanted weight. To boost your metabolism naturally you just need to eat the right foods.

    You can sit down and literally eat a 1,000-calorie dinner and yet be absolutely starving just a few hours later and the reason is simple: Because your body didnt get what it needed in those 1,000 calories so it sends signals to your brain telling you to ingest more calories and thus, the late-night cravings. That means that the surest way to end those late-night cravings and keep your weight loss goals on track is to eat a more balanced, nutritious diet that actually gives your body what it needs.

    It's VERY EASY to lose weight if you eat the right foods. Check out this video here: http://www.sexyjese.com - it will blow your mind.

  • 1 decade ago

    There is actually a bit of controversy regarding the actual health benefits of vitamins. There are definitely cases where a vitamin deficiency caused health problems, but there's not a lot of real solid studies that prove taking a multivitamin while healthy actually improves your health.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They help enzymes catalyze the reactions needed for life.

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