Vitamins are complex organic substances that are required in trace amounts to maintain the normal metabolic functioning of the body. The word vitamin is derived from a combination of two words vital and amine and was first devised by a polish chemist Casimir Funk in 1912.
Most vitamins normally function as catalysts, speeding up the rate of essential chemical reactions in the body. Vitamins in the body fall into two main categories these are water or fat soluble. If the vitamins are fat soluble, as vitamins A, D, E and K are then these vitamins are absorbed into fat stores and can be stored in the body. If they are water soluble (vitamins C and B) then they are not easily held in the body and are flushed out each day and must be continually replaced.
All the B vitamins work together in the body, like cogwheels in a mechanical clock, all the vitamins are required to ensure regular metabolic functions in the body.
Due to the chemical structures of the B vitamins being relatively complex and that they often function in conjunction with each other in the body the exact mechanism by which the B vitamins function within the body is still relatively uncertain.
>> Test your knowledge of the B vitamins