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Vitamins

Overview and Metabolic Functions

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Nutrition and Immunology
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Abstract

The concept that specific food components play important roles in tissue growth and repair has been evident since the writings of early Egyptian, Greek, and Asian philosophers. For example, nutrition is a topic in the Hippocratic collection; the Papyrusebers (written about 1580–1570 B.c.) prescribes beef liver for eye diseases. The concept that vitamins are essential dietary compounds, however, did not evolve with any clarity until the early 1900s. Up to the early 1900s, it was widely held that only the major constituents in the diet (i.e., carbohydrates, protein, fat, and some minerals) were needed for nourishment (1). Nevertheless, the view that small amounts of certain factors seemed necessary for optimal growth and development eventually became apparent. It is now appreciated that vitamin status influences a number of relationships important to metabolic regulation. Consequently, a goal in this chapter is to provide a summary of the functions for each of the compounds now conventionally classified as vitamins or vitamin-like. A perceptive on vitamin requirements will also be developed. To the extent that vitamin status influences the ability to deal with foreign antigens and infections, another goal is to amplify those aspects of vitamin function important to the discussion of acquired, adaptive, and innate immunity that are developed elsewhere throughout this volume.

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Rucker, R. (2000). Vitamins. In: Gershwin, M.E., German, J.B., Keen, C.L. (eds) Nutrition and Immunology. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59259-709-3_7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59259-709-3_7

  • Publisher Name: Humana Press, Totowa, NJ

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-61737-148-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-59259-709-3

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