Most of us have been told by a parent or doctor to take our vitamins, but do we really know why vitamins are so important to our diets?
Vitamins are a group of substances that are essential for normal cell function, growth, and development. The term vitamin is derived from the words vital and amine (any of a class of basic organic compounds derived from ammonia), because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to be amines. Although not all vitamins are amines, they are organic compounds required by the human body in small amounts from the diet. An organic compound is considered a vitamin if a lack of that compound in the diet results in overt symptoms of deficiency.